Cesena 1, Milan 3: For Samuele and Alice

At Inter’s match Friday night poor little Filippo held up a sign that said “Inter, could you win? Otherwise they’ll make fun of me at school.” Inter still lost, but apologized to the boy with his own jersey & a trip to their training. But they couldn’t give him what he really wanted: a win. In answer to the boy’s plea, little Samuele and Alice held up their own banner at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi in Cesena. It read “Milan, keep winning, so we can make fun of Filippo at school.” Unlike Inter, Milan listen to their young fans. So this one was for Samuele & Alice.

This was the debut of Inter’s benched reject, Sulley Muntari. And in the 1st minute, he let  everyone know that he was playing for Samuele and Alice now, with a shot that unfortunately went over the bar. Then another in the 5th that went just wide.

In the 9th & 10th minutes there was a flurry of shots: Urby had a beautiful strike that forced Antonioli to punch it over the bar to save it. Silva had a nice shot and Ambrosini got in 1 v. 1 with Antonioli right in the middle of the box, only to see the keeper make a great point blank save. There were also a couple of great crosses sent straight across goal early on in the half, but Maxi Lopez was not able to reach them in time.

He can do what you can't, Inter: Score. And win.

In the 18th, a desperate Benalouane came in with a scissors like foul on Mesbah to earn himself a yellow card. And yet Mesbah was as cool as you like, he didn’t lose his temper at all. Muntari did show a bit of his Inter past with a clumsy foul that got him a yellow in the 21st, too. But he kept playing for Samuele & Alice with a nice cross into Robinho, who tried to head it in but it was just wide. Then in the 29th, on the rebound from a great Silva shot, Muntari scored the first goal of the match to seal his debut with class. 0-1 Milan. Welcome Sulley!!

Not even 2 minutes later, Urby decided it was his turn, and he scored with his magic left foot on an assist from Robinho. 0-2 Milan. And although Iaquinta had a great shot 2 minutes after that, Abbiati tipped it over the bar to deny him. Looks like Samuele and Alice will get their wish.

A long overdue goal for you, Urby!!

The second half saw tired legs, Bonera, and some players maybe not entirely fit give Cesena a lot more chances. Like the one in the 45th minute where Mutu wasted a 1 v. 1 situation with Abbiati by heading it over the bar. Or when Muntari made a mistake to turn the ball over to Santana that saw Cesena bumble another big chance.

In the 52nd, Allegri finally brought van Bommel on for Ambrosini, van Bommel had been warming up nearly the entire first half, so let’s hope there are no injury concerns and that it was just precautionary.

Also precautionary was Robinho’s goal in the 55th. 0-3 Milan. A goal just in case, after Robinho had been denied so many great chances in the first half. And a goal that Robinho, in a moment of pure class, dedicated to Zambrotta, the birthday boy. Meanwhile, Mutu realized he was supposed to score or something, so he got called for offside and then in the 60th, attempting a Maradona “Hand of God” reprise, received a yellow card for the handball.

Robinho dedicated his 3rd goal of the week to B-day boy Zambrotta.

But with Milan being more lackadaisical on both offense and defense, and giving Cesena enough chances, eventually one of them was going to go in. (I blame Bonera.) In the 65th, Pudil, who recently joined Cesena on loan, destroyed’ Milan’s hopes of a clean sheet with his goal. Cesena 1, Milan 3.

Colucci seemed to be making it his personal mission in life to take out Urby, one hack at a time. But in the 67th, the elbow to the face was a bit too much, and Colucci got the yellow card. In the 71st, though, Arrigoni wisely subbed him off for Guana before he put Urby on the injury list, too. (Urby is the only player who hasn’t missed a game due to injury this year, if I’m not mistaken.) And true to form, in the 77th, Allegri pulled off Robinho for El Shaarawy. (Can’t make those subs too early, you might actually avoid some injuries or win by a larger margin!!)

El Shaarawy brought his A game, even if only for 25 minutes.

Cesena answered this substitution with a brilliant Iaquinta free kick that went just over the crossbar. And El Shaarawy answered back with an incredible break through the Cesena defense & run up on goal that left him to shoot 1 v. 1 with Antonioli, who answered with a fantastic point blank save on il Faraone. Too bad, that would have been pretty to see that back line schooled by a 19 year-old.

Iaquinta had another good shot in the 83rd forcing another great Abbiati saved. Then Allegri insultingly subbed Pippo on for Maxi Lopez in the 90th +1 for a 2 ½ minute appearance. And the match ended after El Shaarawy had one last shot blocked. Imagine what he could have done with more time? Or Pippo, for that matter. Oh, well. Allegri was in his angry mode. With a name like Allegri, I didn’t know he even had one.

Pippo was on the pitch for less than 3 minutes and still classed it up.

Milan had this game wrapped up early, but played fairly poorly in the second half, conceding way too many chances We may have kept 64% possession, but we let Cesena get 14 shots off, even if only 3 were on goal. Milan had 17 shots, with 7 of them on goal, which is an excellent showing, and the 3 goals to show for it also gave us the 3 points. But we cannot afford to be lax against other opponents, especially Juve this next week. We were able to take the lead on them again, if only by one point, but they still have that game in hand. So we need our best performance ever on Saturday to take control of first place again.

But the most important thing was the 3 points for Samuele and Alice. Now they can go to school and tell Filippo what it’s like to have a team who can answer your pleas. A team like Milan, who manages to grab the 3 points even with a poor second half display and an angry coach. Maybe Galliani won’t call their family and invite them to training and have Ambrosini hand them personalized jerseys like the treatment Filippo got from Moratti. But even better than that pathetic publicity stunt, they can go to school with their heads held high and not only be proud to be Milan fans, but also make fun of the poor, misguided Filippo. For Samuele and Alice.

Our next match is
Milan vs. Juventus
Saturday, February 25 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

This post inspired by the music of AC/DC

Cesena 1, Milan 3: For Samuele and Alice Cesena 1, Milan 3: For Samuele and Alice Reviewed by Elaine on 9:13 AM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.