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Milan 4, Parma 1: The Nocerino Show

In my preview post, I suggested that Ibrahimovic would get the hat trick in this match to follow Kevin Prince Boateng’s performance on the weekend. But I was wrong. While Ibra did score, it was Nocerino’s hat trick that elevated Milan to 5th on the table, 2 points shy of leaders Juventus. Benvenuto al Milan, Nocerino!


This game was not one of Milan’s stellar performances. But it wasn’t one of the worst, either. It was the kind of game that won us the league last year, with everyone working together to find the three points. It was also nice to see all of the tributes to Marco “Sic” Simoncelli by the Milan fans. Sad that tragedy brings people even closer together, but since he was supposed to have attended this match, I cannot imagine a better way to honor his memory.

The first half was not overly impressive, besides Nocerino’s first two goals both scored within two minutes. Ibra had a few of chances, Giovinco had a couple of chances, basically all of the usual suspects. In the 21st, Boateng had a foul on Gobbi that he was lucky not to be carded for. But in the 30th minute, something magical (but not necessarily pretty) happened. Abate crossed it in to Ibra who knocked it to Nocerino, who tapped it forward and then ran and kicked it past Mirante for the goal. 1-0 Milan.

Less than two minutes later, Nocerino took a shot from the edge of the box that truly was beautiful, it sailed past Mirante’s grasping hand into the top left corner for a great goal. 2-0 Milan. 2-0 Nocerino, too. He scored his first against his former club Palermo, and I’m guessing he got a taste for his opponents’ blood after that. Speaking of opponent’s blood, in the 39th, the amazing Thiago Silva had a fantastic block, sacrificing his body to deny our opponent. He was his usual beastly self tonight, and really stepped it up coming off of injury and going without Nesta.

Not on my watch!

Nocerino also left his mark on the game starting in the second half by earning himself a yellow card on a light foul, I worried that it would jinx his mojo. In the 54th, Bonera made a great double clearance. I’m sorry to say, but I think he may have shrugged off his blunderific ways for this season, as he has now had three solid games when he has played. Oh, well, there’s always Antonini to fear.

Kevin Prince Boateng got a yellow in the 57th minute, he was kind of mixing it up tonight anyway. The substitution of Biabiany for Valiani in the 55th was gamechanging, as Biabiany impacted the game right away with both pace and shots on goal. But it was Aquilani who seemed to want a piece of Mirante, forcing saves in the 56th with a great header and again with a shot from distance in the 60th. Giovinco tried his hand a couple of times, and both Boateng and Ibra had shots either saved or deflected in the 62nd and 65th respectively.

Biabiany put Abbiati to work in the 67th and 69th, even if the latter was whistled for offside. In the 70th, Abate crossed it in, with a touch by Ibra, giving it to Cassano for a great opportunity, but his shot was saved. Emanuelson came on for Aquilani in the 72nd, Biabiany forced another save, and then Ibra ran in, beating Fletscher to score his second goal on the season. 3-0 Milan. Perhaps fearing that he, too, would try for the hat trick, Allegri rewarded Ibra’s goal by pulling him off to make way for Robinho.

Giovinco fired off another warning shot in the 75th, then Robinho had a one on one with Mirante saved. In the 78th, a defensive error by Taiwo led to Giovinco’s goal, assisted by Biabiany. 3-1 Milan. Immediately following this, Allegri moved Bonera over to right back, pulled off Abate, and put Mexes in to get a few minutes at center back.

Maybe it was having been taken down with no call in the box, but Nocerino was not happy to let the scoreline end at 3-1. First, Robinho was denied by Mirante on another one on one in the 86th. But then, in the 90th +1, Nocerino headed his fourth goal of the season in on an assist by Cassano. Hat trick, Nocerino. Exclamation point Milan. 4-1, Milan.


"Here's the special hat trick handshake..."

Again, it was not a terrible performance. We had 62% possession and 14 shots, with 8 on goal. The fact that Bonera is proving himself to be reliable is a great sign. Ambrosini came back from a poor return on Sunday to have a decent performance tonight. In fact, our whole midfield was pretty solid. Ibra did well and got an overdue goal. Cassano was looking a little tired, it’s a shame we can’t give him a rest, he has done so much already this season. Abate… it’s amazing to watch him improve every game, with his accuracy in crossing and ability to know when to get forward getting better every time. Abbiati was great again, saving all but the one, which was a one on one, so very understandable.

But while this decent team performance gave me a little more confidence, the scoreboard tells the story of tonight’s superhero. The Atomic Ant? No, it was our humble Nocerino who stole the show and won the match. And if this new trend of taking turns scoring hat tricks continues, we will be well on our way to another title. Grazie, Nocerino!


This post inspired by the music of the Silversun Pickups