BEVERLY HILLS, April 11, (THEWILL) – The match had one star shining throughout until a straight red card saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had been instrumental to the goals so far scored, being sent off as AC Milan consolidated their place in the top four with a 3-1 victory at the Stadio Ennio Tardini of Parma Calcio 1913.
Milan needed just eight minutes to break the deadlock when Ante Rebic grabbed his sixth goal of the season with a beautiful strike set up by Ibrahimovic’s lovely reverse pass that was beautiful executed.
Then, Stefano Pioli’s side went out of sight by the break and Ibrahimovic was involved once more as Franck Kessie doubled the visitors’ advantage in the 44th-minute, the Swede holding the ball up to exchange passes with Theo Hernandez, who fed Kessie and he did the rest, finishing from close range to go into the break.
However, after a dismal first half performance, Parma came to life five minutes after the restart and Milan had Gianluigi Donnarumma to thank for a remarkable double save to deny Andrea Conti and maintain the clean sheet away from home.
That was when Milan were forced to play the last half-hour a man light after Ibrahimovic was shown a straight red, presumably for something he said to referee Fabio Maresca in an extraordinary moment in an otherwise tame affair as a whole.
It tainted Milan’s 13th on the road this term which moves them seven points clear of fifth-placed Napoli and closes the gap on Inter to eight points although their rivals have a game in hand for now.
Once again, with Ibrahimovic, there is something extra. With reports suggesting he is on the verge of signing a new contract with the Rossoneri, the veteran demonstrated why he is still in demand at 39, at least before his sending off for what was not immediately clear.
Currently, the veteran remains Milan’s top goalscorer with 15 but there is much more to his game as he ably demonstrated today in the play that led to the goals. Having come out of international retirement to play in this summer’s European Championships, he has a great chance of featuring in next season’s Champions League with Milan, which they will qualify for.
He deserves that for getting them there as he has played a large part in their success this season. However, they will have to do without him for the next three matches after a moment of madness. He let his team mates down and after struggling without him when he was sidelined through injury recently, they will have to find a way to fill the void he leaves right at the business end of the season once more.