Serie A: Milan 2 Parma 1
A Gabriel Paletta own-goal and Mario Balotelli free-kick gave AC Milan a 2-1 win over Parma in a hard-fought Serie A encounter on Friday.
Parma defender Paletta inadvertently turned Kevin-Prince Boateng's cross past goalkeeper Nicola Pavarini five minutes before the end of the first half before Balotelli fired a free-kick into goal to earn all three points for the hosts, who conceded a late consolation from Nicola Sansone.
Milan enjoyed the better of the early possession as Kevin Constant broke through the Parma midfield and played in Balotelli, but the Italian striker saw his effort deflected behind for a corner.
Parma looked to take advantage of the shaky Milan defence after a poor Cristian Zapata clearance was capitalised upon by Paletta, who skipped past Mario Yepes but dragged his effort wide of Christian Abbiati's goal.
The game slowed until the 25th minute as Amauri managed to beat Yepes to a Marco Marchionni corner and head goalwards, only to see his effort well saved by Abbiati,.
Milan seized the initiative with five minutes remaining of the first half as Paletta mistakenly turned Boateng's low cross past Pavarini and into the back of the net.
Sully Muntari should have doubled the hosts' advantage just five minutes after the restart, but the midfielder could not guide a cross past Pavarini. Balotelli then picked out Boateng moments later with a perfect low pass, only for the midfielder to side-foot his effort just wide of the Parma goal.
With 15 minutes remaining, Balotelli sent a curling free-kick past Pavarini from 30 yards out, doubling his side's advantage.
Riccardo Montolivo came close to adding a third in the dying moments of the encounter, only for Pavarini to deny the Italian midfielder.
Parma netted a late goal through Sansone, but it proved mere consolation as Milan hung on for all three points.