Supercoppa Milan 2, Inter 1: Snake Soup

You know that story about putting frogs in a pot of water and slowly raising the temperature until it boils, at which point they realize it is too late to jump out and they get cooked? Well Milan used that concept to make some snake soup tonight in Beijing, winning the Supercoppa for a record 6th time.

The recipe for snake soup starts like this: Put Inter on the pitch in a giant cauldron (or Bird’s Nest, whatever you’ve got handy.) Fill the cauldron to the brim with over 80,000 passionate fans. It helps if approximately 50,000 of them are Milan fans. Turn the Devils on low, say for the first 45 minutes or so. In this case, add stifling, almost palpable heat and humidity for good measure. In fact, both teams struggled with the conditions so much that they looked like they were playing under water. But Milan played horribly and looked like they were drowning the whole first half. Robinho really played the part by missing a sitter in the 31st, but then again, that may have been too obvious. It was Ibra’s missed header after Boateng got tangled up in the box that was unusual. Then, for ultimate effect, add a Sneijder goal in the 21st and let Abbiati get a hand on it. 1-0 Inter. Your soup is nearly to boiling, and the snakes don’t suspect a thing. They think they’re winning.

Throughout the 90 minutes, add some spices. Like the warning van Bommel got from the ref at the 2 minute mark for a nasty tackle. Or Gattuso’s multiple fouls in which he was lucky to only get one yellow for, even if he conceded a dangerous free kick just outside of the box, too. Stir in yellows by Zambrotta, Ambrosini, and Boateng for extra flavor. But words cannot describe the tension. There is a reason crime rates go up in the summer, especially in the humidity. Perhaps we are lucky no one died in the making of this soup. Although Nesta and Silva looked like they might be willing to kill some snakes prematurely when Silva was kicked/stepped on with the ball between his legs. Ouch. I’m a girl and that made me cringe. Or when Seedorf’s trailing leg caught Stankovic in the face. Ooops! Maybe you should have sat out with that knee injury after all. Or the ever angry little Dutchman in Sneijder, who was booked for dissent after Ibra’s goal, claiming a push. Personally, if I was Rizzoli, I would have had a hard time not booking him sooner, he is always complaining about something. Which is too bad, he’d be a really brilliant player if he would just shut up and play.

So we are near boiling, we’ve added our spices. This is when things get fun. Ibra gives himself a chance in the 54th by tapping the ball back and then running forward for the shot from the pass, but he ran straight into Walter Samuel, and not much gets passed him. However, 7 minutes later, Seedorf chipped a nice ball into the empty box for an easy diving header for the big Swede. Equalizer. This is when the snakes would like to escape the pot, but it’s too late. So Allegri subs Pato in to turn up the heat. At which point Gasperini, desperate to save his snakes, subs Alvarez off for Faraoni. But it’s too late. Abate sends a perfect ball up to Pato, whose shot comes off the post, but one Kevin Prince Boateng is there with the follow through, which he celebrates with a lovely roundhouse kick for the incredible Chinese fans. Milan 2, Inter 1.

There were more chances and more subs: Pazzini on for Stankovic in the 74th, Ambrosini on for Gattuso in the 75th, Emanuelson on for Kevin Prince Boateng in the 81st, as well as Obi out for Castaignos. The soup was nearly done, but it needed one more ingredient. That ingredient came in the 4th minute of stoppage time when Eto’o’s goal was called off for offside. Soup’s on!! (Is it wrong to laugh at someone else’s misfortune this hard?) It was absolutely the perfect finish, but to be fair, there were actually four Inter players offside when the ball was passed, so it’s not like the call can be contested.

Soup analogy aside, Milan were actually frighteningly poor in the first half. And I’m not even sure if it was Gasperini’s odd 3-5-1-1 formation stopping things up in the midfield. We just looked that bad. I’m thinking that the boys must have been given some magical Chinese remedy at the half, because it was scary up until that point. One blatant exception was a tremendous performance by Abate. He played 90 minutes like there was no tomorrow. He was strong on defense, but also did well getting forward. And what continues to impress me is his adaptability within the match. Like today, Obi was giving him some trouble, but Abate learned with each mistake until he effectively shut him down.

Speaking of Obi, he was great for Inter today. It’s not as though they just rolled over, they fought hard throughout the game, but were especially brilliant the first half. Alvarez was very good, but not as impressive as the short stint by Castaignos. Some young talent that will need to be watched out for in future derbies.

A sea of red in Beijing, as tweeted from the stadium

But for tonight, there are no more worries. This beautiful trophy is safe in the hands of the forces of good, who have triumphed over the forces of evil for the third time in less than a year. The Chinese fans must be delirious, their passion was intoxicating. Twelfth man does not even begin to describe the atmosphere in the stadium. It is amazing to see the love worldwide for our beautiful Milan. But for now, some dinner. I think I will have to try me some snake. I hear it tastes like chicken.

This post was inspired by Elaine’s Milan Mix, including Queen’s “We are the Champions”
Supercoppa Milan 2, Inter 1: Snake Soup Supercoppa Milan 2, Inter 1: Snake Soup Reviewed by Elaine on 8:36 AM Rating: 5
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