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Fiorentina 0-Milan 0: Purple Frustration

It’s hard to feel good about a match where your team maintained nearly 70% possession and took 12 shots, 4 on goal, but still left with nothing on the scoreboard and only one point. Even harder knowing you are going into a big Champions League match where you need every advantage you can get, psychologically especially. And still worse when you think of what could have been.


The battle of Mr. X... or something

What can I say? Milan came out strong enough. In the 13th was a beautiful link up from Robinho to Ibra for a sweet backheel, and Seedorf couldn’t finish it in front of goal.  In the 18th, Gilardino tried to run in on goal, but he forgot about the amazing, invincible Thiago Silva, who cleanly outpaced and dispossessed him, no questions asked, no drama.

The one everyone will be talking about, though, was in the 19th, where Seedorf scored a goal that was called back for offside. Only with the advantage of replays, it was clear that he wasn’t. And it wouldn’t have stung so bad had the other linesmen calls been spot on, but it was not really a good night for these guys. Or for us. What could have been…

Offside? He can't even run that fast anymore.

And basically, that sums up the first half. We had good possession, we were getting chances, and were unable to take advantage of them or maybe we got a bit unlucky. Aquilani and Nocerino continue to do well in the midfield, and our beloved captain played well, also. We certainly did well enough not allowing Fiorentina to attack very much.

The second half started with the substitution of Santiago Silva for Cerci, which surprised me, as Cerci had been Fiorentina’s most dangerous player in the half. Milan took a number of shots that were all wide or high until the 62nd, which saw Behrami earn himself a yellow card for a tackle on Abate. Hey, Behrami - no one messes with my Abate. I’m just saying.

The 63rd saw Kharja come on for Munari, and with 2 pairs of fresh legs, this is where Fiorentina started to awake and look a little more dangerous. But still, no one could convert. Finally, in the 70th, Pato came on for Robinho, a sub that seemed at least 10 minutes too late judging by the tired legs on the pitch and Robinho’s lack of visibility after the half. And then in the 73rd, Emanuelson came on for an exhausted Seedorf, a substitution that was made about 30 minutes too late, if you ask me.

The one thing that stopped Pato from scoring (besides the post)

Pato came on shooting, but his shots were deflected or saved, one after another. One, in the 77th, just kissed the goalpost and came right back out for Emanuelson, who had a great shot at point blank range, only Boruc stood firm between him and the goal, in what were two of our best chances after the Seedorf goal in the entire match. So Boruc passed that test, and we failed to take advantage onee again.

The 80th saw a scary moment for Thiago Silva, when his chest was stomped on and it looked awful, but of course, being Thiago Silva, he got back up and straight back onto the pitch. Let’s hope there is no lasting injury, as we need our Brazilian defender. Aquilani then earned his place in the ref’s report with a yellow card in the 83rd for a silly foul on Kharja.

In the 85th, Abbiati saved a nice header from Santiago Silva, Abbiati was solid when called upon, but Fiorentina honestly didn’t trouble him as much as Milan troubled Boruc. In fact, Pato began terrorizing him from the moment he came onto the pitch, and continued to the end. In the 86th, he had a header saved and then in the 90th another great saved. Milan won a free kick when Pato was triple teamed and brought down, which Ibra took. Robbed of the 10 meters he should have had between himself and the wall, he took the shot anyway and had it cleared away just before the final whistle.

Not even the most Ibratastic of players could break the stalemate

Sigh… What could have been? It’s hard to think. I adore Allegri but randomly, his timing of substitutions makes me crazy. When Seedorf plays, even if it seems he is making things happen, the team plays very differently based on his position and pace than they do when we have someone else in that spot. And they typically play better without him, honestly. Also, he becomes a liability past 40-45 minutes. I admire him so much, and longingly remember what he used to be, but it may be time to put him in the super sub role that so many have been prescribing him for so long.

But there are always things to fix in hindsight. And it’s easy to look back with regret on 3 missed points and consider what a difference ref calls can make in a single match sometimes. However, at the end of the day, we didn’t put it away when we could have, against all adds. It is frustrating. Without 3 of their best players, la Viola frustrated us and snatched a point for themselves, while leaving us short of two points we certainly deserved but didn’t quite earn. That’s exactly the effect that a new coach, especially one like Delio Rossi can have on a team. His substitutions were brilliant, making a huge impact in the second half, not just with fresh legs but also tactically. And in the end, it wasn’t really the ref calls so much, but players on the pitch that led to our purple frustration.

This post inspired by the music of Elaine’s Punk mix, including Black Flag, Rancid, Suicidal Tendencies, The Vandals, The Dead Kennedys, etc.