Inzaghi hails Honda and Essien quality
The Italian waxed lyrical about the contribution of the pair after watching his side move into
third place in Serie A on Sunday, but hinted Fernando Torres could be dropped
AC Milan boss Filippo Inzaghi hailed the performances of Keisuke Honda and Michael Essien after
the pair starred in Sunday°«s 3-1 victory over Verona.
The two sides went into the game level on 11 points, but there was a gulf in class in the first
half as an own goal from Rafael Marques and Honda°«s first strike made it 2-0 by half-time.
The Japan star struck again in the second period, while the hosts scored a late consolation
through Nicolas Lopez before being reduced to 10-men following the late dismissal of Rafael Marquez
for a second bookable offence.
The result leaves Milan in third place as Inzaghi°«s positive start to life at the Rossoneri helm
continues, though he was quick to direct the plaudits towards two of his players after the game.
He said: °»Today we are very happy because it°«s a good result without several important players.
In the dressing room I wanted to compliment Essien, who hasn°«t played much but was exemplary.
°»At the start of August I talked about Honda, so I knew he°«d deliver. I was looking for a left-footed
player for the 4-3-3 and as time went on I realised Honda was that man. He has technique, but also
great strength and ran so much today.°…
Milan are now top scorers in Serie A with a haul of 16 strikes from their opening seven games, but
Inzaghi remains unhappy with his defence and called for a marked improvement.
°»I am a little angry that we didn°«t keep our second consecutive clean sheet, but Abbiati did a great
job in goal.
°»We know that we have to improve. Looking at the goals we have conceded, there were four in that
bizarre game at Parma, Empoli°«s two were from set plays and against Cesena we practically scored it
°»We have to get better at the back, but the fact we are top scorers is very satisfying for a coach,
s that means we have the attacking and entertaining approach I wanted.°…
Another cause for concern will be form of Fernando Torres, who was disappointing again, leaving the Milan
boss pondering a change in personnel in attack.
°»All week I have had doubts over who to start. I need to watch the training sessions and take my indications
from there. It°«s good that I have so many choices, as that°«s the best thing for a Coach, it°«s a luxury.°…
That's all from me, it's been a pleasure.
The match ends in anger, as both sets of players argue with each other following the final whistle. It doesn't change anything about the result though, with Milan closing out an impressive victory that keeps them within arm's reach of Juventus and Roma.
90' + 5'
Yellow Card Panagiotis Tachtsidis
90' + 3'
Yellow/Red Rafa Ma'rquez
90' + 3'
RED CARD TO VERONA! Rafa Marquez gets a second yellow card for an untidy tackle on Bonaventura. The referee did not hesitate!
90' + 2'
Bonaventura looks to pick out Menez, who is running in centrally. However, Rafael reads his intentions and races outside his area to clear the ball first. Moments later, the keeper is nearly caught off his line, but Menez can't find the target.
90' + 1'
Just like the end of the first half, Verona are making a push for glory that has come too late. They've definitely had their chances today. I'm sure that Mandorlini will not make too many excuses for his side's profligacy.
NEARLY A SECOND VERONA GOAL! A long cross is knocked down by Toni, and Nene nearly bundles the rebound into the back of the net, but he contrives to put it over the bar instead!
Assist Vangelis Moras
Goal N. Lo'pez
VERONA HAVE ONE BACK! Excellent strike from Lopez, who cuts onto his left foot from the edge of the box and plants a lovely effort inside the far post! Abbiati well beaten.
Honda departs after another excellent game for the Rossoneri. He's really become their most important attacking player in the early days of this season. On comes Daniele Bonera.
Substitution Keisuke Honda Daniele Bonera
The resulting free kick gets slammed into the wall and another decent opportunity passes Verona by.
Yellow Card Keisuke Honda
Verona win another corner which they take quickly, but it's another poor delivery that is asking too much of Toni at the near post. Honda then gets booked for a poor challenge.
Ten minutes and change remaining and it looks like this game has just moved beyond the reach of Verona now. This was a great chance for them to move even further up the standings, but as it stands, it will be Milan who go into third place.
El Shaarawy has had himself an eventful game, setting up Honda's second and threatening with his movement in behind. However, his outing is at an end, and Giacomo Bonaventura comes on for the final stretch.
Substitution Stephan El Shaarawy Giacomo Bonaventura
Again, another miss from Toni! Milan's left side is exploited for the second time in as many minutes, but the big striker can't direct his effort on target! Verona aren't quite done yet!
Lopez gets a great run down the right flank, and makes his way into the box. Toni angles himself for the cross, but can't make enough contact to test Abbiati in goal! Good opening there!
Substitution Artur Ionita N. Lo'pez
Yellow Card Rafa Ma'rquez
The raft of substitutions have taken the sting out of the game, which plays right into Milan's hands. Verona will want to get their momentum back quickly. Eighteen minutes to go.
Milan respond with a sub of their own. Torres didn't have any luck in front of goal, but was a good focal point nonetheless. However, his wait for a full 90 minutes in a Milan shirt continues. Menez, as expected, makes an appearance from the bench.
Substitution Juanito Nene^
Substitution Fernando Torres Je're'my Menez
First substitution of the game from Verona, and it's been a long time coming. Campanharo has been parked on the touchline for over five minutes, waiting for a break in play to make his introduction. He does now, with Jankovic going off.
Substitution Bosko Jankovic Gustavo
Verona are starting to emerge as a threat once again, but is it too little, too late? They force another corner after a dangerous break, but can't make it count. Abbiati applauds his defence for preventing the shot from coming in.
ANOTHER ABBIATI SAVE! Much better from Verona, who threaten for the first time in the second half. Tachtsidis has a snap shot that is hit well, but read excellently by the keeper, who diverts it out for a corner.
All the momentum is with the visitors, and this could get even worse for Verona if they don't tighten up. The space is palpable all over the final third, and there's more goals in this if Milan want.
So much confidence flowing through the Rossoneri veins, and Abate drives into space down the right-hand side, before cutting onto his left foot and slamming a vicious effort inches wide of the near post.
Look at this! Torres forces his way down to the byline, and Honda pulls up to the near post for the cutback. The ball somehow finds its way to the Japanese, who squeezes a shot in under pressure, but it's blocked at the post.
Hard to see a way back for Verona now. They needed to build on their momentum from the first half and keep the pressure up on Milan, but they did exactly the opposite, conceding massive gaps at the back that the Rossoneri gleefully exploited.
Assist Adil Rami
Goal Keisuke Honda
THIRD GOAL FOR MILAN! And that may just do it. Milan launch an excellent counter attack, with Rami playing in Honda through the middle, who keeps ahead of his marker and dinks a clever finish into the bottom corner.
Honda gets the shout from El Shaarawy and feeds the striker down the right. He has time and space and Torres peeling free towards the far post. However, he telegraphs his intentions too much, and Rafael scampers off his line to pluck the cross out of the air.
The referee has to step in to sort out a confrontation between Moras and Rami. Both players tussled with each other in the buildup to a corner, with the latter going down. The match official does not take any untoward action, simply telling the pair to cut it out.
The second half is taking a little while to get going, as both sides have plenty of ideas, but little execution. Perhaps they need to simplify things a little, as the more intricate one-touch passing sequences have been easily read.
Having said that, Milan also look like they have more goals in their locker. They've shown a ruthlessness this evening that will surely please their fans and their coach. One more unanswered goal and the points should be secure.
