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Milan 0, Inter 1: It Hurts Even Worse In Person

I had been dreaming of watching our boys play at the San Siro for so very long. And I had saved and planned to get there. When the schedule came out this summer, all of the stars aligned so I could be at the San Siro tonight for il Derby della Madonnina. So I was convinced that maybe, just maybe they could pull one off for me. But the biggest star of all did not align, and I have to confess, it hurts even worse in person.

The temple of Milan (also known as the Temple of Doom)

I got there only to realize that the tickets I had spent so much for were in an Inter section. Actually, it was nearly half Milan fans, but it was also right next to the Curva Nord. I should have known that was an omen, but still, after Wednesday’s brave showing against Zenit, I believed. I was distracted with pregame festivities, though. First, I located the root of all evil:

Maybe if Milan Lab weren't there, we would do better.

Then I was entertained as the mascot came out and was taunting the Inter fans in Curva Nord.

I never liked mascots, but one who taunts is awesome

Then the players came out to warmup, goalkeepers first, and my heart skipped a beat when I saw my boy Abbiati. I noticed that only the keepers and the starting 11 warmed up, rather than the entire squad, like Inter. Also, Milan’s warmup seemed rather haphazard and undisciplined compared to Inter’s which seemed uniform and purposeful.

So after the players left the pitch, it was time for the coreo showdown. Milan’s featured a devil strangling a snake with the phrase "Sota a mi se viv la vida… Se sta mai cui man in man" Apparently, it is a play on the unofficial anthem of the city of Milano. One translation is “Beneath you life is lived, no one is never lazy.”

Curva Sud Coreography is always brilliant

But then the players came out, and I was so tense with excitement, I forgot everything else. It is a kind of magic to see your heroes take the pitch. And the game kicked off, and I was engulfed by the magic of the crowd, the stadium, everything. It is so nice to be able to see everything that goes on, not just what the cameras show us. But in the third minute, I was shocked into a horrible reality, as Samuel’s header put us down 1-0… right in front of me. I literally sat  directly across from that goal.

So I also saw not long after this when Abbiati tried to pass the ball out and in completely insane moment, passed the ball straight to Milito. Our defenders had a lot to do on this night, and we were so lucky not to be down by 2 at this point.

The view from where I sat

I was nervously chewing on the inside of my mouth, horrified by a lifetime of wasted chances happening right in front of my very eyes. All in all, we took 20 shots, and not a single one went in. Well except for the Montolivo one that was called back. But I felt like strangling a couple of players (I won’t mention any names, Kevin Prince Boateng!) I became more and more despondent as the match went on. Our boys were trying so hard and failing so miserably, it was actually physically painful.

Then the gift: Nagatomo’s second yellow and sending off. Surely now on 10 men, we could capitalize. And Allegri was subbing early and obviously wanted the win. But no, it was not to be. The ref also made some interesting calls. Like late in the match when Robinho was brought down by Handanovic. I was sitting right there, and I saw it go down. The ref, who was even closer, didn’t. (sigh) I’ve seen more than one keeper sent off for that this season, but not Handanovic. Clearly, it was just not meant to be.

So after months of saving and then travelling halfway around the world, my heart was ripped out of my chest and thrown to the ground. And yet, all I could think of  afterwards was how to convince my family to move close enough to enjoy season tickets. All this during my parade of shame, as I had to walk through and by so many Inter fans to exit. So humbling.

Curva Sud: Best. Fans. Ever.

But you see, if I’d felt joy of watching my team play before, everything that went well tonight was infinitely more pleasurable. And likewise, the pain was amplified to a level I could never have imagined. And yet, I longed to watch the matches live every time instead of on TV or those awful streams. Rather than push me away, witnessing the pain live made me want to be there even more.

If you ever get the chance to see Milan play at the San Siro, I cannot recommend it enough. The stadium is like some sort of giant temple, and the gathering of fans is so amazing. The two curvas whistling at each other and the players, the songs they sing, so many jerseys and scarves and flags all in one place. And at the end of the day, the loss is painful. That’s three derbies in a row. But I felt for our guys. If any of those "what in the hell was that?" shots had gone in, or a proper ref call was made when necessary, we could have easily gotten the draw or even the win. Now more than ever, we need to support our boys, even in their epic fails. And someday, the good times will return, with legends on the pitch in the red and black. But until then, my heart will permanently be Rossonero.


This post inspired by the music of Inno Milan