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Balotelli Wonder Goal Saves Milan Blushes

Mario Balotelli scored a decisive wonder goal to see Milan record a 2-2 draw against Livorno at the Armando Picchi Stadium on Saturday evening in a match which he scored both goals.

The striker was denied of a hat-trick from a brilliant save by Francesco Bardi, while Luca Siligardi and Paulinho put the hosts in the lead just before the hour mark.

Milan appeared to have cast aside their negative streak and they arrived in the port side city looking to acquire their first back-to-back victories on the road this season.

There was an immediate sense of urgency from the away side in which Ricky Kaka and Mario Balotelli combined well up front only to see the Brazilian’s cross closed down.

And there was no faulting the Rossoneri’s early form when Balotelli passed the ball to the Brazilian after six minutes of play. Kaka then crossed it back into the six-yard area in which the former Manchester City man tapped the ball in at the near post to make it 1-0.

But a nervy moment followed just six minutes later when Paulinho tried to go for glory with a sliced ball that skipped past the beaten Gabriel at the far post instead of passing to the onrushing Pasquale Schiattarella.

That strike spurred on the home side to draw more saves from the 20-year-old Rossoneri goalkeeper and he pulled off two great saves off a set-piece. The first was a full-stretched save to deny Emerson, while Luca Siligardi’s free-kick went straight into his hands.

However there was nothing Gabriel could do from seeing Luca Siligardi drawing level in the 25th minute. The midfielder cut around Philippe Mexes and curled in an unstoppable effort that hit the bottom left-hand corner.

Milan was denied from going 2-1 up at the restart when Francesco Bardi pulled off the save of the evening. Balotelli latched onto a looping ball, headed it down for control before smacking a half-volley which saw the young shot-stopper parry it away in fine fashion.

But it was Livorno who capitalized on their opportunities with a Paulinho goal in the 58th minute which saw him burst into the box and sliced a low ball past Gabriel.

Mbaye Niang should have turned the scoreline to 2-2 when he was dealt a terrific ball by Kaka at the near post with 20 minutes remaining. But the Senegalese-born Frenchman disappointingly failed to hit the target from just over a yard out.

But Balotelli preserved some of Milan’s pride with a world class free-kick from 20-yards out which rattled the back of Bardi’s net in classic style, drawing level with six minutes to go.

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