Milan respond with comprehensive win

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty ImagesKaka led the way for Milan who came away with a big 3-0 win in Glasgow.

Having arrived at Celtic Park short of form, confidence and belief, Milan were in desperate need of a positive result not only to help secure their safe passage through to the next stage, but to also reignite their season. The Rossoneri obtained just that following their comprehensive 3-0 win against Celtic on Tuesday night.

- Match report: Celtic 0-3 Milan
- Brewin: Three things: Celtic vs. AC Milan

The signs were promising as Massimiliano Allegri opted to push Mario Balotelli forward to act as the focal point of the attack, with Kaka and Valter Birsa playing in behind him.

The Brazilian was in goal-scoring form again and it is a real delight to see him performing on the big stage as a Rossonero once more, while also continuing to dismiss fears that it was a risk to bring him back.

Furthermore, following a week of controversy and criticism, it was especially reassuring to see Balotelli play his part in both phases of the game. The 23-year-old was reportedly on the receiving end of a tirade from former Milan great Zvonimir Boban earlier on Tuesday, but as hoped he produced a hard-working display and took his chance well.

Ideally, his performance will be a clear sign for Allegri in terms of where he is most effective on the pitch, and given the added responsibility he has with that role, it appears to motivate him slightly more than when forced to, at times, be on the periphery of play in a more withdrawn position.

Nevertheless, it was an impressive performance all round from Milan in a difficult atmosphere. Although they were perhaps slightly sloppy and fortunate at times that Celtic didn't make the most of their chances, it was refreshing to see them attack with direction and energy as opposed to their reserved effort on the road against Ajax.

Allegri's tactics also appeared to work well as he provided his full-backs with support from Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Poli to nullify the threat of the hosts for large parts, while Nigel De Jong produced his usual solid performance in the centre of the field.

Additionally, it has to be a real confidence boost for the defensive line to keep a clean sheet, with Daniele Bonera and Cristian Zapata playing a surprisingly impressive role in marshalling the defence when needed.

With regards to the importance of the result in the context of Group H, the Rossoneri have now eliminated Celtic from the equation, but the result in Amsterdam has complicated matters moving forward.

While Ajax's win over Barcelona keeps top spot available for now, it also ensures that Milan's meeting with the Dutch giants in the final game of the group phase will be a case of winner takes all.

Following their draw in the first encounter, Milan can essentially qualify with a draw or better, but there is still the threat that a defeat at San Siro would see them fall to third. As a result, while Allegri and the players deserve credit for their performance on Tuesday night, the job is not quite done just yet.

Impressed with Milan's win over Celtic? Can this result act as the the catalyst for the Rossoneri to pick up the pace for the remainder of the season?

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


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