Milan 3, Olimpia 1: Are You In?

Most preseason friendlies are a little more relaxed, a time to give the coaches a chance to try new players and formations. But given the immense changes and general feelings of mistrust amongst Milan this summer, it seems like our boys are out to prove themselves to us before the season even begins. In fact, at the end of an interview with Nocerino the other day, he looked straight into the camera and said this to the fans: We are Milan, we feel part of Milan, and we are honoured to be Milan – but we need you, we want you at the San Siro. We’ll be waiting for you.” And then he backed it up with 2 goals today for emphasis. Are you in?

Robinho and Nocerino are in. 100%.

So our players wanted to prove themselves, and in the first half, they truly did. Despite the birthday boy (Antonini)’s missed opportunity in the opening minutes where he displayed that fabulous Milan youth talent Milan has coveted and nurtured for so long, others kept the Olimpia keeper, Valladaers, quite busy. The 10th minute saw Robinho’s shot saved, then El Shaarawy, with lightning reflexes also immediately tested the keeper. It was a test he passed… this time. Then in the 13th, as predicted by our own fsun, Robinho got in the way of a great Nocerino shot. Since that happened as predicted, apparently that will be Robinho’s newest trick this season, so watch out.

Olimpia got a couple of easy shots off in the first 15 minutes, too, but they were easily gathered by Amelia, who probably could have been writing letters home, that’s how little he had to do on the afternoon. But the true fireworks came in the 24th, when Robinho took a shot from distance that bobbled a bit, but went in clean and easy. 1-0 Milan.

Hugs all around

The nightmares were only beginning for the Olimpia defense, though, as Robinho, Nocerino, and El Shaarawy were constantly being set up by Cassano and looking incredibly dangerous. (The pitch was looking a little dangerous, too, with the synthetic surface causing many to slip.) In fact, in the 36th, Cassano sent it to Robinho to Nocerino for Nocerino’s first goal of the game. 2-0 Milan.

In the 40th saw another great play strung together from Abate to Cassano to Nocerino, and the keeper saved it, but appeared to be over the line. Had it been a competitive match, Galliani would have had that picture on his phone. There was another one earlier, too, that was a little bit tighter call, but did seem to cross the line. Can you imagine it could have been 5-1? And I believe that would have been 4 goals for Nocerino. Can’t believe people who don’t rate him, he’s simply amazing. (I think it was because he was wearing Gattuso’s jersey now!) Anyway, it was just a friendly, so no big deal.

Montolivo decided to earn a yellow in the 41st, probably because he was frustrated with the English commentator who kept calling him “Montolivio.” But he wasn’t great on the afternoon anyway, let’s just hope it was an off day. Nocerino slotted in his 2nd nice and easy by being in the right place at the right time on a cross by…. Abate!! 3-0 Milan. Their time together on the national team is already paying off! (Did I mention Abate got an assist already?) The half finished with a shot from Caetano that finally gave Amelia something to do, and he did it well.

Constant and Montolivo together having a tough time stopping Olimpia

After such a strong first half, it seemed like everyone really relaxed. Maybe they were reminded that it was a friendly, and that they’ve got another one in 4 days against Real Madrid. Allegri sent Mesbah and De Sciglio on for Antonini and Abate respectively, with De Sciglio being more impressive. Then Montolivo went off for Cristante, who was instantly more visible and active.

In the 63rd, Bonera made a beautiful cross to Cassano, and Cassano’s resulting shot went just wide. I mention this because as many of you know, I don’t have a lot of faith in our vice-vice captain, so I promise to mention it when he does things that are really good. It’s called positive reinforcement, and he specifically will need tons of it this season to give us more performances like we saw vs. Barca last season. Well, done Bonera!

The rest of the substitutions were Amelia, Constant, Bonera, and Robinho off in the 65th, with Pazzagli, Valoti, Iotti, and Urby replacing them. Then Ambrosini came on for Cassano in the 76th and Prosenik came on for El Shaarawy in the 80th.

Completing the Brazilian dominance over Honduras today

Both teams traded a few shots in the second half, but the pace was much slower over all. Pazzagli probably had as much or more to do than Amelia, and he only played 25 minutes. And unfortunately, it was him that was beaten in the 72nd by Escalante’s goal, 3-1 Milan.

My stream was terrible, my connection worse, so forgive if you saw something different,  but these are a couple of observations that I made with the blurry ants running around on a greenish screen: Acerbi was very confident in the first half. I lost track of him in the 2nd half, which is not necessarily good, but it’s also not bad. Very refreshing to see him step it up. Robinho had a great game. Maybe it was because Brazil had also beaten Honduras in the Olympics earlier, but he was fantastic. Cassano behind the strikers… he was terrorizing to the Olimpia defense in setting up practically every shot on goal. But I miss him scoring, too, and I love him as a seconda punta. But it was an excellent thing for Allegri to try, now he’s got another weapon in our relatively empty trequartista case.

This summer has been so very emotional. So many have been concerned about the future of the club. Many have pointed fingers and criticized others for not being “true fans,” which is just silly. But I think it has mainly been the long-term future that people have questioned, and rightly so. It is fine to question the management’s decisions, it doesn’t make you any less of a fan. We all want the club to be the best. I cannot speak for everyone, but I have always stood behind our boys, yes, even Bonera, and I always will. If Berlusconi sells everyone and replaces them with 23 Oompa Loompas, so long as they are wearing the Milan jersey, I’m in. But luckily, these friendlies have shown us that our players are equally committed to the jersey and they want our support. So even if nothing changes between now and the end of the mercato, I say we rally behind our boys. They deserve it. Are you in?

This post inspired by the music of the Cult

Our next friendly is
AC Milan vs. Real Madrid
Wednesday, August 8th • 8:00 pm EDT
Yankee Stadium, New York, NY, U.S.A.

Milan 3, Olimpia 1: Are You In? Milan 3, Olimpia 1: Are You In? Reviewed by Elaine on 4:45 PM Rating: 5
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