Chievo 0, Milan 1: Swamp Brutality

The Stadio Bentegodi gave us a preview of what this match was going to be like: ugly. In fact, I think it was unacceptable for a Rugby pitch, and the fouls also followed suit. Rugby players would have been on the ground begging for mercy had they met up with this lot. But at the end of the day, none of our players left in an ambulance, and we left with three points. Laundry can be cleaned, cuts and bruises heal, but these three points will be incredibly helpful to us come May.

Survival of the fittest

In the 13th, with the help of Bonera, Abbiati made a save that was very scary and looked like it could have been comic relief. But it was nowhere near as funny as just a few minutes before when Paloschi shoved Bonera. That was funny. Then the fate of the match took a turn in the 17th when Balotelli was awarded a yellow card.

In the 23rd, Cesar fouled Fallo-telli™ (“fallo” means foul in Italian – thanks to Jon for the inspiration for this one!) off the ball, but Milan were awarded the free kick. Balotelli stepped up, took it, and Puggioni parried it to save it. Only Montolivo followed up the ball and tapped it in for the goal. 1-0 Milan in the 25th. In the 27th, the yellow card parade for Chievo began with Dramè having fouled Abate hard. Paloschi and Thereau would give Abbiati a few scares, but nothing he couldn’t handle.

Montolivo FTW

In the 33rd, Dainelli fouled Fallo-telli™ and earned his first yellow of the evening. Balotelli stepped up, let a screaming free kick rip which Puggioni amazingly saved. This scenario was repeated for a total of seven times on the night. Seven times Balotelli was fouled, usually hard, and seven times he stepped up and took a shot on goal. Seven times that Puggioni earned his pay.

In the 37th, Dramè injured his shoulder badly. He would leave the pitch at least twice during the match for this injury, clearly in a lot of pain. But whether he was tough or just a masochist, he played the full 90. Respect. And hope it’s not serious.

Foul me, I punish you. Free kick # 001, aka assist for Montolivo

A couple of more foul-free kick-save repeats, then in stoppage time of the first half, Abate and Guana got tangled up. Guana got the worst of it with an Abate knee to his face. Ouch. But the comic brutality from Milan’s side was not yet complete until Bonera went up for some kind of flying martial arts wannabe kick into Paloschi. I guess he wanted to make sure that Paloschi felt completely kicked to the curb, but it was epic fail Bonera comedy. Bonera was lucky to have brought his yellow card immunity card with him, as that was definitely dangerous play, his first of multiple card-able offenses which he escaped card-free from. Also, a De Sciglio handball that went unnoticed, too.

In the 50th, Cofie stepped up for his turn to foul Fallo-telli™ and earn his yellow card. Balotelli free kick. Puggioni save. De Sciglio, having given a decent foul early on, chose Sebastian Frey’s (akaWolverine) brother Nicolas to foul hard. That kid has no fear. 61st: Cesar fouled Fallo-telli™ , earn yellow card. In the 62nd, Frey, whom De Sciglio had gotten the best of, was subbed off for Luciano. Balotelli free kick. Puggioni save. Rinse, repeat. More Milan comedy in the 66th when Muntari took down the ref, who was clipped and then shoved after running behind/beside him. Milan’s brutality was almost all comedic, whereas Chievo apparently thought it was some sort of mud wrestling cage match.

Abate was immense, the right side of the pitch was where the action was

Two significant events… In the 67th, Robinho burst out of nowhere and had a shot that was saved. I just thought I’d mention that because it was so noteworthy. And the other, in the 69th, Luciano had a great shot that Abbiati tipped over, his biggest save of the night.

In the 70th, Andreolli earned his yellow by fouling… you guessed it, Fallo-telli™. Rinse, repeat. At this point my commentator, clearly never having watched Allegri’s Milan said that it was strange that Allegri handed subbed even once yet, with heavy pitch like this one that uses up more energy. Good one, Signor Commentator. Yeah, it is strange. Unless your name is Allegri. As if to emphasize this point, Corini pulled off former Milan player Paloschi and brought on the tried and true Pelissier. Your move, Allegri.

But actually, it was Dainelli’s move. He earned his second yellow and sending off for fouling…(drum roll, please) Fallo-telli™! Rinse, repeat. Chievo on 10 men. Then Allegri made his singular sub on the evening in the 84th, taking off the one-shot wonder Robinho and bringing on the young Bang Bang Niang. Check and mate. Just having Niang on the pitch, El Shaarawy stepped it up with some mad skills. Dramè fouls Fallo-telli™ with his good shoulder in the 92nd, etc., etc. and for the final comedic Milan moment of the evening, El Shaarawy takes a shot… straight at Balotelli’s back. Ooops! Final whistle.

"I can win the match with only one sub." --Allegri Logic.

Milan’s shooting percentage is much better when half of our shots are free kicks. With all of Balotelli’s goals on target, the team at large took 14 shots with 9 on target. But it was the brutal pitch and the brutality of the Chievo players that will linger in everyone’s mind. And I really don’t know what was worse. If you ask poor Balotelli, he would probably say the fouls were worse. But the rest of the players will probably still be talking about the pathetic condition of that pitch swamp.

I was proud of our boys. It wasn’t the prettiest game we ever played, but barring a few defensive lapses early on, they played decently. And they played well for 90 minutes, too. Well done. You earned us crucial 3 points and defied the swamp brutality.

P.S. One last thing I want to know: What happened to the Uova di Pasqua and Colombe the kids brought out in the beginning? (Also, we need to get a sponsor that makes yummy things to eat.)

This post inspired by the music of Les Miserables soundtrack

Happy Easter! 
Whether you celebrate this holiday or not, eat something yummy and have a wonderful weekend. 

Chievo 0, Milan 1: Swamp Brutality Chievo 0, Milan 1: Swamp Brutality Reviewed by Elaine on 2:38 PM Rating: 5
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