No changes at the break from either side. Mandorlini will want more of the same from his troops, at least in the attacking third. They need to keep up the pressure and just be a little more clinical, because they certainly look capable of getting back in this game.
Here we go again.
And with that, the referee ends the first half. It's been an enjoyable one to witness for us neutrals. Milan are two goals ahead but they're not sitting on a secure advantage, given the number of times that Verona have managed to threaten. Marques' baffling own goal and Honda's lovely finish have done the damage so far.
LATE PUSH FROM VERONA! Alex hasn't had the most secure game at the back, and his poor ball out of defence is seized by the hosts. The shot comes in from Gomez, and Abbiati sees it late, loses his handle but sees it bobble out for a corner kick.
Filippo Inzaghi has been getting his miles in on the touchline. Sleeves symbolically rolled up, the one-time poacher has been barking instructions non-stop at his team. He even had a little dart of celebration after Honda slotted in the second goal.
Toni has battled hard to cause problems in the box, and he forces another save from Abbiati, though this time it's one that you would expect the keeper to clean up in his sleep. The effort from 12 yards had little power on it, and was at a good height for Abbiati.
Milan have looked dangerous on the counter attack, and just came close to picking apart the hosts again with a similar move to what caused their second goal. However, the diagonal through ball to Honda is intercepted this time. Milan targeting the left side again.
Verona have registered six shots on goal already, with five coming in from Milan. This paints an accurate picture of what has been an open game. Chances have fallen either way.
This match has developed a lovely flow to it. Milan's two-goal advantage has forced Verona to attack and in truth, the Rossoneri have given them a few glimpses at goal. I don't think that we're done with the scoring.
ABBIATI AGAIN! Two fine stops now! A wonderful header from Jankovic looks to be heading in, but the veteran Italian keeper doesn't show his age, springing to his right to force the ball away from goal!
That yellow card is bad news for Verona, who have seen their left flank come under increasing pressure in the past few passages of play. Indeed, Honda was able to ghost in from that very side to ope the scoring minutes ago. Have Milan found the weak point in the Verona ranks?
El Shaarawy goes storming forward down the right-hand side, forcing Agostini into a sliding challenge to cut out the break. The referee pulls him up for the foul and a booking, the first of the game.
Yellow Card Alessandro Agostini
ABBIATI CALLED INTO ACTION! The keeper was stretched by Hallfredsson's earlier effort, and makes his first save of the game to tip an inventive overhead kick from Toni around the post!
Assist Stephan El Shaarawy
Goal Keisuke Honda
MILAN GO TWO UP! Wonderfully orchestrated goal by the visitors. El Shaarawy's pass goes straight through the Verona midfield and defence, falling perfectly for Honda to tuck a left-footed finish into the corner from inside the area.
JUST WIDE! Hallfredsson takes advantage of a backpedaling Alex, driving goal side of the defender and having a crack from the very edge of the box, but he misses the far post by inches with Christian Abbiati at full stretch!
Milan have generally been comfortable in the opening 25 minutes. They needed a literal slice of luck to open the scoring, but have dealt with Verona's isolated attacking threats with consummate ease.
Toni is called offside on the very next play as Verona look to recover from that unexpected and unwanted setback. It really was a poor own goal to concede, and it has to go down as an error on Marques' part.
Own Goal Rafael Marques
OWN GOAL! MILAN AHEAD! Marques wants the ground to swallow him up after a comical O.G. Abate's cross was going towards no one, and the Brazilian had time to make a proper clearance. However, he slices it horribly inside the near post, with his keeper left rooted to the spot!
Torres stays down on a Milan attack, but eventually gets to his feet. Moments later, Michael Essien has a crack from 25 yards, but he can't repeat the feat of his previous career long-range scorchers against Arsenal and Barcelona. Goal kick for Verona.
Verona's defence has been splendid so far. They're sitting deep in banks of four and five whenever Milan have the ball, which is understandably making it hard for the visitors to orchestrate in the final third.
Verona are starting to come out of their shell in the last few minutes, as evidenced by them winning free kicks in the opposition half. They're largely ignoring Gomez on the right flank though, who could find some joy against an under-fire Mattia De Sciglio.
Rafa Marquez takes charge of a Verona free kick from 25 yards in a promising position for the hosts. However, he leans back too much and the ball flies over the bar. There was quite a queue for that free kick, and I doubt that the Mexican will get a crack from the next one.
Torres is able to bring the ball down under pressure, and manages to squeeze in a shot on the turn, but he misses the corner by about two feet. Verona are upset because the Spaniard appeared to push off Marques to make space for that effort! They get the ball back to restart the game anyway.
Jankovic is again isolated on the left flank, but he releases Hallfredsson with a lovely back heel, though the latter can't beat Ignazio Abate to the byline and is robbed of the ball. To make things worse, the Verona midfielder is also ruled to have made the last touch. Goal kick to Milan.
Lively start to this game, though with Verona sitting deep, the action has largely been concentrated at one end of the field. El Shaarawy looks hungry for the ball early on, which is always encouraging to see.
RAFAEL HAS TO SAVE! Hardly convincingly though, as the keeper fumbles El Shaarawy's shot on the turn, but the ball rebounds right into a crowd of his own defenders, who clean up the mess. The chance initially came after Andrea Poli's effort was blocked.
Toni gets his first sight on goal after a free header in the box, but the ball was slightly behind him and he couldn't direct his attempt on target. He loves himself a goal against the Rossoneri, with seven strikes in 14 games against them. No doubt Milan will be wary of his aerial prowess.
Adil Rami makes a good defensive stand on the right-hand side, shutting out Jankovic's run forward. He tries to set the in-form Keisuke Honda out on the breakaway, but the Japanese is too isolated and loses the ball.
And we are off!
Stephan El Shaarawy starts alongside Fernando Torres in Milan's front three, despite some speculation that
the Spaniard's place in the XI was under threat. However, the match comes too soon for Diego Lopez and
Jeremy Menez, who both weren't passed fit enough to start - though the latter at least may appear later from
Identical 4-3-3 setups for both sides this afternoon then. Andrea Mandorlini makes two changes to his side
from that last game against Cagliari. In comes Emil Hallfredsson and Bosko Jankovic, with Gustavo Campanharo
and Nicolas Lopez dropping to the bench.
Milan (4-3-3): Abbiati; Abate, Alex, Rami, De Sciglio; Poli, Essien, Muntari; Honda, Torres, El Shaarawy.
Verona (4-3-3): Rafael; Moras, Marques, R. Marquez, Agostini; Ionita, Tachtsidis, Hallfredsson; Gomez Taleb,
Both sides recorded home victories before the international break. Verona navigated a tricky match past
Cagliari by a 1-0 scoreline, while Milan dispatched Chievo 2-0 at San Siro. They've also both tasted defeat
nly one time each so far, with the former falling 2-0 to Roma, while the latter suffered a 1-0 reverse against Juventus.
Toni was the second-highest goalscorer in the league last season with 20 goals, but it's all dried up for
him up front as he's only found the back of the net once this term. That hasn't stopped Verona from making
an impressive start to the campaign, but this time, the foundations of their endeavour has been built on
their defence, which has let in only five goals.
The home fans will hope for a repeat of the corresponding fixture from 2013-14, where Luca Toni's double
fired them to a 2-1 success on the opening day of the campaign. However, Milan would have the last laugh,
as they won the return match 1-0 at San Siro this January.
