Roma 4, Milan 2: Mauled by Wolves

The score really doesn’t do Roma justice. Until Marquinhos was sent off and Allegri finally put a couple of the right people on in the attack, we were declawed cats in a forest of ravenous wolves. To our credit, we did pull two back late in the match. But once again, Allegri showed naiveté in starting Boateng as well as whatever goalkeeper drama has been going on behind the scenes with Abbiati that he would start Amelia. And once again, our guys showed that the 4-3-3 is not our best formation, and that they simply aren’t hungry enough (or is it talented enough?) to win when it would really make a difference. For all of these reasons and perhaps more, tonight we were mauled by wolves.

A dynamic duo, if only they could both be starters...

The opening minutes were fast paced and exciting, and it would appear that Milan would play a competitive game. But Roma’s shots came more often, and so in just the 13th minute, Burdisso scored a header from a corner. Roma 1-0. Yes, another set piece conceded. I think Galliani’s big jersey announcement over the break will be that they are changing the “il club più titolato al mondo” to “il club che ha concesso i più gol da palle inattive,” or “the club that has conceded the most goals from set pieces.” Congratulations.

Yepes made the mistake of pushing the King of Rome in the 15th, for which he earned a yellow card. And El Shaarawy looked to have a sure goal in the 17th but was stopped by the-keeper-whose-name-I-cannot-spell. But Roma were dominating, and in the 23rd, it showed on the scoresheet as Osvaldo scored another header in the 23rd on a Totti assist. 2-0 Roma.

Mauling is typically a very painful event, so Lamela sunk his claws in with a goal assisted by De Rossi to make it 3-0 Roma in the 30th. I know I was hurting. And as if that wasn’t painful enough, watching our “no. 10” take a shot… right into the legs of a Roma defender… in the 30th, well I wanted to just curl up and die at the half.

De Sciglio did well enough, but had his hands full on the night

At least at the half we licked our wounds and tried to regroup a bit. There was some hot blonde on blonde action, but not the kind you guys just thought of. Mexes and Balzaretti battled for supremacy, which at least took part of Balzaretti’s bite. De Sciglio challenged Totti a lot tonight, too, and in the 50th, Totti broke free and took a beautiful shot, but it went just wide. In the 53rd, Yepes had yet another header attempt. At least up until this point, he might have had the most opportunities for a goal, our center back was one of our best strikers, even if his defensive abilities suffered for it.

The 54th saw Burdisso foul El Shaarawy and get a yellow card for it, Robinhos resulting free kick curled just wide. So in the 56th Allegri pulled off Nocerino and sent in Pazzini. Ambrosini followed that up by earning a yellow for fouling Lamela, which seemed to inspire Lamela’s second goal of the night, yet another header, in the 61st. 4-0 Roma. We actually conceded 3 headers in this one, another thing for Allegri to look at, even if Yepes and Mexes are typically better in the air than they were on this night.

Pazzini brought his strength and his aerial prowess to the game

Robinho answered with a nice shot that forced a save in the 64th, with a nice follow up by Boateng. It is interesting to note that the experienced and wise Zeman took the opportunity, beginning in the 68th and ending in the 80th, to sub on three exciting young players in Florenzi, Destro, and Romagnoli. Granted a 4-0 lead allows you such a luxury, but Milan were playing better and looking more dangerous in the second half, and he still  did this. I’m guessing that with as much as he has smoked, he has also used this kind of courage to scare off cancer. (Allegri, please take note. About the subs, not the smoking of the cancer.)

In the 70th, Allegri finally brought on the other player this team had needed for the first 70 minutes in Bojan, subbed on for Robinho. This substitution even brought out the best in Boateng, who had a header on target that started a quick flurry of attempts that really tested Goi… the-keeper-whose-name-I-cannot-spell. Then Bojan had a great shot in the 72nd that prompted another save. Allegri pulled off Ambrosini in the 76th for Muntari, who should find his match fitness in early January.

El Shaarawy is a nightmare for any keeper, but Goicoechea held his own

I guess barring a mercy rule, the referee took pity on us and showed Marquinos a straight red for handling the ball in the 78th. To be fair, it looked very intentional, and I believe he was the last defender, so even if it wasn’t in the box, That Other Brazilian got an early shower and Roma were down to ten men. If only we could have played a 10 man Roma from the start, we might have had this one…

In the 81st, Mexes picked up his obligatory yellow for fouling Destro, the least he could do for his former team. Then Muntari took a great shot in the 86th that was stopped. But right after that, the ref was a little generous again. He gave the-keeper-whose-name-I-cannot-spell a yellow and awarded a penalty to Milan when Pazzini looked to be taken down on a run in on goal. Only my replay shows that the keeper got all ball. Nonetheless, Pazzini stepped up and took the penalty, converting it to make it 4-1 Roma.

Again with the last ditch sense of urgency, Pazzini tried a header in the 88th from an El Shaarawy cross, but it was stopped. However Bojan took advantage of the rebound and left-footed it in to make it 4-2 Roma, scoring against the club that owns him. Like animals fighting for our lives, Milan courageously fought back, energized by pulling back two goals late in the game. But it was too little, too late, and the mauling was complete. Not even the ref’s generosity was enough.

So many New Year's Resolution possibilities...

My new year’s resolution is not to have to say Allegri got this one wrong again. Not that I’m planning on doing anything to change, I’m just hoping that Allegri will. Not that he’s shown me any real signs of changing… okay, maybe I’ll make a different resolution. This game was painful because we were in a position to leapfrog Roma had we won, and now they are five whole points ahead of us. Also, their clinical shooting: they took only 13 shots, but 7 were on target, with 4 of them converted. Whereas it took us 20 shots, 10 on target to convert only 2 goals. To be fair, the-keeper-whose-name-I-cannot-spell was brilliant. And I would never have started Amelia, particularly when Abbiati was available. But whatever. Bojan and Pazzini were decisive subs, and Constant was our most consistently good player throughout the match, in my opinion.

We go into the break in 7th, which is better than we could have hoped at the beginning of this season. Another positive is that we saw no sign of Antonini or Flamini in this match, either.  Despite all of our wasted chances, the disappointing lineups, and the overall sense that even this band of misfits could play better than this, it could also be worse. Even if this game made it seem like the end of the world would have been better than watching this travesty, there is always hope for next year. Bring on the holidays and bring on the mercato. I’m tired of getting mauled.

Roma 4, Milan 2: Mauled by Wolves Roma 4, Milan 2: Mauled by Wolves Reviewed by Elaine on 3:11 PM Rating: 5
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