Palermo dominate Milan


AC Milan missed the chance to go third in the Serie A table after suffering a 2-0 home defeat to Palermo on Sunday evening. The Rossoneri would have dislodged Sampdoria from the final Champions League place with three points at San Siro, but an early own goal from Christian Zapata set the tone for an under-par display. Paulo Dybala scored the Sicilians' second goal, one that both assured promoted Palermo of a first away win of the season and lifted them six points clear of the relegation zone and into 13th place. With third place up for grabs Milan fans will have expected to see their side in high spirits and dominating lowlier opposition, but it was not to be. Palermo proved they were more than up for the fight from the early exchanges, Diego Lopez just about getting the better of Franco Vazquez in a tense one-on-one. Fernando Torres fluffed a solid chance at the other end when Stefano Sorrentino looked prone and Palermo soon pushed back in pursuit of the opener. They would not make it happen all on their own, but, subjected to sufficient pressure, Zapata was confused enough to turn the ball past his own goalkeeper from a corner in the 24th minute. Two minutes later, Palermo made it 2-0. This time the goal was all of the visitors' making as Dybala finished off a fine counter-attacking move by dancing past Zapata to beat Lopez with a sweet left-footed finish. With Milan at sixes and sevens the Sicilians might have even added a third before the break, but Lopez produced a fine diving save to keep Edgar Barreto from finding the back of the net. The introduction of Stephan El Shaarawy for Andrea Poli at the start of the second half certainly gave Milan more much-needed urgency in the final third. The young Italy striker tested Sorrentino with a shot on the turn from distance in the 54th minute and made himself busy pulling Palermo's defenders out of position. Only a brave block from Ezequiel Munoz denied El Shaarawy a free shot on goal with his left boot and Sorrentino did well to smother his bullet header at the near post. The injection of verve was not enough to drag Milan back into contention, though, and they were no nearer to forcing the draw as the game entered its final 15 minutes. Palermo, seemingly convinced they had done enough, enjoyed some late speculation from the edge of the Milan box, with Vazquez trying his luck from 20 metres out. Lopez had little trouble making the save but that offered scant consolation on a disappointing night.