Both these sides come into this match dead level on 11 points, though Milan, a place ahead in fifth, hold
the edge on goal difference. That's largely due to their 13 league goals, a tally only bettered by the 14
scored by early pace setters Juventus and Roma.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of AC Milan's trip to Hellas Verona in Serie A. I'm Keeghann Sinanan,
your guide for all the action.
With the win, Mainz jump to a tie for first place in the Bundesliga, while Dortmund fail to take advantage of Bayern's draw with Hamburg. I am Alex Moretto and I would like to thank you all for joining me today. Good bye!
FULL TIME: MAINZ 2-0 BORUSSIA DORTMUND. Substitute Jorge Samperio completely turned the game around for the hosts, setting up both goals, while Immobile's penalty miss proves incredibly costly for Jurgen Klopp's side.
90' + 3'
It's all over! Dortmund are undone by Mainz who keep their unbeaten record intact to start the season!
90' + 1'
Into the first of three minutes of stoppage time and Dortmund win a corner. Time just about up for them, facing a Herculean task to try and get back into this game.
OFF THE POST! Jojic takes a shot from 25 yards out and gets some incredible dip on it, but strikes it off the woodwork! The followup is worked to the midfielder who again has a go, this time Karius saves with ease.
Substitution Jonas Hofmann Filip Djuricic
Final substitution for Mainz as Jonas Hofmann leaves the match. The midfielder put in a wonderful display against his parent club this evening. Filip Duricic comes on, the Serbian arriving at the club from Benfica during the summer.
Dortmund completely out of answers, attempting shot after shot from long range, none of which are testing Karius in goal. Mainz defending valiantly, giving the visitors no way back into this game.
Substitution Christoph Moritz Julian Koch
Yellow Card Johannes Geis
Quick impact from the debutant, who shows some nifty footwork, forcing Geis into a bit of a cynical challenge that will earn him the first yellow card of the match for the hosts.
Substitution Sven Bender Mitsuru Maruoka
Final change from the visitors who are running out of time. Japanese midfielder Mitsuru Maruoka, just 19-years-old, is on to make his Bundesliga debut for the club, in place of Sven Bender.
Yellow Card Kevin Gro?kreutz
Kevin Grosskreutz picks up a yellow card, and it is all falling apart for Dortmund. The midfielder has picked up an injury it would seem, as he is very slow to get up. Jurgen Klopp looks on bewildered from the touch line.
The Coface arena is full of life! Mainz playing some inspired football after that hectic sequence of events. Dortmund lacking creativity in attack, struggling to get forward and convert this possession into a clear cut scoring chance.
Own Goal Matthias Ginter
Inspired substitution! Samperio makes a nice run and breaks into the area. He sends a ball forward for Hofmann. Ginter slides in to intercept, but touches the ball into his own goal! What a turnaround by the hosts!
MAINZ DOUBLE THEIR LEAD FOLLOWING A SURE OWN GOAL!
Mainz completely full of life now! Okazaki beats a defender to the ball and wins his side a free kick out of sheer hard work and determination. It is delivered in well by Geis, but the Japanese striker heads over after peeling off his marker.
Yellow Card Shinji Okazaki
Penalty save Loris Karius
KARIUS SAVES IT! Immobile is the one to take, firing low to the left, but the Mainz keeper guesses right and makes a lovely save to keep his side in the lead! Incredible!
Missed Penalty Ciro Immobile
DORTMUND WIN A PENALTY! Immobile's shot is blocked by the arm of Okazaki in the area and the visitors have a glorious chance to tie the game!
Dortmund have all the work to do now, made to pay for failing to convert their chances into goals. They have dominated possession in the second half, but a moment of brilliance from the substitute set Mainz up to take the lead.
Goal Shinji Okazaki
Jairo Samperio holds the ball up well before laying it off. He makes a run and gets a return pass, before beating two defenders and sliding a pass across for Okazaki who gets between his markers to slot home! Four goals in four games for the Japanese striker.
OKAZAKI GIVES MAINZ THE LEAD!
Substitution A. Ramos Ciro Immobile
Substitution Shinji Kagawa Henrikh Mkhitaryan
The visitors make their attacking intent clear, bringing on Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ciro Immobile for Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos. The Japanese midfielder has faded since the early stages.
Dortmund look to be preparing two substitutions of their own as they continue to keep possession in the attacking half. A Jojic shot takes a deflection, falling to Aubameyang, but his half-volley is blocked and cleared.
Substitution Sami Allagui Jairo
Allagui makes his way off for the hosts in what is the first substitution of the match. Spanish midfielder Jairo Sampiero is the one to replace him.
The hosts only chance at attacking is coming on the counter. Dortmund are beginning to take the game to them, controlling possession in this second half, however, they have yet to make it count.
STAT ATTACK: Dortmund have scored two goals or more in each of their last six matches against Mainz, but have kept just one clean sheet.
DIAZ AGAIN! A corner is cleared, but lofted back into the area by Durm. After a few miss-kicks, it takes a redirection onto goal, but the Costa Rican again is there to clear of the line!
HOW DID THAT STAY OUT?! Grosskreutz does exceptionally well to keep the ball in play at the byline, before cutting back for Ramos. The striker looks to have a sure goal, but Diaz lunges in to make an incredible diving stop! The third of the game from the defender.
Very cagey start to this second half. The match is being played almost entirely in midfield, with every inch of space being fought for. The energy being used by these teams will undoubtedly make for some tired moments as this half wears on.
Tireless work in midfield from Grosskreutz, who causes consecutive turnovers in midfield. Dortmund have been the more spirited side early in the second half, but Mainz continue to keep their shape well at the back.
Mainz kick-off but Dortmund win possession straight away and break through Grosskreutz. The midfielder tries to pick out the run of Ramos in the centre, but a poor cross allows Karius to collect. Dangerous start for the hosts.
Both teams have difference makers on the bench who can come on and tilt this match in their favor. Question is, which team flinches first?
HALF TIME: MAINZ 0-0 BORUSSIA DORTMUND. Solid defending from both sides have kept the chances to a minimum after 45 minutes. Neither team is willing to give up an inch in midfield, with every bit of space having to be fought for out there. There is no separating these two at the half, and no telling who will find a breakthrough in the second frame.
Not a second of stoppage time, despite a couple brief injury delays. We head to the break knotted up at zeros.
Dortmund upping the pressure as we approach half time. They are having most of their success in attack along the right, with Piszczek getting forward as often as possible. A cross in looks promising, but Baumgartlinger gets to it first to head clear.
STAT ATTACK: Dating back to last season, Mainz have lost just once (against Bayern Munich) in their last 12 league matches at the Coface Arena (W6, D3).
RAMOS OFF THE POST! Sensational ball from Piszczek who eluded Diaz along the right before sending in a pass towards the near post. It is met by the Colombian striker, but he redirects it onto the woodwork! Lovely chance for the visitors to snatch the lead before the break.
Weidenfeller in the spotlight again, but for a very different reason. Piszczek's pass back is whiffed on by the keeper, winning the hosts a corner. The cross is cleared, but Hofmann gets on the end of it. He unleashes a shot that the German number two goalie has to fist away smartly.
GREAT SAVE WEIDENFELLER! A game of pinball in the Dortmund penalty area sees the ball fall kindly for Okazaki, who was a bit surprised by the fortunate bounce. He still manages to poke a strong effort towards goal, but Weidenfeller keeps it out with his outstretched arm.
Diaz with yet another vital interception! Piszczek picks up the ball along the right and cuts into the centre. He appears to be in a shooting position, which draws a defender to him, before slipping a pass to Kagawa that would have had him clean through on goal if not for the Costa Rican defender's interception.
