Milan 2, Juve 1: What We Will Do For a Trophy

So Milan picked up another Berlusconi Trophy today. And if the curse is to be believed, Juventus will now win the Scudetto. But the winner of the traditional preseason match has gone on to win the Scudetto 3 times before. And if Juve continue to play like they did today, I have no doubts we will win back to back league titles and snub the curse for a 4th time. But if Milan continue to pick up injuries like today, it will be impossible to break that curse.

The difference between Thursday’s TIM Trophy match vs. Juve and today was obvious: Allegri dropped off the youth squad back at their training grounds, gave them some juice and cookies and thanked them for their help. Despite still missing our South American contingency and Ibra to his ankle injury, Allegri fielded a atrong first team lineup. I think it was obvious why these guys make the big bucks.

Another difference was a reversal of the scoreline. With Cassano coming out firing on all cylinders and playing yet another great match, it was actually a Kevin Prince Boateng volley on a beautiful cross by Abate in the 9th minute that put Milan up. This was followed by a knock to Boateng’s knee that caused him to be subbed off as a precaution in the 30th minute. All I know, is this one better be just a precaution. Flamini came on in his place and was not nearly as exciting.

But before the sub, Juve’s Arturo Vidal got a handball call which saw Milan awarded a free kick. So in the 23rd minute, Seedorf, deciding to have one of his turn-the-clock-back performances on this day, took an exquisite free kick over the wall and into the corner of the net next to a helpless Buffon . Milan 2, Juve 0.

Heroes of the day

Milan were happy to settle in and play a little catenaccio, settling into a comfortable rhythm of possession until the half. In the 43rd, Matri was subbed off and replaced by Del Piero, as Matri had met our captain, Ambrosini earlier in the match, and even after treatment to his ankle, he was not able to continue.

There were still some nice chances from both sides. Marchisio’s beautiful shot had Abbiati beaten, but not the post. Both Abbiati and Buffon looked up for any of the challenges, though.

The second half was almost immediately sobering as Taiwo, who had played very well up until that point, collided with Krasic into the signage at the end of the pitch. He wasn’t even on the field, and he had to be stretchered off. Early guesses estimate that he will be out up to 6 weeks. At least at this position, we had Zambrotta available, who was subbed on in the 48th and played a respectable half.

Next up saw a Pirlo shot on goal. I have to guess that his heart is still red and black, as it didn’t have the fire or the intensity of his shots for us, and Abbiati comfortably saved it. You don’t really want to score on us, do you, Pirlo? Those beautiful assists are just a little passive aggressive expression against us, right? After a Pasquato for Vidal substitution, there was a bit of a change in both momentum and fortune.

Gattuso: "Hey, this guy's wearing the wrong kit! He needs to change!"

For one thing, in the 55th, Chiellini’s titanium head met Nesta’s after he headed a ball away in the box. Which is a battle few have ever won, and our Nesta went immediately off with some blood and an apparent concussion. And while he was still being treated on the bench and Ambro trying to fill in for him, a beautiful sequence unfolded - well, beautiful if you are a Juve fan. Pirlo to Del Piero to the amazing Vucinic, who just slipped through to beat Abbiati one on one due to our deficiency at the back. So in the 58th, it became Milan 2, Juve 1.

The 17 year-old Rodrigo Ely came on for Nesta, and with his performances to date having left me 50/50, either impressive or not so much, it seemed that our losing Nesta was the blood that got the Juve sharks circling our box. Or maybe it was our overall blatant use of 17 year-olds, as the young Kingsley Boateng replaced Gattuso in the 65th. But given another very exciting performance by “the other Boateng,” I do believe it was our defense. Except for our grade “A” defenders, Abate & Abbiati, who both had amazing games, of course. Abate had a particularly great save in the 79th, one of many, and of course had provided the cross for Prince’s goal.

Juve had a strong finish, with some chances, but Milan held out despite our weakness at the back. There were a few more subs before the end due to exhaustion or frustration, but in the end, the score from the 58th minute held and Milan took home their 9th Berlusconi trophy vs. Juve, their 12th over all. And also 3 injured players. What some people will do for a trophy.

And speaking of trophies, if you were lucky enough to see it, Milan celebrated their Supercoppa win at home in style before this match. So if the curse of the Trofeo Berlusconi holds true, at least we’ll always have Beijing.

Milan sure know how to celebrate

This post inspired by the music of U2’s “War” album.

Milan 2, Juve 1: What We Will Do For a Trophy Milan 2, Juve 1: What We Will Do For a Trophy Reviewed by Elaine on 6:16 PM Rating: 5
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