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Pato brace gives AC Milan opening win

ALEXANDRE Pato scored twice to lead AC Milan to a 2-1 victory over Siena yesterday and give new coach Leonardo a winning start to the Serie A season.

Milan had struggled in the preseason with seven losses in eight games, but Pato's goals in the 29th and 48th minutes provided a fairly comfortable win. Abled Ghezzal had equalized for Siena in the 34th.

"We have won which is good, because we seemed to have forgotten how to," Pato said. "We had a great game and I have to thank my teammates for all the chances they made for me."

The 19-year-old Pato, who scored 15 goals last season, thought he had his first of this campaign with a header in the 22nd minute, but he was offside from Ronaldinho's free kick.

However, he made no mistakes seven minutes later when played through by his fellow Brazilian, lifting the ball over Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Curci.

The lead didn't last long, as Marco Storari could only parry Lukas Jarolim's shot and Ghezzal hit home the rebound.

But Pato put Milan back ahead for good after Ronaldinho picked out Mathieu Flamini in the area, who crossed to Pato for an easy tap-in into the unguarded net.

Ronaldinho showed that he wants to fill the big gap left by Kaka and seemed increasingly confident as the match wore on. In the 68th, he forced Curci to push the ball over the bar from an overhead kick, having calmly controlled Marco Borriello's header.

"He's great, one of the best around when he has the ball at his feet," Pato said. "I'm delighted for him because when he plays like that he makes playing football easy for the rest of us."

In yesterday's other match, Bologna's Paolo Osvaldo scored the first goal of the new season in a 1-1 draw at home against Fiorentina.

The Argentine rose highest in the penalty area in the 24th to head home Giacomo Tedesco's corner.

Fiorentina striker Alberto Gilardino, who scored 19 times last season, had three good chances in the opening period, but Emiliano Viviano was equal to his efforts.

Captain Adrian Mutu came on at halftime and made an immediate impact, firing home Riccardo Montolivio's pass from the edge of the area to level the scores.

Fellow substitute Martin Jorgensen went closest to deciding the match, but Francesco Valiani cleared his shot off the line.

"We began a bit slowly," Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli said. "A bit because of the heat and a bit because of Bologna's aggressiveness.

"In the second half we dominated, and I'm happy with our showing. At the moment our main consideration is to start the season in a good way."


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