Better from Dortmund! They finally work a ball into the area, and it falls for Kagawa. The Japanese midfielder slips at the vital moment, but the ball is collected by Jojic who has a go from just outside the area. Karius gets across well and makes a comfortable stop.
Mainz have yet to concede a goal in the opening half hour of games this season, and look have kept that record intact today. The hosts are defending admirably, giving Dortmund very little space in attack. There has been very little in terms of chances for the visitors.
Baumgartlinger makes a nice run forward and lays it off for Allagui. The winger tries to cross it, but Sokratis clears. It goes only as far as Geis, who meets it at the top of the area with a thunderous half-volley. His effort takes a slight deflection, which takes the pace out of the shot, making for an easy save for Weidenfeller.
Slight delay here as Bender picks up a knock after going full force into a challenge. You will not see him give anything less than 100 percent for his side. He gets up and looks to be alright, as Mainz take their free kick, but nothing comes of it.
A long ball forward is scrambled clear by Bell, but falls for Ramos at the top of the area. The anticipation builds among the traveling supporters, but the striker scuffs his volley as it loops well over the bar.
Dortmund really struggling to find a breakthrough as Mainz are really taking the game to them in midfield. The hosts are pressuring the ball incredibly well, and Jurgen Klopp's men have yet to find away around this wall in midfield.
Brilliant run from Hofman! The Mainz midfielder, on loan from Dortmund, gets forward and beats Sokratis. He forces the visitors to back off with his pace, creating just enough space for a shot that he does not hit well, as it rolls safely into the arms of Weidenfeller.
STAT ATTACK: Mainz are unbeaten through their first three league matches. They have not opened a season with points from four consecutive games since 2010.
Kagawa is drifting into a deeper position to get the ball, as Mainz are keeping things very tight in midfield. There is little space to move the ball, with the hosts keeping their shape quite well through the opening quarter of an hour.
WHAT A MISS! Kagawa beats a defender inside his own half and bursts forward with real intent. He draws two men towards him before laying off to Aubameyang. The Gabon international crosses a ball in for Ramos, but he sends his header wide of the far post!
Mainz are sitting fairly deep in the early going, which has been enough to prevent Aubameyang from getting involved. The speedy forward has no space to run when he gets on the ball, really limiting his influence on the match thus far.
Free kick in a threatening position for Mainz as Ginter is called for a foul to the left of the penalty area. Geis takes, and his effort is horrendous, sailing well high and wide from an impossibly tight angle for a shot.
Lovely turn by Kagawa! He takes a pass in midfield and beats a defender with ease. He tries to thread a ball through to Ramos, but communication breaks down as the striker stopped his run.
WHAT A PASS! Sven Bender picks out Piszczek with a sensational ball over the top. The defender is into the area and gets a shot off, but Junior Diaz scrambles across to get a vital block in and send the ball behind for a corner.
Ramos does well to beat a few defenders along the left, but his eventual cross in runs long and Main break on attack of their own. Allagui has a shot from distance, but it sails over the bar.
Dortmund kick-off and we are underway at the Coface arena! The visitors, moving left to right, are sporting their classic yellow and black tops, with Mainz in red.
The players make their way out onto the pitch and we are just moments away from the start of the match!
STAT ATTACK: Dortmund have won six consecutive matches over Mainz and are unbeaten in their last eight.
Just two changes for Mainz following their 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin. Gonzalo Jara and Christoph Moritz are in to replace Niko Bungert and Koo Ja-Cheol repectively.
MAINZ SUBS: Kapino, Duricic, Malli, De Blasis, Sampiero, Soto, Koch.
MAINZ (4-2-3-1): Karius; Borinski, Jara, Bell, Diaz; Baumgartlinger, Geis; Allagui, Moritz, Hofmann; Okazaki.
Neven Subotic, Marcel Schmelzer, Sebastian Kehl, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ciro Immobile all get a rest following their 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Tuesday. Milos Jojic, Shinji Kagawa and striker Adrian Ramos are back in, each of whom played an important role in their 3-0 win over Freiburg last weekend.
DORTMUND SUBS: Immobile, Mkhitaryan, Langerak, Sarr, Schmelzer, Maruoka, Gyau.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Sokratis, Ginter, Durm; Bender, Jojic; Aubameyang, Kagawa, Grosskreutz; Ramos.
The teams have been announced, so let us have ourselves a look at the starting line-ups:
Mainz have yet to experience defeat just a few short weeks into the new season, however their schedule has been kind thus far. Danish coach Kasper Hjulmand has their attack firing on all cylinders, and they will hope to continue their unbeaten start against last season's runners-up here today. Die Nullfunfer have not fared well against Dortmund in recent years, but a plethora of summer arrivals will hope to help put an end to this dismal run.
Jurgen Klopp's men have bounced back nicely from an opening day loss to Leverkusen. Since the 2-0 defeat, Dortmund have won back to back league matches, as well as their Champions League opener over Arsenal on Tuesday. Their recent good form has them back to within striking distance in the Bundesliga, and they can actually move to top of the league with a win today, following Bayern Munich's draw with Hamburg this afternoon.
Good day, Bundesliga fans! Welcome to the Coface Arena as Borussia Dortmund arrive to put their six game winning streak over Mainz to the test. I am Alex Moretto and I will be your in-game host, guiding you through the match LIVE as it happens!
Mainz miss out on the chance to capitalise on Gladbach's defeat to Freiburg, but remain in the hunt for the final Europa League spot. Dortmund win their fifth consecutive match, remaining in their lofty second position. I've been Simon Harrison and I hope to see you all again next time.
FULL TIME! Dortmund complete a 4-2 home win against Mainz, after a first half of deflections and total luck. The hosts' quality shone through towards the end, with Langerak having very little to do over the 90 minutes. Goals from Jojic, Lewandowski, Piszczek and Reus wrap up the three points, despite an Okazaki double for the away side.
90' + 2'
GROSSKREUTZ! What a poor pass from the utility man! He's fed the ball by another brilliant backheel from Lewandowski, before opting to try and return the ball to the Poland international. It's too heavily weighted, rolling through easily to Karius.
There are two minutes of stoppage time.
Today constitutes a missed opportunity for Mainz, with Gladbach submitting to defeat against struggling Freiburg. Choupo-Moting drives down the left, before putting in a square ball, but nobody is on hand to turn home the delivery at the back post.
Good save from Karius! Aubameyang is given the ball in plenty of space at the back post, before taking a settling touch. He arrows a ferocious low drive towards the inside of the near post, but Karius gets down smartly to his right to deal with the effort.
AUBAMEYANG! The substitutes races down the right channel, before unleashing a powerful effort straight at Karius at the near post! Dortmund win a corner, which Hofmann floats in, but Hummels' header misses the target.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Mainz continue to try and press forward whenever possible, with Tuchel's men unwilling to give up on their Europa League aspirations.
Substitution Marco Reus Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Less than ten minutes until the final whistle and it's hard to look beyond the eleven men of Dortmund now. Mainz managed to hang in the game for more than an hour, but the quality of the hosts is beginning to shine through. Aubameyang is being readied on the sidelines.
Substitution Milos( Jojic' Jonas Hofmann
Lewandowski is in the thick of it once again, before his cross is deflected wide of the near post by Diaz. Klopp finally looks to his substitutes, with Hofmann replacing the yellow-carded Jojic.
