| AC Milan’s Kaka evades a challenge from Mauro Milanese of Ancona during their Serie A match in Ancona on Monday. (Reuters)
Ancona: Andriy Shevchenko netted both goals as AC Milan opened their Serie A campaign by downing Ancona 2-0 on Monday. The win put the European champions into a tie for first place after the first round.
The Ukrainian star opened scoring with a masterly free-kick in the first half and added another in the second period, after being set up by the Brazilian combination of Kaka and Cafu.
New recruit Kaka made an impressive debut in the Italian league as the Milan powerhouse started the season one day late to recover some strength following their successful European Super Cup match against FC Porto in Monte Carlo.
Kaka, bought from Sao Paulo in the off season, made classy moves and nearly scored in his first full match in Italy. He had two chances but barely missed the first from an angled position and gave up the second as he tried to feed Shevchenko instead of kicking in from a good position.
AC Milan’s success on the road against the Serie A newcomers matched Sunday’s wins for defending champion Juventus, Inter Milan, Lazio and AS Roma.
Shevchenko, who also scored the winner against Porto, made it 1-0 in the 30th minute with a long-distance, curling free-kick that Ancona goalkeeper Alessio Scarpi could only slap into his net while diving.
The striker hit the post with a diagonal shot in the 70th but found the mark six minutes later, following a quick mark started by Kaka and completed by Cafu. The Brazil captain released a perfect pass for the 26-year-old Ukrainian, who kicked in from nine meters out.
Both teams played the last 30 minutes one player down after referee Pierluigi Collina ejected AC Milan captain Paolo Maldini and Ancona’s Brazilian defender Alves Bilica for trading pushes following a melee in the penalty area of the visiting team.
The ‘big five’ all have three points, two ahead of Chievo, Perugia, Reggina, Sampdoria and Siena, who started the campaign with draws.
The second Serie A round is scheduled for September 13-14, following Italy’s crucial European Championship qualifiers against Wales on September 6 and Serbia and Montenegro on September 10.