Super Mario lights up San Siro as Milan go third

Posted by Sumeet Paul

At the risk of this being a weekly eulogy to Mario Balotelli, the 'Super One' delivered yet again on Friday night as Milan temporarily moved into third place after the 2-1 win over Parma at San Siro.

- Match report: Milan 2-1 Parma

Level on points with Lazio but benefitting from a superior goal difference, the Rossoneri remain unbeaten in the league this calendar year and appear relentless in their bid to snatch what had seemed to be an unrealistic top three finish.

With his fantastic free kick midway through the second half sealing the win, Balotelli made it four goals in three games since joining Milan, making him the first player to achieve such a feat since Oliver Bierhoff back in September 1998.

The 22-year-old continues to prove his supporters right since his much talked about arrival from Manchester City. Despite spending the majority of the game not only frustrated but also targeted by the Parma defence seeking a reaction, Balotelli kept his temperament under control and delivered when needed.

Now the focal point of the team's attack, but also at a club where he feels at home, Balotelli has coupled the unquestionable ability he possesses with confidence and maturity. Despite being the only Milan player to have scored since he joined the club, it is a promising sign that he is ready to become a leader for the Rossoneri.

Considering the age and relative inexperience of a number of the Milan players, they do unfortunately remain unconvincing at times. While that consistency will come as they continue to develop, the signs are promising as they grind out results and pick up wins regularly.

Their play was lazy throughout the game, giving Parma far too much time on the ball while also failing to really threaten when on the attack. Improvements are still required, with personnel changes perhaps required considering the calibre of teams to come.

Victory on Friday night was a timely boost with fixtures against Barcelona, Inter and then Lazio ahead. While Massimiliano Allegri's men have done well up to this point, they will face tougher tests over the next few weeks.

"I think the club have made a very good buy with Mario, at a decisive moment in the championship. We are making a big comeback now and I am happy with the players," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia after the game.

The Rossoneri benefitted from the return of Riccardo Montolivo, with Allegri rightly deciding to rest Stephan El Shaarawy. The 20-year-old's craft and creativity was missed as his role was assumed by Kevin-Prince Boateng, but hopefully he will now be fully fit to face Barcelona on Wednesday night.

Despite the resurgence, there is still concern surrounding the visit of the Spanish giants. Both the defence and midfield must produce a stellar performance, while Allegri will heavily rely on the returning El Shaarawy and Mbaye Niang to deliver at the other end of the pitch.

For now though, Milan can enjoy another domestic win and with vital games ahead in the league, they have put themselves in the best possible position.

Who was your man of the match against Parma? What changes would you make for Barcelona on Wednesday night?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

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