Substitution Henrikh Mkhitaryan Kevin Gro?kreutz
Penalty Goal Marco Reus
GOOOOOAL! REUS CONVERTS THE PENALTY! Karius guesses correctly, but Reus' penalty is good enough to evade him and nestle in the bottom left corner! Dortmund are in the driving seat for certain now.
Red Card Niko Bungert
PENALTY! RED CARD! Bungert sees red, after seemingly to block a Lewandowski effort with his arm. It's harsh on the defender, but the referee races straight over with his card held aloft. Dortmund have the chance to score again..
POST! Lewandowski turns yet another Reus free-kick towards goal, but cracks the ball off the inside of the upright! Karius is left stranded, totally at the mercy of his woodwork, but survives this time.
Substitution Yunus Malli Koo Ja-Cheol
Tuchel and Klopp are both incredibly animated in their respective technical areas. Malli is replaced by Koo for the away side, as the visitors attempt to rally once again and find another unlikely equaliser.
Mainz hold onto the ball, stroking it around composedly, but appear unable to penetrate Dortmund's lines. Despite scoring twice, the away side have been rather toothless in attack, with their goals coming from a deflection and a Nuri Sahin error.
Despite there being merely 20 minutes left to play, Klopp continues to persevere with the eleven men who started today's game. Another Reus free-kick arrows into the box, bouncing narrowly wide of the far post once again. Karius hasn't commanded his area well whatsoever.
The home fans are incensed, they clearly believe that the referee hasn't been on top of this game, making some poor decisions. Parker whips in a cross from the right, but Langerak is alert to smother it on the edge of the six yard box.
Good stop by Karius! Dortmund have an opportunity cleared off the line, but the home players are protesting that it may have crept in! A near post corner is turned towards goal by Hummels and it was both over the line and blocked with Okazaki's arm!
Mainz continue to carve out the odd opportunity, of which the majority fall to Okazaki, but Langerak continues to be a rather unoccupied goalkeeper. Dortmund have been the better side, but nothing is certain yet.
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR LEWANDOWKSI! Durm flights in a wonderful cross, straight to the head of Dortmund's lone striker, but the former Lech Poznan man can only divert the delivery into the grasp of Karius.
LEWANDOWSKI! The Poland international is set on his way, heading through one-on-one with Karius, but the Mainz goalkeeper makes a great save! It was a comfortable height, but the young shot-stopper guessed the right way and palmed the Dortmund forward's effort away firmly.
Less than half an hour left to play and who knows what this scoreline will be. Both sides are making mistakes, looking sloppy at the back, with the offensive tools primed ready to capitalise.
Lewandowski wants a penalty, as he outpaces Noveski, before being hauled down by the Macedonian defender! The referee points for a goal kick, however, angering the Yellow Wall. Somehow, Dortmund haven't been given the chance to convert their fourth goal of the afternoon.
OKAZAKI! It's another half chance for the Japanese international, who is fed into a pocket of space by Malli! His snapshot is blocked, before Piszczek hoofs the loose ball upfield.
REUS! WHAT A CHANCE! It's nearly four, but the linesman's flag is up anyway! The Germany international is picked out deep in the Mainz penalty area with a lofted pass, turning the ball towards goal with a volleyed attempt. Karius is on hand to make a block with his extended leg.
Assist Marco Reus
Goal Lukasz Piszczek
GOOOOOOOAL! PISZCZEK TAKES BACK THE LEAD! Dortmund are back ahead merely two minutes after Okazaki's second goal! Reus whips in the free-kick, which the Polish right-back flicks on inside the back post!
Out of nothing, Mainz are right back in this game, with European football again looking like a realistic prospect. The direct running of Parker has caused a few problems and well, Okazaki is the luckiest man in the stadium today. He can hardly believe his good fortune.
Goal Shinji Okazaki
GOOOOOOOOOAL! WHAT A MISTAKE FROM SAHIN! MAINZ HAVE EQUALISED! It's Okazaki yet again, who is alert to Sahin's terrible backpass! The Mainz forward picks up the loose ball, skips past Langerak and turns home into an empty net!
REUS! It's another free-kick from the former Gladbach man which causes all kinds of problems in the Mainz penalty area! Karius flaps at the long-range delivery, which dips into a pocket of space at the back post, touching it behind. The corner is flighted in, but Lewandowski's attempted volley is deflected for yet another set piece!
Mainz have made a much better start to this half, holding onto possession for longer spells than they could manage before the break. The introduction of Parker will encourage Tuchel's men to press on, as the 21-year-old offers a turn of pace.
REUS! The Germany international forward is played in behind Mainz's line, before nearly sidestepping the sprawling figure of Karius. The Mainz goalkeeper is able to put in a block, before the scraps are cleaned up by Diaz.
Half chance for Kirch! The defensive midfielder is picked out at the back post by a flick-on, but the ball arrived at his feet so quickly that he couldn't control it! Instead of sweeping an effort home from close range, the ball headed in the opposite direction!
Substitution Stefan Bell Shawn Parker
Substitution Christoph Moritz Benedikt Saller
A couple of changes for the away side, with Saller and Parker heading into the fray, in place of Bell and Moritz - the latter had an awful first half. Tuchel isn't afraid to shuffle his pack, it seems.
We are back underway for the second half! Mainz have it all to do if they are to overturn the current result, having only showed in brief glimpses what they're capable of going forward. If Dortmund score first, there's definitely the risk of this game being over as a contest.
Klopp has displayed every emotion under the sun in the opening 45 minutes, with the second half promising to have plenty more in store for the former Mainz coach. Dortmund are good value for their 2-1 lead, with their quality on the break proving slightly too much for the away side to handle.
Mainz went behind early on, after looking shellshocked by a Marco Reus free-kick which hit the post and haven't pushed on since. Okazaki's goal was undeserved and almost defied the laws of physics, but gives Tuchel's side a chance to salvage their push for European football in the second half.
HALF TIME! Dortmund head to their dressing room with a slender one-goal advantage, with two of the first half goals coming from fortunate deflections. Okazaki and Jojic are the men to claim responsibility for them, with Lewandowski the man to put Dortmund back ahead after a lovely move from the hosts.
Mainz continue to struggle, with their deflected goal being the only real opportunity they've had. Okazaki nearly unwittingly finds Choupo-Moting at the back post, but Piszczek is on hand to hook the delivery away from danger.
Choupo-Moting sums up his first half performance with a cross from the byeline which heads into the crowd. The Cameroon international is clearly dangerous and is very positive with his running, but hasn't been able to drive into central areas to test Langerak.
Less than five minutes until the break and Dortmund continue to push on. Lewandowski receives possession on the right hand side after being set the ball back by Jojic, but the Polish striker can't keep his shot down. Karius is happy to watch the ball rise over his crossbar.
Yellow Card Shinji Okazaki
Yellow card for Okazaki, as the Mainz forward is penalised for a high foot on Piszczek. With his studs clearly showing, the fortuitous goalscorer can have no complaints whatsoever.
A couple of corners for Dortmund, but neither can be turned home. The second is worked back out wide to Sahin, who finds Sokratis in space at the back post. The Greek defender's headed attempt is powerful and looks to be heading into the far corner, but bounces a couple of yards wide.
REUS! A big, big chance for the former Gladbach forward! Piszczek cuts back a cross to the edge of the penalty area, with his teammate attempting to steer the delivery into the bottom corner. Instead of finding the inside of the post, Reus' effort zips wide of the upright.
