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Milan 1, Genoa 0: Birthday Revenge

It must be a bit conflicting to face your former team. Even more so on your birthday. But scoring against your former team on your birthday must feel like the ultimate irony. And how would our favorite Egyptian-Italian player manage it? Like a pro. Despite scoring the only goal of the game vs. Genoa on his birthday, he kept it classy and didn’t celebrate. Which only proves that he is truly Milan, through and through. Buon Compleanno Faraone!

The birthday boy schooled his ex-team

The match looked at times as though it was going to be a stalemate. Genoa struggled with this new formation and a single striker, with our former Borriello out for 6 weeks. The new-to-Genoa Delneri fielded a 4-4-1-1, and while their defense was quite solid, they had trouble getting the ball forward.

Milan, on the other hand, had a lot of possession, (62% to be exact,) but also struggled to move the ball through the midfield and get it forward. And while Genoa’s shooting accuracy was better, with 7 shots, 3 on target, Milan had more shots, with 12 and 2 on target.

Antonini put in another facepalm performance with an injury ending

Antonini made the headlines in the first half, as he kept clutching his face as if he’d been mortally wounded, and performed some Barcelona inspired diving, as well. Although, to his credit, he did get forward a lot with some shot attempts and placed a header straight into the hands of Frey in the 25th. But in the 39th, having cried wolf all match, he actually got an injury, and it wasn’t on his face. He seemed to have some kind of muscular injury in his thigh. (Maybe he forgot that they replaced the San Siro pitch, and that’s not supposed to happen anymore?) Anyway, he was replaced by Constant in the 43rd, but only after Bertolacci risked his future children by taking one for the team and going down himself. (And he even came back on!)

Urby did a lot, but couldn't convert when it mattered.

Zapata also had quite the night, he kept passing it to Genoa. And Abate was crossing his little heart out, but to no avail. In a flurry of activity starting in the 26th, there was an Abate cross that Frey had to punch away, a Yepes header over the crossbar from a corner, El Shaarawy had a shot deflected, and then De Jong had a shot that was saved. Bertolacci earned himself a yellow in the 36th for fouling the birthday boy. And speaking of him, in the 38th, El Shaarawy put the ball across the face of the goal, but no one was there. Pato had a nice move in the 43rd, but the ball was easily saved by Frey. Then he went down in the box just the next minute later, but no call.

The second half saw more of the same, until the 54th, when De Jong went down in the box for another arguable penalty call that was not given. It seems that Mazzoleni had his own ideas about having this game finish without any help from him. But that didn’t stop Bovo for earning a yellow in the 59th for a foul that Pato cleverly drew on him. In the 63rd, Urby took a shot/cross/something that the Italian commentator I was listening to deemed “unwatchable. Which probably could have been said about most of his shots on the night, as he was channeling his inner Robinho. To his credit, he was creating chances for himself and actually taking shots.

Yepes put in another great performance tonight

As Amelia once again was called into action a little more the second half, and came up big when he was called upon, so did our attack get more dangerous. In the 72nd, Pato was actually called offside just as he put a header just over the crossbar. Allegri thanked him by subbing him off for Pazzini immediately after. But it is worthy of note that he played another 72 minutes now without injury. In the 74th, that’s when Yepes earned his requisite yellow card with a nasty challenge on Jankovic just outside the area, but they put the ensuing free kick wide.

In the 77th was when El Shaarawy earned his vacation paid for by Ambrosini with his 7th goal in all competitions on the season. 1-0 Milan. The birthday boy was assisted by Abate, from a cross from Urby. Yes, a successful assist from Abate. Read it and weep, haters. Sometimes, like when there’s a full moon or something, the Blonde Fury can put in an accurate assist.

So many names: MOTM, Birthday boy, Il Faraone...

You could tell who subbed on in the 88th, as the Curva was singing the Nocerino song. That’s right, he came on for Urby, who, other than shot accuracy, had a great game. And this effectively changed the formation to a 3-5-2. El Shaarawy was cramping up in stoppage time, no wonder, he scored the goal and was also one of our best defenders again on the night.

Allegri, just because we got the win, doesn’t mean I support this new 3-man backline. A lot of players had pretty good nights, but I don’t see this working out long-term. Just so you know. And seriously, with the subbing so late… really? I thought you’d learned your lesson already. I guess you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That probably also goes for Delneri, who lost his first game as a coach this time around.

Still not injured.

But still, even if it wasn’t pretty, it was a win. And a much needed three points. Thanks to the birthday boy, who made his own day memorable for him and tons of fans worldwide, too. We are lucky to have a young player of his quality, but also of his class. He is a very bright spot for this team at a very dark time, and I for one will bow to il Faraone. Well done, Milan, and especially to El Shaarawy. Happy birthday! Revenge couldn’t be much sweeter!


This post inspired by the music of Altered Images’ “Happy Birthday”


Our next match is
Palermo vs. Milan
Tuesday, October 30th • 20:45 CEST (3:45pm EDT)*

*note the later time due to the time change in Europe