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Milan continue momentum

Giampaolo Pazzini celebrates after netting Milan's third against Livorno.
Giampaolo Pazzini rounded off the scoring with Milan's third.

AC Milan kept up their push for a place in the Europa League next season with a 3-0 win over struggling Livorno, their fifth win in a row.

Mario Balotelli, Adel Taarabt and Giampaolo Pazzini scored the goals for Clarence Seedorf's men, who remain five points behind city rivals Inter Milan in the hunt for fifth place.

Milan travel to Roma next weekend before hosting Inter in a derby which could prove decisive in the hunt for European football next season, while Livorno could be relegated in their next two games with their survival hopes now hanging by a thread.

A run of four wins in a row has not brought an end to speculation about Seedorf's future as Milan coach, but the Dutchman said on the eve of the game that he was convinced he would be remaining in charge of the club next season.

He had good reason for that conviction too, given the way the Rossoneri started the game, holding possession almost incessantly and parading the ball past Livorno's players.

Kaka curled a first effort wide of the far post before Robinho saw an effort deflected just wide of the near post.

On a rare break, Djamel Mesbah was claiming a penalty when he was fouled by Ignazio Abate, albeit just outside the penalty area. Nothing came of the resulting free-kick.

Milan finally broke the deadlock just two minutes before half-time when Balotelli rose to flick Kevin Constant's left-wing cross into the top right-hand corner.

They doubled their lead early in the second half when Taarabt exchanged passes with Balotelli to gain access into the penalty area, where he settled himself to shoot low into the far corner of Francesco Bardi's goal.

Kaka wasted a good chance to increase Milan's lead midway through the second half as Livorno's search for a route back into the game left them vulnerable to conceding on the break.

Milan continued to threaten a third and, just a minute after substitute Pazzini had missed an easy chance, he latched onto Balotelli's pass and chipped the ball delicately past the onrushing Bardi to seal the points for the Rossoneri with only his second goal of the season.

 

ends

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