Unlucky for Reus! The Germany international is nearly found by a wonderful clipped ball by Mkhitaryan, but his touch lets him down! Mainz break upfield, with the ball finding its way to Malli, who arrows a long-range effort narrowly over the crossbar from 25 yards out!
Okazaki goes down rather optimistically, throwing himself to the turf despite Hummels appearing to grab his arm at the very most - leading to the referee gesturing for the goalscorer to stand up. Malli goes down for some treatment on his thigh, after being caught in a 50-50 challenge with Jojic.
Less than a quarter of an hour until the break and Tuchel has finally calmed down on the Mainz bench. After an extended period of arguing and barking out instructions to his players, the German coach has taken a seat once again. Klopp's enjoying his afternoon thus far, there's nothing sweeter than getting one over on your former employers, after all.
Moritz isn't enjoying the opening 30 minutes, having given away possession needlessly on a few occasions. It's testament to Dortmund's pressing, despite Die Schwarzgelben having nowhere near as much pressure on them to get a result today, there's still real grit and determination amongst Klopp's ranks.
As we head towards the half hour mark, you can only see one team winning this game. Dortmund have been exerting far more pressure, holding onto the ball far more composedly and creating much more dangerous chances. Mainz are very lucky to be on the scoreboard, Okazaki's deflected goal is papering over the cracks at the minute.
Big chance for Choupo-Moting! It's a good cross from the right hand side, with the fairly prolific forward diving towards the back post to nod home! He gets his contact on the ball all wrong and Langerak breathes a sigh of relief!
Mainz have no staying power in midfield whatsoever, playing extremely vertically and seemingly unable to retain possession. As such, the away side can't enjoy any sustained pressure, making it very easy for Dortmund to continue to break regularly.
Good goalkeeping from Karius! Lewandowski breaks beyond the last man and into the penalty area, but the Mainz keeper is quick off his line to smother the ball, leaving the Dortmund forward in a heap. The referee makes the correct decision.
Well, Mainz are looking to find their feet in attack occasionally, with Choupo-Moting and Okazaki keen to run with the ball, but Dortmund deserve their lead. The visitors are breaking, but are unable to control possession.
Assist Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Goal Robert Lewandowski
GOOOOOOOOOAL! LEWANDOWSKI! What a beautiful goal! The Poland international tucks home after receiving a square pass, but the plaudits have to go to Sahin! The midfielder robbed Moritz, before slotting a great through ball into Mkhitaryan's path, allowing for the former Shakhtar man to put the chance on a plate for his teammate.
That goal is hopefully a tonic for Mainz to push on in this game, they don't look like a side who turned over Werder Bremen last time out. Two deflections and both sides are back on level terms, with fortune being kind to both outfits.
Assist Yunus Malli
Goal Shinji Okazaki
GOOOOOOAL! OKAZAKI SCORES FROM ANOTHER DEFLECTION! The Mainz forward unleashes an effort which only threatens to head way wide of the target, but the ball deflects off the boot of Hummels! The flight of the ball is skewed massively, looping over Langerak and into the far corner! A fortuitous equaliser.
Kirch has an ambitious effort from 25 yards, which is applauded despite being very tame. Klopp is all smiles on the Dortmund bench, he's pleased with what his side have brought to the table. Okazaki is fed down the right channel, but blasts effort way over the bar under pressure from Hummels.
Beautiful run from Marco Reus! The Germany international drives through the centre of the park, nutmegging a defender as he went, before spraying possession out wide for Mkhitaryan. The Armenian midfielder tries his luck from a tight angle, but sees his effort blocked for a corner.
Mainz just haven't managed to get going thus far, they still looked stunned by Dortmund's intensity. The goal was fortunate, but certainly well deserved. Tuchel's men have merely a corner to their name, Langerak has had only the most routine of tasks.
Jojic has been involved heavily in the opening ten minutes, showing plenty of intensity, being the protagonist of the game's first goal and picking up a yellow card. Dortmund continue to drive forward relentlessly. Mkhitaryan is picked out by a long pass, before racing through one-on-one, but the linesman's flag is up for offside.
Yellow Card Milos( Jojic'
Okazaki was certainly playing Kirch onside, but the complaints from the away side seem to stem from the fact Jojic's shot struck Kirch on the arm. Jojic is booked for a silly challenge on Karius, sliding into the Mainz goalkeeper despite the German shot-stopper having clearly claimed the ball.
Goal Milos( Jojic'
GOOOOOOAL! DORTMUND TAKE THE LEAD! It's rather fortunate, but Jojic has yet another goal to his name since his January move! Kirch is struck by the Serbian's effort from the edge of the box, with the ball seeming to deflect off his teammate's hand! Karius is sent the wrong way, but Dortmund won't mind, they've got the advantage!
Good driving run down the left hand side from Mkhitaryan, but the Armenia international sees his eventual cross blocked for an early Dortmund corner. Karius is actually wearing a cap in the visitors' goal, with the sun beating down on him.
The Yellow Wall are in excellent voice, buoyed by their team's brilliant opening to the game. Mainz are looking a little bit stunned, perhaps due to Reus' excellent free-kick attempt! They really can't afford to show Klopp's side too much respect.
REUS HITS THE UPRIGHT! What a brilliant free-kick effort from the Germany international! He tries his luck from 30 yards and Karius was left like a statue, watching the ball cannon off the woodwork and clear of danger! Mainz are fortunate to still be level!
A vibrant start from the home side! Jojic capitalises on a poor early clearance, before being fed a backheeled pass by Lewandowski, but the Serbian midfielder loops a terrible effort over the bar. Mainz are unable to get tight to Dortmund in the opening exchanges.
We are underway in the first half! Jurgen Klopp won't want to surrender any Bundesliga points to his former club, but today's visitors have undebatably had a reasonable campaign. If Tuchel's men can continue to impress and grab a share of the spoils this afternoon, there's every chance that they could displace Gladbach in the last of the European places. Great atmosphere as always!
With less than ten minutes remaining until kick-off, be sure to stick around for all of the action from Signal Iduna Park, where the weather is absolutely perfect for a competitive game of football. Mainz need take some points home if they are to stay in the chase for European football, while Dortmund continue to nervously look over their shoulders as Schalke hang onto their coat tails.
Mainz substitutes: Svensson, Saller, Ja-Cheol Koo, Kresic, Soto, Fathi, Parker.
Mainz starting line-up: Karus; Pospech, Noveski, Bell, Junior Diaz; Bungert, Geis; Moritz, Malli, Choupo-Moting; Okazaki.
Dortmund substitutes: Friedrich, Hofmann, Aubameyang, Grosskreutz, Schieber, Sarr, Alomerovic.
Dortmund starting line-up: Langerak; Piszczek, Sokratis, Hummels, Durm; Kirch, Sahin; Jojic, Mkhitaryan, Reus; Lewandowski.
TEAM NEWS: Stefan Bell comes into the visiting side, with Elkin Soto dropping to the bench. Otherwise, Tuchel's men are unchanged from the eleven which defeated Werder Bremen 3-0 last time out. Niki Zimling doesn't even make it onto the bench. Jean-Eric Choupo-Moting starts up top for Die Nullfunfer and has nine goals to his name in the current Bundesliga campaign.
TEAM NEWS: Roman Weidenfeller is out with an injury, after looking a little troubled during the DFB Pokal win over Wolfsburg. The Germany international goalkeeper has adductor problems, meaning that Mitchell Langerak comes into the starting line-up. Otherwise, the home side face the same injury list as always, with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Lars Bender, Neven Subotic and Jakub Blaszczykowski missing.
