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Atalanta 0, Milan 2: Not on My Watch

Everyone expected this to be a tough game going into this match, and Atalanta delivered. But in the end, the team that took first place in Serie A last season defeated the team that  took first place in Serie B last season. In doing so, Milan handed Atalanta only their third defeat of the season, but kept all three points for themselves to stay at the top of the table heading into the derby next week.

Celebrating Boateng's match winner

This match was Abbiati’s 250th Serie A match, and he was handed the captain’s armband in honor of this occasion. He did well, coming up for a few big saves, and keeping the clean sheet, too. Atalanta wants a goal? Not on my watch. Congratulations, Abbiati, you loveable monster!

The game started out fairly fast paced, but it was clear early on that it would be a very physical affair. In all, there were 6 yellow cards handed out. Milan saw Boateng cautioned in the 18th for a foul on Carmona, and then Bonera in the 27th for a dumb foul also on Carmona. Whereas Atalanta saw Carmon cautioned for a foul on Ibra in the 31st, Manfredini for a very late tackle on Robinho in the 74th, Cigarini got his for a foul on Nocerino in the 80th, and German Denis, unable to get on the scoreboard, apparently decided to earn his spot in the stats with a foul in the 90th+1.

Goal. Cool as you like. Any questions?

Speaking of the scoreboard, it was in the 22nd that Milan opened up the scoring. Our own little Pato was taken out in the box by Manfredini from behind, which earned a penalty kick. Ibra took the penalty well to put Milan up 1-0. This tied him with German Denis in league goals this season. It also tied him with Sheva’s record for consecutive games in which goals were scored. So he now has 6 goals in 6 consecutive league games to match Sheva’s record. Ibracadabra indeed.

The second goal involved some Ibra magic, too. He put a beautiful cross into the box for the speeding locomotive that was Kevin Prince Boateng for a fantastic goal that Atalanta was never going to be able to stop. Milan 2, Atalanta 0. Ibra had a couple of other great shots, too, including one in the 87th that forced Consigli into a nice save. And Robinho hit the crossbar just before that, looking very dangerous himself.

A scoring Boateng is a happy Boateng

Mexes had a fantastic game while Nesta was rested. His positioning was great, even if he did have a couple of tackles that were worrisome. 90 minutes, no cards, and a number of very important clearances. Combined with Silva, who had a couple of stellar clearances, they made sure Abbiati didn’t have much to do on his special day. Very reassuring.

Max Patrick, the commentator I listened to compared Denis to a “tank.” But he said if he was a tank, the “soldiers in the trenches” were our midfield of Boateng, van Bommel, and Nocerino. And truly they were. You know it’s a tough game when van Bommel takes more of a beating than he gives. Urby played decently, too, for a full 90 minutes. He had a nice shot in the 8th that went straight to Consigli, and would have had an assist, too.

Mexes: "Not on my watch!"

We had some great chances. Particularly Pato’s header from an Urby cross in the 52nd that just hit the post. I was thinking that Pato is like when you ask for M&M’s, the candy coated small milk chocolate pieces, but you are given fine Italian chocolates instead. He is likely to make some poor plays here and there, but then he will dazzle you the next several times with skill that is incredible. Much like the M&M’s that won’t melt in  your hand and are a manageable size, but don’t give you much pleasure, in comparison to the Italian chocolates which may melt in your hands, but will wow your tastebuds and give you lasting enjoyment. Needless to say, Allegri apparently doesn’t care for chocolate at all and subbed him off for Robinho in the 67th.

Allegri perhaps asking why Rizzoli didn't give Schelotto a card for letting Ibra slap him?

That substitution was Allegri’s only substitution, which was curious with the derby next week, it seems he would want to be more careful. But still, he was very careful in his lineup, and once again has a pile of injuries to deal with, plus a week for everyone to recuperate, so I guess it is forgivable.

At the final whistle, Milan had maintained 59% possession and given Atalanta their first home defeat of the season. In a game which saw Milan with 19 fouls and Atalanta with 17 fouls, it’s amazing there were no serious injuries. Although everyone certainly tried their best. Atlanta were probably hopeful for a draw at best, but Milan answered back with a resounding “Not on my watch.”


Next match is the Derby della Madonnina
Milan vs. Inter
Sunday January 15, 2012 20:45 CET or 2:45pm EST



This post inspired by the music of Muse’s “Origins of Symmetry” Album