MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. – AC Milan claimed third place in the inaugural Guinness International Champions Cup with a perfunctory 2-0 victory over LA Galaxy on Wednesday night.
Mario Balotelli and M'Baye Niang struck before halftime to allow the Italian giants to ease to victory at Sun Life Stadium. The result reflected the overall balance of play on a night when Milan controlled the proceedings and repelled the Galaxy's intermittent forays into the attacking third.
It did not take long for Milan to establish its dominance from the outset. Max Allegri's side seized control of the affair in the early stages and started to ask questions of the Galaxy defense. Niang dragged wide from a decent position before Todd Dunivant intervened to halt another Milan move inside the first 10 minutes.
The pressure eventually told as Balotelli pounced on a Galaxy mistake and stroked home the opener. Robbie Keane conceded possession inside his own half and watched the Italian international punish him mercilessly. The former Manchester City striker collected at the edge of the penalty area, turned neatly and then thumped home his effort inside the far post.
Los Angeles ventured forward a bit more in the aftermath of the goal, but Milan always looked more likely to add a second. Galaxy goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini produced a fine stop on Stephan El Shaarawy to maintain the scoreline before Juninho forced Christian Abbiati to awkwardly parry away his shot from distance.
Abbiati's stop paved the way for Milan to claim a second through more suspect Galaxy defending. Niang collected from a throw and cut inside from the right flank. He created a yard of space on the edge of the penalty area and then slotted inside the far post past the well-beaten Cudicini to double the advantage five minutes before the interval.
Both teams made a host of changes as the second half progressed and watched the tempo of the match suffer accordingly. Los Angeles never looked like making much of a game of it, while Milan hit the crossbar in the late stages in a bid to claim a third inside the final 10 minutes.
The inability to snatch a third did not exert any impact on the proceedings, though. Milan saw out the match with a minimum of fuss and sauntered to victory to conclude the competition in third place.