I'm Simon Harrison and I will be keeping you fully updated with all of the action from Signal Iduna Park, as the home side look to extend their winning run to five games. Today's visitors have managed to take six points from their last nine, but face a Die Schwarzgelben outfit who have looked resurgent in recent weeks. With Marco Reus, Robert Lewandowski and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in excellent form, this afternoon represents a real challenge for Mainz to prove their Europa League credentials.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of one of this afternoon's Bundesliga clashes, as Jurgen Klopp faces former club Mainz, with Borussia Dortmund hoping to continue their impressive end to the season. The hosts may already have Champions League football all but confirmed, but Mainz remain in the hunt for a Europa League finish, sitting merely two points behind fifth-placed Gladbach. Plenty is at stake!
So Milan keep their Serie A season going in the right direction, though Chievo look set to face a frustrating campaign if they set out like that in future. Question marks remain over Fernando Torres, but that was to be expected. That's all from me - I've been Tom J Doyle. Bye for now.
Chievo will be left to rue what could have been, as they held out well in the opening 45 minutes and certainly had their chances on the counter. Still, they sat back deeper and deeper until Milan were all but forced to open the scoring, and the hosts take a much-needed win.
That's it, and Milan beat Chievo 2-0 at the San Siro! The hosts were lacking ideas in the first half, though their pressure eventually told as Muntari opened the scoring with a fortunate volley, before Honda made sure of the win with a wonderful free kick from range.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Stephan El Shaarawy
90' + 4'
El Shaarawy looks set to end things on a sour note with a needless yellow card - Abbiati eventually claims a high ball under pressure, and that should be that.
90' + 3'
What a miss by Poli! El Shaarawy does briliantly to wriggle away on the left and tees up the forward, but his shot from 12 yards is deflected wide for a corner! He should have buried that.
90' + 2'
We're into four minutes of what is quite literally injury time as Rami gets treatment for a bloodied nose.
Just as Bardi blocked with his face earlier on, so do Rami here as he is down and out for the count after a fierce shot hits him in the jaw.
Substitution Sulley Muntari Michael Essien
What a chance for Paloschi! He takes the ball down and is through with Abbiati rushing out - a chip would beat the keeper for 2-1, but he hits it straight at the Milan stopper.
This could well be a long season for Chievo - on another day they could well have sneaked a point here, but they sat deeper when a little more bravery could have forced a result.
Milan look content now to sit on the lead, and while Chievo are trying to force the game, they're desperately lacking in ideas.
Substitution Isaac Cofie Nicola Bellomo
The pace has slowed in this game with a raft of substitutions, and Chievo look well beaten now. Inzaghi will be wanting his side to press on and score more, but the three points look secure.
Substitution Keisuke Honda Andrea Poli
Yellow Card Riccardo Meggiorini
Abate yet again gets down the right flank well and provides Menez with half a chance, though he can only head wide at the back post.
Yellow Card Ervin Zukanovic'
Chievo are getting a little nasty now as Meggiorini goes in for a wild hack on Abbiati, who makes a bee-line for the substitute, who is rightly booked.
Goal Keisuke Honda
WHAT A STUNNER FROM HONDA!!! The Milan midfielder has been too much for Chievo to handle tonight, and curls a wonderful free kick up and over the wall from 30 yards out! The keeper can only tip the ball into the net, and that's surely the points for the hosts.
Yellow Card Isaac Cofie
El Shaarawy has an immediate impact as Cofie hacks him from behind to pick up a booking - that's the pace Milan have badly lacked today.
Substitution Fernando Torres Stephan El Shaarawy
That's the end of Fernando Torres' night as he is replaced by El Shaarawy - a disappointing night for the Chelsea loanee.
Substitution Maxi Lo'pez Riccardo Meggiorini
Rami fails to clear the ball and Lazarevic gets down the left flank, but Alex is across to clear his cross really well on the slide.
Rami unleashes a low drive that Bardi gets down low to hold onto - how costly will Chievo's failed breakaway prove? Muntari wants another goal but slices a volley wide at the back post.
What a chance for Chievo! Muntari yet again gives away the ball and the visitors break through Lazarevic. It's three on one and he has to square the ball to one of two team-mates, but tries to beat his man and wastes the pass! That is atrocious - simply terrible from a professional footballer.
Great opportunity for Torres! Menez has it on the byline and the ball falls to Torres six yards out, but the striker's shot is deflected high into the air and out for a corner. Chievo are on the ropes as Milan want that all-important second goal.
Substitution Valter Birsa Dejan Lazarevic
Bardi saves from Menez! The Chievo keeper does well to get down as the Milan forward's fierce effort deflects off a defender into Bardi's face! He's dazed and needs some treatment, but his manager won't care as long as he keeps them out.
Yellow Card Nigel De Jong
Chievo are furious as Muntari concedes possession and De Jong hacks his man down, but as the visitors break, the referee instead calls play back to book the Dutch midfielder. He surely had to let play continue with Chievo well placed to fashion a chance.
So close for Honda! Abate gets up the flank unmarked and controls a lovely volleyed pass into the path of Honda, but he can't connect with a sliding effort six yards out! Any touch and that was surely Milan's second.
More fine footwork from Menez sees Milan in a promising position, and Honda is denied a headed goal as Bardi does just enough at the back post. The Milan fans are beginning to enjoy this one.
Radovanovic gets forward now, but swings a wild shot wide again - he has to do better than that given he also had support in the form of Lopez.
De Sciglio is tormenting Chievo on the left with another great cross, and only a last-ditch block from Zukanovic prevents Torres from tapping in on the six-yard line.
That goal opens up the game now, as Milan will look to build on it while Chievo simply have to offer more of an offensive threat.
Goal Sulley Muntari
WHAT A GOAL FROM MUNTARI! Chievo can only half-clear Honda's cross from the right, and the Milan midfielder meets the ball on the volley, cracking it into the floor and up into the top corner! There was a slice of luck about that, but Milan deserve the lead for their attacking intent.
Chievo are sitting dangerously deep now and inviting pressure from Milan - this is a dangerous game...
De Sciglio crosses from the left and Bonaventura controls before seeing his low drive deflected wide of the post. Milan are knocking on the door now - can they make their pressure count?
Honda and Zukanovic clash heads now, and there's a slight break in play. Milan need to keep up this intensity, as they've been far better since the break.
Off the line! Milan are turning the screw and Menez puts in a cross which is turned goalwards, but Biraghi does well to clear off the line! Chievo are struggling here.
Biraghi is walking a fine line as he commits yet another foul while on a booking - he may be subbed off soon, or else he'll be sent off. Menez then tries a lovely volley from the edge of the box, but can't quite steer it on target.
Lopez dances on the left flank but is adjudged to have taken it out of play. His skill on the ball is a joy to watch, though - more of the same please!
We're back underway for the second half - no substitutes for either side at the break. Torres almost has an immediate chance as he tries to control Abate's cross, but he lets it run too far before he can get a foot on it.
The sides are back out, and Milan need something different in this half. How long will Milan's forwards last before Inzaghi decided he needs more movement up front?
Filippo Inzaghi will have to change things up to get a response from his side in the second half - he has 12 players to call on, after all, and we will surely see El Shaarawy introduced before too long.
That's the interval, and Chievo have done well to frustrate Milan so far and ensure the match remains goalless at the San Siro. Torres and Honda have had sniffs of goal, and Alex should have converted a late header, though the visitors have set up strongly and look a threat on the break.
