Milan 1, Fiorentina 3: Purple Heartbreak

Looking at our respective positions in the table going into this match, we knew it was possible, even probable that we could lose this one. But how it would all go down was yet to be determined. We had hoped it would at least be a decent battle. However, from ten minutes in, our hearts were crushed, and it was all downhill from there.

Their joy, our heartbreak

I guess we can’t really blame Fiorentina entirely for breaking our hearts. We managed to do a lot of the damage ourselves. Allegri got us started with his 16th unique lineup, including a 16th unique defensive line. Handshakes take an extra long time when you also have to shake all of your own teammates’ hands because you’ve never all played together in a match before. And when he changes everything but the one player who has not performed well all season, that’s no recipe for success, either.

I speak, of course, of Kevin Prince Boateng. With 8 appearances in 12 matches, he may not seem like the chosen one, but keep in mind he also had an injury and a suspension so far. His output? Well, NASA is still trying to get an accurate count of how many balls he’s personally launched, but there are just so many. He’s got 2 yellow cards and a red card, that’s output, right? In the goals and assists columns, he’s got big fat zeroes. And yet Allegri lined him up in the one position we are all 100% certain he is not cut out for again today: trequartista. So we really do have ourselves to blame for our heartbreak.

Even after we mistreated him, he was classy enough not to celebrate

Speaking of Boateng, he opened up his bag of failure tricks in the 3rd minute by giving the ball to Fiorentina near our goal. Fiorentina were working on their chances and took a couple within the first five minutes. At the other end, El Shaarawy dribbled into traffic and even from some distance took a shot, but it was just a little high in the 7th minute. But it was in the 10th minute, not coincidentally from a set piece, that Aquilani drew first blood with a great goal. 1-0 Fiorentina. Given the way we treated him and our phenomenal record of being scored on by set pieces, it shouldn’t have hurt so much, but it did. Heartbreak.

After that, we did fight back. El Shaarawy threading balls through for people and shooting, Montolivo trying to hurt his old team, Urby taking a shot, and Boateng, like a dog who doesn’t understand how to play fetch, sending even more balls into orbit. In the 28th, Ambrosini and Constant both took down their men simultaneously. Bonera got his requisite yellow card, fresh off of yellow card suspension, but at least he got it out of the way early, in the 30th.

This one hurt on so many levels

So in the 33rd, when Pato was elbowed hard in the back of the head in the box by Roncaglia, it seemed as if our hearts might not bleed forever. Signore Romeo awarded Roncaglia a yellow card and Milan the penalty. Borja Valero protested and also earned a yellow before Pato could step up and take it in the 35th. With hope and confidence, we all watched as Pato sent it over the bar. He missed our best chance of the game. Before the half, Valero would vindicate himself for his yellow card by slipping through two Milan players and then just schooling Mexes before he slotted it in past Abbiati. 2-0 Fiorentina. Two goals scored from two set pieces. That’s how Milan roll.

Allegri, ignoring the obvious, substituted Urby out for Bojan and Pato out for Pazzini right at the half. So in the 50th, when Bojan sent in a beautiful corner, it was the elephant in the room, Boateng, whose header was an epic fail. Despite him Bojan and Pazzini were definitely improving play and creating chances. Like in the 59th, when El Shaarawy sent a great cross in and Mexes’ sweet backheel move only found the post, Pazzini took that rebound and scored our only goal on the day. Milan 1, Fiorentina 2.

Pazzini subs on. Pazzini scores.

In Signore Romeo’s best Oprah's Favorite Things impersonation, Milan’s next yellow card went to Ambrosini in the 61st. Aquilani, wanting in on the action and fouling two Milan players in just a few seconds, got one, too, in the 63rd, and then was subbed off in the 64th. But Mexes would also want a yellow this match, so he got his in the 68th.

Allegri used his third and final sub in the 74th to take Ambrosini off and bring on Robinho. And while Fernandez kept scaring Abbiati and the rest of us, ten minutes later, Bonera pulled up with a probably hamstring injury. To his credit, he managed to stay on the pitch for another 5 minutes or so, but that left us down to 10 men for the last few minutes. During which time, Cassani, having subbed on, hit the post with a shot we thought was the final dagger in our hearts. But it wasn’t. The final dagger was Hamdaoui’s goal in the 88th. 3-1 Fiorentina. Which is how the game would end, but not before Boateng would take a shot from practically the half that of course is now being tracked by NASA.

16 sets of strangers in 16 games... who are you screaming at, Allegri?

Fiorentina played a great game, even without their Montenegrin star, Jovetic. Athough I’ve seen them play better. I’ve also seen Milan play better, but I can’t remember which of the 16 different lineups Allegri has fielded that it was. I do know it was one of them without Boateng. Everyone but Allegri seems to know that. But just because we were missing some pieces today doesn’t give us the right to regress so much. While it would be nice to have a consistent lineup, and even a new manager, since those things are clearly not going to happen for us, everyone needs to step up and take responsibility and work harder. It’s a shame they can’t get what they need, but I know they will all keep doing their best in spite of it all. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to keep managing the heartbreak.

This post inspired by the music of the Psychedelic Furs

Milan 1, Fiorentina 3: Purple Heartbreak Milan 1, Fiorentina 3: Purple Heartbreak Reviewed by Elaine on 8:40 AM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.