Serie A - Robinho gives Milan tight victory
Robinho produced Milan's solitary strike as the Serie A leaders edged out struggling Brescia 1-0 in a hard-fought clash at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti.
Milan were thwarted by an obdurate Brescia defence until the 82nd minute when the visitors finally broke the deadlock courtesy of an assist from Antonio Cassano and cool finish from Robinho.
The Rossoneri had to cope without striker Alexandre Pato and defender Alessandro Nesta for the testing trip to the second-from-bottom side with the pair sidelined, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic's suspension saw Robinho and Antonio Cassano form the strike force.
Milan could have been in front in just the ninth minute as Cassano strode forward purposefully before cutting the ball back to Robinho, who lashed a powerful effort over the crossbar.
The visitors dominated the possession in the first half with veteran Dutchman Clarence Seedorf at the forefront of everything.
But Cassano squandered a glorious opportunity three minutes before the break as yet another clear-cut chance went begging.
Kevin-Prince Boateng crossed from the right, but Cassano could only head over the bar completely unmarked and with the goal gaping at his mercy. It was a staggering miss from the forward.
It was goalless at the break, and tempers began to fray as Boateng was involved in a series of tussles with Brescia players.
Milan should have broken the deadlock in the 52nd minute as they controlled the possession once more, but again Cassano was the culprit as the chance was squandered.
Seedorf forced his way to the left byline and cut the ball back to him, but the forward again somehow contrived to head wide from close range.
Michele Arcari was then forced into a very fine reflex save just after the hour mark as Boateng unleashed a ferocious drive from just outside the Brescia box, and the keeper tipped the ball away.
But finally the deadlock was broken in the 82nd minute as Cassano raced through the Brescia half and slid an incisive through ball beyond Jonathan Zebina and into the path of Robinho, who kept his composure to beat Arcari.
Brescia could not muster a late response as they had to suddenly alter their previously stoic approach, and Milan clinched a victory which takes them closer to the Serie A title.