Chievo win a corner - this would be a perfect time to nick a goal, but Abbiati comes to punch the ball away, and there's no added time as Mazzoleni blows for half-time!
Yellow Card Cristiano Biraghi
Cristiano Biraghi gets a yellow card for an odd one-two foul, shoving Menez off the ball and kicking him for good measure. There's no way of avoiding a yellow with something like that!
The Milan fans are not happy as Menez wants a free kick on the flank, and then the referee awards Chievo a foul moments later for an Abate trip. The visitors will be happy so far.
So close for Milan! Menez draws another free kick from Cofie, who has somehow kept himself out of the book so far. Alex meets the inswinging free kick at the back post, but glances his header wide! Adil Rami would surely have converted without the key touch from his team-mate, there.
Absolute chaos in the Chievo box! Milan fool the visitors with a short free kick which Bardi closes down, but Chievo fail to clear and Torres gains possession, but blasts wide from eight yards out!
Keisuke Honda, what are you doing?! The forward does brilliantly to track down a long ball and break into the box on the right, but with time and space and team-mates waiting for the ball, he thrashes a wild effort miles over the bar! That is a terrible effort given his talent.
Torres tries an audacious backheel volley from six yards out and it flashes wide, but Menez had already been flagged offside. It's good to see that the striker has the confidence to try the spectacular once again, though!
Perparim Hetemaj is the latest Chievo player to try his luck from range, but his swerving effort from 35 yards is never troubling Abbiati. Still, it only takes one wonder strike to give them the lead...
Ivan Radovanovic tries his luck from range with a fierce drive, but it's too straight and right down the neck of Abbiati, who holds well.
Torres does drop back now and links well with Honda on the right, but Chievo hold their formation and Milan are forced all the way back. This will suit the visitors, who will now look to break in this lull.
Milan are getting frustrated and have started resorting to shooting from range, which Chievo are easily dealing with. They need to be more patient on the ball, as it's far too comfortable for the visitors.
Milan are putting the ball up to Torres more in hope than expectation, with Muntari guilty of gifting the ball to Chievo too often here. Torres may have to drop back to link up with his team-mates at this rate, though that's not exactly his forte.
Yellow Card Valter Birsa
Valter Birsa picks up the first booking as he loses possession cheaply in the corner and then hacks Honda from behind - a deserved yellow.
The possession has balanced out a little, though Milan are still dominating with 71 percent to 21 percent. Chievo are making the most of the little they've had though, and Milan are not pressing well enough when they do lose the ball.
Chievo hand Milan a timely reminder of their threat on the counter as they break with a four on three, but the move breaks down as the assistant flags for offside. A close call for the hosts.
Honda almost scores! The forward sees a great opportunity open up on the right of the box, but he wastefully curls it into the side netting from 15 yards. Promising for the hosts, but they have to make this early pressure count.
Menez sees a strong drive blocked out, and Milan come again...
Milan are asserting themselves now as Torres, Honda and Abate trade passes, with the striker eventually winning a free kick out on the right.
Close for Torres! De Sciglio once again gets forward well on the left, and the ball finds its way to Honda on the right. He tees up Torres outside the box, but the striker drags his shot wide of goal. Half the ground thought that was in!
Lopez has a bee in his bonnet and is looking for a goal now, but his fierce goal-bound drive is blocked well by Alex. Chievo are growing into this game now.
Replays show that Alex stood on Lopez's foot, though the forward went down a little late to convince Mazzoleni. Had the Chievo front man fallen under the initial challenge, it may well have been a spot kick.
Chievo want a penalty as Maxi Lopez goes down under a bodycheck from Alex, but Mazzoleni is not convinced, and Milan survive.
Abate gives away a needless free kick on the left flank, but Milan clear the resulting free kick. They've been poor defending set-pieces this season, but held firm then.
Filippo Inzaghi looks suitably animated on the touchline as his side are clearly superior so far, yet have not created the chances to back up the time they've spent on the ball.
Paloschi takes a half-hearted swing at a volley on the right of the box, but it's never worrying Abbiati. Milan try to break, Torres gets a whack, and Milan eventually win a corner. The pressure continues...
This is all Milan so far, but Chievo do look quick on the counter. There is the danger of the hosts switching off given their dominance of possession so far, but the visitors have yet to trouble Milan keeper Christian Abbiati.
Close for Menez! De Sciglio does really well on the left flank again and tees up Menez with a lovely pass, though the forward drags his 22-yard effort wide of Francesco Bardi's right-hand post!
Milan appear to have had 91 percent of the possession in the early stages - that's ridiculous. Chievo have held well, but surely need to try and get on the ball more...
Isaac Cofie goes in really hard on Menez from behind, and is lucky to avoid a booking - that was a needless hack. He gets a warning from Mazzoleni, though Chievo block De Jong's shot from the resulting free kick delivery.
The corner comes in from the left but Chievo clear and counter, though Ignazio Abate does well to beat Alberto Paloschi for pace and clear the ball away from danger.
Milan are dominating possession early on, with Chievo sitting deep and allowing the hosts to knock the ball about at ease. Mattia De Sciglio gets down the left flank and wins a corner after a good run.
Referee Paolo Mazzoleni blows his whistle, and we're underway at the San Siro! Nigel de Jong wins an early free kick in his own half - the Dutchman will be a real handful for Chievo tonight.
All seven of Milan's goalscorers this season are in the starting XI, so the hosts can threaten from all over the pitch. Eugenio Corini will surely be looking for his side to keep things tight from the off and frustrate the hosts, and hit them on the counter.
The sides are out at the San Siro, which is far from full tonight. Still, it's an important game so early on in the season, especially for Milan given the hopes placed on the new coach, a former Milanese legend. He'll be desperate to succeed here.
Less than 10 minutes till kick-off at the San Siro, and Torres looks like he's ready for battle. He's at Milan until the summer of 2016, and will be hoping to prove his doubters at Chelsea wrong.
Chievo subs: Bizarri, Seculin, Cesar, Sardo, Edimar, Mangani, Bellomo, Kupisz, Lazarevic, Pellissier, Meggiorini.
Milan are unbeaten at home since March 16, and welcome back forward Jeremy Menez to the starting XI after he picked up a knock in training. Fernando Torres also starts up front and will be a favourite to nab a goal tonight, though the hosts will have to keep things tight at the back after conceding nine in their first five games.
Milan subs: Agazzi, Gori, Albertazzi, Armero, Bonera, Mexes, Essien, Zaccardo, Poli, El Shaarawy, Pazzini, Niang.
Chievo XI: Bardi; Frey, Dainelli, Zukanovic, Biraghi; Radovanovic, Cofie, Hetemaj; Birsa, Paloschi, Maxi Lopez.
Milan XI: Abbiati; Abate, Alex, Rami, De Sciglio; Muntari, De Jong, Bonaventura; Honda, Torres, Menez.
Chievo, meanwhile, sit in 14th position and go into this match as firm underdogs, with Eugenio Corini's side picking up just one point from their last three games.
Filippo Inzaghi has had a mixed start to his Milan coaching career, with two wins, two draws and a defeat leaving the Rossoneri seven points behind Juventus and Roma. While it may be too soon in the Inzaghi era to start thinking about Scudetto success, a win tonight is vital in keeping pace - especially given the frontrunners play each other tomorrow night.
Good evening and welcome to our Live Text Commentary of AC Milan vs. Chievo at the San Siro! I'm Tom J Doyle, and I'll be your host for what promises to be an intriguing Serie A encounter.