Mario Balotelli scores free kick, leads AC Milan past Chivas Guadalajara

HOUSTON (AP) — Mario Balotelli bent in a free kick from long range in AC Milan's 3-0 victory over Mexico's Chivas Guadalajara in a rough exhibition match Wednesday night.

M'baye Niang won a cross inside the box against two Chivas defenders and his left-footed finish gave AC Milan a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. Balotelli's goal in the 38th minute was his third direct kick of the first half. An unmarked Giampaolo Pazzini buried a Michael Essien cross in the 72nd minute.

AC Milan had been outscored 10-1 in the last two weeks during the International Champions Cup.

Chivas' Fernando Arce had a close range shot hit off the crossbar in the second minute. His chip from distance in the 13th needed a lunging save by goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

The match was marred by poor field conditions at NRG Stadium. The temporary grass and sand placed on top of the artificial surface created many unpredictable bounces.

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