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Champions League - Málaga 1, Milan 0: Spanish Lessons

I have studied several languages. Spanish, oddly, is not one of them, despite the fact that my father is a Spanish Teacher. But tonight I felt like I got schooled in the Spanish… schooled by a bunch of Los Boquerones (the anchovies.) I can’t even imagine how our boys must feel, as it seemed like they put forward a valiant effort, only to fail yet again. Or how Allegri must feel, knowing everyone in their right mind wants him gone, yet the people in charge of making that decision are no longer in the category with the sane. One thing is for sure, Spanish lessons hurt. Bad.

Do anchovies bite? Because this hurt.

Málaga started in on us right away, but then there were good stretches of the match that I thought that Milan’s 356 matches in European competitions compared to Málaga’s 14 matches were going to give us the edge we needed. Maybe kind of like a guardian angel or something. With all we have going on at the club right now, we need any help we can get.

So in the 7th minute, Montolivo took a nice shot that was saved. But De Michelis tried to answer right back at the other end. No problem, Amelia was on it. Then Pazzini threatened for us, then a minute later, he took a free kick after being fouled, but it was wide. Montolivo then earned his signature yellow card for a very rash challenge (the usual cause of his cautions.) I don’t know if someone told him that if he earns one card per game he could win a prize, but when he plays like that, his prize of a game’s suspension sounds kind of good to me.

So many "almosts"

We found out how tough Acerbi is in the 19th minute, as he knocked heads with De Michelis while clearing a ball. El Shaarawy, not to be upstaged, took a direct ball to the face a few minutes later, and only had to go off because he was bleeding, then came right back on. He followed that up in the 26th with an "almost" on a nice cross in from De Sciglio. There would be too many “almosts” again tonight. Like five minutes later on a great pass from Urby, il Faraone would hit it just a hair wide.

In the 38th, Amelia was called upon to make a big save, and he delivered. Shortly thereafter, Eliseu performed his Hollywood audition for the ref when Ambrosini gave his shirt a tiny tug, but he didn’t get the part. The one who should have gotten the part of the big Hollywood action star was Bonera. In the 40th, he had an amazing clearance on an Isco shot, and he was actually great all night. My hero.

In the 43rd, Constant’s shoving of Jésus Gamez earned him a yellow, and the ref awarded Málaga a very soft penalty for it, too. It also earned Mexes a yellow for protesting the call. Great. I mostly covered my eyes as Joaquin stepped up to take the shot, but he hit the top of the crossbar! Maybe we did have guardian angels after all.

De Sciglio, just turned 20, played like a seasoned veteran

That first half saw Milan edge out Málaga with 51% possession, and after Saturday’s match, I was pleasantly surprised with our efforts. Both teams also had an equal amount of shots at this point, with four shots each and one each on target, but still scoreless. But that was the first half. One of my criticisms of Allegri is that several players have mentioned the training is too hard. Yet our team is riddled with injuries and is not as conditioned as other teams are. And this has been true of his entire tenure. We almost always have to go ahead early, as we rarely have enough in the tank to come back and pull it out in the second half.

Which was true again tonight. Although we defended so much better on set pieces, and Amelia was on fire, nothing could stop Joaquin’s goal in the 64th. 1-0 Málaga. It was nice, I’ll give you that, but it also hurt like hell. Then Bonera got a yellow in the 69th for a foul (and he also had a handball,) and that’s when Allegri’s bizarre substitutions began.

Does he have a plan? Or is he making this up as we go?

First Pato on for Constant in the 69th. So we had two prima puntas on together. Pazzini missed a header  right after that on another great De Sciglio cross (he was great on the night.) In the 72nd, El Shaarawy had a shot blocked from a pass from Montolivo. Then in the 79th, Allegri pulled off Acerbi and brought in Bojan.

So tactically speaking… first it was rumored he was going to play a 4-3-3. Then a 3-4-3. Then it was a 3-5-2. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, he subbed a striker for a midfielder and then a striker for a defender. And he didn’t even use all three subs. I am all for throwing on more attackers when necessary, but there should be some method to the madness. There needs to be room and support for them to play, otherwise, they get in the way of the players who are already there and make the situation worse. It just feels like Allegri is reacting to the pressure, and that’s not helping at all.

Despite the dumb yellow, Montolivo had a decent night

Although there was that brilliant shot by El Shaarawy that was miraculously saved in the 85th. And the follow up shot by Mexes on a pass from Bonera less than a minute later that was blocked. But largely, Málaga kept us on the ropes and Amelia’s heartrate on high, especially for the last 15-20 minutes. I suppose we were lucky to only concede one goal, even if we took more shots and had twice the amount of shots on goal that Málaga had.

But in the end, it’s only the one that goes in the back of the net that counts, and that did not belong to us tonight. Nor did luck. Because we lost the match, and with that another huge serving of confidence. Plus there is even more pressure to sack Allegri now, too. And as much as I’ve believed since the beginning of the season that this is what should happen, all of the drama surrounding it and it not happening is actually worse, I think. Either do it and get it over with, or put in some performances that quell the rumors.

That feeling when you've done all that you can and still failed

All I know is that I will likely need to become quite calloused to survive this season. It’s hard to watch the boys work so hard and not succeed. It’s hard to lose to a team we would have dominated just six months ago. It’s hard to watch a coach destroy the mentality of the team after the management sold everyone’s souls. And yet as hard as all of this is, it’s hard to think of anything else but my beloved red and black. And so I’ll move on to welcome Genoa on Saturday, putting my faith in the team to react better to this loss and pull out a win. Because Spanish lessons are hard enough. I think it’s time our boys teach some lessons of their own.


This post inspired by the music of Bauhaus

Our next match is
Milan vs. Genoa
Saturday, October 27th • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)