Alberto Gilardino and Milan broke their droughts in spectacular fashion, demolishing Lazio 5-1 at the Olimpico.
These sides finished in the top four last term, but bad starts meant they were battling in mid-table. The pressure was poured on to the Rossoneri after four points from their previous five games in Serie A and the midweek Champions League loss at Celtic. Lazio at least took comfort from their spectacular 2-2 draw with Real Madrid.
Injuries have been key for both teams this season as the absentee list included Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Kakha Kaladze, Serginho, Marek Jankulovski, Sebastiano Siviglia, Mobido Diakhite' and Fabio Firmani.
Tommaso Rocchi was able to start despite a sprained ankle and had the first shot on goal after 90 seconds. Goran Pandev turned between two midfielders and sprinted forward for Rocchi, but his pass was somewhere between Pandev and Stefano Mauri, so Nelson Dida grabbed hold of the ball.
Milan should have taken the lead on eight minutes as Massimo Ambrosini redirected a corner kick, but Daniele Bonera incredibly turned wide from a yard. Alberto Gilardino hit the back of the net while offside.
On 13 minutes Muslera rushed out to close down Gilardino, but got the player's leg rather than the ball and the referee pointed to the spot. However, after consulting with the linesman he changed his mind and gave a corner kick, but there are strong doubts over this incident.
The goal was only postponed by a couple of minutes, as Ambrosini unleashed an extraordinary strike from 30 metres that slotted into the far top corner past Muslera's hand. The midfielder looked as if he was making a cross, but Mulsera was off his line and it swept straight past the stunned shot-stopper.
Clarence Seedorf went on a marauding run to smash his shot against the side-netting, then Kaka went on a run from his own half to blast over.
But it was Lazio who equalised with a fast-paced move. De Silvestri ran down the right flank and cut back low for Mauri to turn into the far bottom corner with the inside of his left foot, leaving Dida stranded. That was the first goal the Biancocelesti have scored in the first half this season.
De Silvestri had another great assist for Rocchi's header that Dida plucked out from under the bar and then Seedorf blasted a free kick over from a promising position.
Muslera tackled Gilardino again and this time the referee pointed to the spot for the penalty. Mauri slipped and Gila pounced on the loose ball as the goalkeeper came sliding into the back of his ankle. Kaka drilled to Muslera's left to restore Milan's advantage.
After the break Muslera parried a Gilardino shot from Andrea Pirlo's inspired pass, but the former Parma man handled the ball.
The Rossoneri went 3-1 up with Kaka's classy finish. Seedorf's cross from the left was put back in by Pirlo for Kaka to shake off Guglielmo Stendardo and nutmeg the goalkeeper at the near post.
Gilardino ran on to a Pirlo through ball and Cribari came sliding in on the edge of the area, but the referee perhaps harshly booked the Milan striker for simulation.
Mauri curled a free kick over and Kaka went on a slalom in the area, but Cribari blocked the ball with his hip and elbow in a sliding tackle.
Gilardino finally scored his first goal of the season in all competition, ending a drought that had weighed heavy on his shoulders. Kaka picked up the ball in midfield and went towards the centre, but placed a slide-rule pass in for Gilardino's angled drive. The entire squad went to hug Gila and celebrate this important goal for the striker - his first since April in Serie A.
It was almost five moments later, as Seedorf sprung the offside trap by combining with Kaka and Muslera got a hand to it, enough to allow Luciano Zauri to clear off the line.
Gilardino nearly got his second as well with a similar move created by Ambrosini's cross-field pass, but the lob took a deflection off Muslera's arm to whistle wide.
Soon after, Gilardino proved his confidence is most definitely back with a cracking goal. Seedorf chipped the ball over the defence for Ambrosini's headed assist and Gila's powerful right-foot volley under the bar silenced the Olimpico.
Lazio tried to make the scoreline a little more dignified, but Dida controlled Igli Tare and Pandev headers, while De Silvestri struck the side-netting.