Catania 1, Milan 3: Pretty Ugly

This game was divided into two categories: the pretty and the ugly. There wasn’t much pretty at all, but what there was of it was very, very pretty. The ugly dominated the game, and no, I’m not talking about the players’ looks this time. There was some very, very ugly football, and there were some very, very ugly fouls. But luckily for Milan, the pretty was what counted and gave us three very crucial points. It may not have all been pretty, but I’ll take it.

The players salute the fans after a hard fought victory

The first half for Milan was mostly ugly. El Shaarawy raised Andujar’s heart rate, but he was quickly nullified by 2-3 defenders at any given time. Boateng had a shot on goal in the 6th that Andujar saved. Then De Sciglio had a beautiful clearance in the 10th minute, that kid is simply spectacular to watch. But in the 11th minute, Legrottaglie scored a header from a corner kick. 1-0 Catania. The ugly part is that not only is he ex-Milan (yes, we treated him badly,) and also ex-Juve (enough said,) but we conceded yet another goal from a set piece. Ugly.

Both teams kind of cancelled each other out, although Catania may have been playing a little better. Maran made his mark on the match in the 31st by protesting to the ref, but not quite enough to get sent to the stands. In the 32nd, Acerbi made a nice save. He played a solid game, was quicker and more confident than most of his performances I’ve seen. Just a minute later, Constant was elbowed in the face by Bergessio and wasn’t very quiet about it, either. Those two were fighting like two lovebirds the whole game, it seemed. In the 36th, De Sciglio made a great goal line clearance. Milan don’t seem to make a lot of those under Allegri’s tenure, I’ve never been sure why, but the kid reached superhero status for me tonight with this one.

"Constant Pressure" (caption by AC Milan's site)

De Jong celebrated his birthday like a true defensive midfielder – the ref gave his birthday… er, I mean yellow card to Barrientos in the 42nd, for "diving" after De Jong gave him a little birthday contact. It's okay, Barrientos could have had a couple of yellows on his own by that point, but very nice of Orsato. The half finished with a nice Lodi free kick that was ultimately saved by Amelia. Sorry, Lodi, not tonight.

The second half started off ugly enough. Barrientos, not happy with a single yellow card, earned his second for a nasty foul in the 49th, which gave him the red card and sending off. Catania down to ten men with 40 minutes left to play. The advantage was taken almost immediately, as El Shaarawy tapped in a goal from a Robinho cross. 1-1. Catania wanted the offside call, and rightfully so, but apparently El Shaarawy’s hair has stealth properties, and the linesman missed this altogether. Too bad the stealth properties worked against him just one minute later, when he was carded for “diving” between three Catania defenders, at least two of the three making contact with him before he began his “dive.” Oh well, I suppose that cancels out getting away with the offside. Pretty ugly.

For those of you who believe in miracles, it won’t surprise you that Boateng scored a goal in the 56th. 2-1 Milan. If you’re a logical person, just remember that the law of averages dictates that eventually one of those shots would make it. Well, it actually dictates that he should have scored a few by now, but he made up for it with style. Pretty. To be followed once again by ugly, with Amelia being shown a yellow card in the 63rd.

Boateng's goal sent the players into a frenzy

In the 66th, in an effort to prevent alcoholism from his late subbing, Allegri pulled Montolivo off and sent Urby on. Montolivo handed the captain’s armband to Boateng, and Urby showed us what we’ve been missing almost immediately with a sweet backheel pass… Pretty. And then Robinho gave us a trademark performance in the 80th when he Robinhoed™ the ball into the stands on a clear shot on goal… Ugly.

Four minutes later, De Sciglio gave a nice shove to Marchese. I think someone needs to teach him respect for the elderly. But not to be outdone, Bellusci earned himself a yellow in the 86th for a very nasty foul. And a minute later, on the resulting Milan free kick, I noticed poor Andujar was out of breath. Is it good when your goalkeeper is out of breath? No, I thought not. And he hadn’t even seen our triple facepalm effort to score that came a minute or two later where not one, not two, but three Milan players in the box all took shots and failed. Ugly.

Nocerino was so beastly, it took 3 Catania players to contain him

But the ugliest moment of the match for me was in the 90th, when Boateng, captain’s armband and all, came in studs up from behind on Castro. Straight red card. Which meant that the armband went to the third arm of the evening, which I believe happened to be Amelia’s. Put there was still more pretty. In the 2nd minute of stoppage time, El Shaarawy collected a nice pass from Constant in the box and scored his second on the night from a beautiful angle, just kissing the inside of the post on the way in. 3-1 Milan. Pretty.

In the third minute of stoppage time, Allegri in a panic move (“I’ve only used one sub so far, and we play again on Tuesday!”) or a timewasting move or an attempt to further insult Milan’s true captain, Ambrosini, pulled Robinho off for Ambrosini. (Insert ironic golf clap here.) Way to go, Allegri. Not only are you not rotating our squad, but you are demoralizing the people who have given the most to Milan. Bravo. As if to provide a distraction for me from the epic douchebaggery of the captaincy, Rolin earned a yellow for sweeping Nocerino from the side, another good call from Orsato, but still ugly.

The Boy Pharoah celebrates his second of the night. Boss.

I liked Orsato tonight. Errors were made, of course, as they are in most matches, but nothing that would have changed the outcome of the game. He let some things go, but he was consistent, and I think all of his cards were spot on, save maybe the diving ones. I like a ref who doesn’t give away penalties like clowns give out candy, and there weren’t any fouls that were absolute penalties, anyway. It was a very physical game, it always is with Catania, I like to describe playing them as “doing the Argentine Tango,” but maybe with UFC fighters. Ugly.

The kid is begging for a haircut, he'll singlehandedly get the Scudetto if he has to

Milan absolutely dominated possession, with 73% on the night. And we had 13 shots with 6 on goal, so our accuracy was absolutely fantastic. However with a total of 7 yellow cards and 2 red cards, it was not a game to remember in that sense. It really was pretty ugly. I am not surprised that the favorable result comes in a game where Allegri has played the same formation for four matches in a row, and made only one change to his lineup from Sunday, as Yepes was suspended. So thank you, coach Berlusconi. Your micromanaging and psychological doping are seeing us jump up the table, and El Shaarawy’s Scudetto dreams seem almost realistic, thanks to his brace. At the end of the day, the stats will only show the three points for Milan. It really doesn’t matter that it was pretty ugly.

This post inspired by the music of Rage Against the Machine

Our next match is
Champions League Group Stage
AC Milan vs. Zenit St. Petersburg
Tuesday, December 4 • 20:45 CET (2:45 ET)

Catania 1, Milan 3: Pretty Ugly Catania 1, Milan 3: Pretty Ugly Reviewed by Elaine on 4:36 PM Rating: 5
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