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Kaka shines for Milan in friendly win

KAKA came off the bench in his first game since turning down a record transfer offer, helping AC Milan beat Hannover 3-2 in a friendly yesterday.

Szabolcs Huszti scored for Hannover in the first half, and Andriy Shevchenko and Filippo Inzaghi replied in a two-minute span in the second half for Milan. Mike Hanke scored in the 74th to make it 2-2, but Inzaghi restored the lead for good in the 76th.

Two days after turning down a world record 100 million pound (US$147 million) offer from Manchester City, Kaka was on the bench while David Beckham and Ronaldinho were in the starting lineup, as well as Milan's latest signing, Thiago Silva.

Kaka came on at the start of the second half and began the move that led to Milan's equalizer in the 53rd, passing the ball to Inzaghi, who set up Shevchenko.

In the 55th, Luca Antonini's cross found Inzaghi open to score.

After Hanke's well-taken goal in the 74th, Inzaghi beat the Hannover defense after collecting a chipped pass from Clarence Seedorf in the 76th.

Kaka had an effort himself in the 84th but Hannover goalkeeper Robert Enke saved his shot. Inzaghi hit the post for the second time late in the match.

"We have two objectives this season, the UEFA Cup and the league and I am very happy that Kaka is staying, we need him," Seedorf said.

Beckham needed less than two minutes to set up Milan's first chance, from a free kick. Emerson met the ball perfectly for a header, but Enke made a reflex save on the line. Enke, normally Germany's No. 1 'keeper, was coming back from a broken wrist.

A clearance error by Milan led to Hannover's first opportunity in the 10th and it resulted in a penalty when Daniele Bonera tripped Huszti. Huszti took the kick himself, Dida stopped the shot but could not hold onto the ball and Huszti put it into the net.

Beckham took Milan's next free kick and he narrowly missed the target.

Enke then made a good save to block Shevchenko's volley from the edge of the box.

Inzaghi hit the post and Ronaldinho connected with a spectacular volley off the rebound but his shot was cleared on the line.

Mathieu Flamini missed for Milan early in the second half, with Beckham and Ronaldinho on the bench.

Hannover was 13th in the Bundesliga standings and returned only on Tuesday from its training camp in Portugal, where it was preparing for the second half of the season that starts next weekend.


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