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Genoa 0, Milan 2: Violent Playground


In my preview, I warned that strange things are always brewing at the Marassi. So it shouldn’t have surprised me the beating our boys took at the hands of Genoa. But still, it did. The Genoa players weren’t just playing rough, they were flat out playing dirty, fouling to injure. And injure, they did. But it got the better of at least one of our players, who got himself sent off for his rage, and so we played the last half an hour on 10 men. If Genoa hadn’t already been brutalizing our players, you could chalk their violence up to revenge, claiming 2 penalties but receiving none. And so this game wasn’t about playing well, it was really about Milan escaping with their very lives. But in doing so, we did manage to score two unanswered goals in this violent playground. A victory for the battered.

Giving us something to celebrate about
The match looked to be a battle from kickoff. Genoa looked very dangerous early on, and Abbiati knew he would not be reading a book for this 90 minutes. But the fouls were stacking up, too, whether or not D’Amato called them. Although he not only called the dirty foul on Pazzini in the 18th, Portanova also saw an early yellow for it. Which is good, because Pazzini went off for treatment, only to return limping badly. In the meantime, Niang sought revenge by shooting one from distance, but Wolverine was there to stop him. However, Frey was not so lucky in the 22nd, when the one-legged and hobbling Pazzini still had the legs to shoot one from distance and punish the team that broke him. 1-0 Milan.

As you can imagine, Allegri was forced into an early sub, bringing on Balotelli for the injured Pazzini in just the 25th. Balotelli would also take a beating. What is it that makes everyone claw his face, etc.? Anyway, he jumped into the fray and had a yellow card to his name within less than a minute. In the 26th, Zapata handled the ball, but Genoa were not awarded the penalty. In my opinion, it was unintentional. And apparently D’Amato shared my views, much to the horror of Genoa. Just a few minutes later, Constant was awarded a yellow, though. I guess playing his former team gave him a little extra passion on the night. And in the 34th came the second big controversy for Genoa, when Niang deliberately used his hand to block a header right next to the goal. But again, no call. How very unlucky for Genoa, even if Milan are accustomed to such luck this season.

Our hobbling hero scored his 13th goal in he league today

At the half, Mexes was subbed off for Yepes due to another injury. Early reports indicate he will be able to play on Tuesday, but as of this writing, I have not heard about Pazzini. Having survived  the first half, and even being up a goal, Milan came out in the 2nd half true to form. El Shaarawy and Balotelli were both looking dangerous right away, hungry to punish Genoa in the best way possible: by scoring more goals. Genoa were still taking chances, too, with a very dangerous free kick in the 49th that hit the post.

In the 56th, Constant sent a beautiful cross in for Flamini, but the latter was booked for diving when he came near Frey. If that holds, it will cost him a €2.000 fine from the league. But it didn’t faze him – just 4 minutes later, he sent a beautiful shot that Frey just barely tipped wide. But as a result of the corner from this play, Zapata fed the ball to Balotelli, who scored a beautiful one in the 60th. 2-0 Milan.

Balotelli's subdued celebration for a beautiful goal

Five minutes later was when the game turned sour. Bovo came in with a very brutal foul from behind on Constant. But as D’Amato was attempting to hand him his yellow, Constant completely lost it. The ref was literally trying to pull him back by his jersey, as were a number of other players from both sides. But he could not be consoled. And as such, D’Amato had no choice but to give him his second yellow and send him off. But not before he reportedly told Bovo that he would be waiting in the tunnel. Yikes. Constant always seems so mellow and calm to me, so it was surprising to see so much anger.

Once Constant was finally restrained, and literally waiting in the tunnel, as promised, the game would get under way. But Allegri was forced to bring on Abate to accommodate for the loss of his full back, and so El Shaarawy got a little more rest than he might have planned to as a byproduct of the situation. Ballardini wisely also subbed off Bovo right away, which was good since he was pretty hot headed, too. After that, it was pretty much the Abbiati show. Genoa took a lot of shots, maximizing their numerical advantage, while Milan parked their 10-man bus. Genoa would take a total of 19 shots on the night, with 7 on target, meaning Abbiati got his workout with 7 saves. Milan were far more clinical, taking only 8 shots, but 5 of them being on goal.

Constant was beastly tonight... in more ways than one.

I honestly can’t remember if we played decently. I think our playing style was too interrupted by all of the brutality. But we did play 60 minutes with conviction, hell-bent on scoring from our few chances. And then we held up the fort for the last 30 minutes. We also achieved a clean sheet again. This was the first time this season that we’ve gotten back to back clean sheets. So maybe we couldn’t exactly play our best football, but I was proud of our boys. Even Constant. While it’s never good to get sent off, he showed his passion for the Milan shirt, despite being brutalized by his former teammates. The game was so very violent, but our boys did not let that distract them from bringing home the 3 points we needed to stay in third place. I feel like getting a bumper sticker that says “We survived the Marassi.” Or maybe “My player scored on your thug player.” A violent playground, indeed.


This post inspired by the music of Nitzer Ebb’s “Violent Playground”


Our next match is
Champions League Round of 16
Barcelona vs. AC Milan
Tuesday, March 12 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EST*)
*Note the time change due to Daylight Savings Time