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Milan 3, Lazio 0: Get Lucky, My Friends


I never know quite what to say when Milan win like this. It’s not that we didn’t entirely deserve the win, because we definitely worked hard. But anytime an opposition player is sent off with 75 minutes left to play, it’s hard to fairly claim dominance. And when the call came late, and was slightly questionable, it’s not like I feel comfortable bragging about the win. It continues our trend of Milan working hard, but also being blessed by luck and the poor fortune of our opponents. As The Most Interesting Coach in the World might say, “Get Lucky, My Friends.”

Don't tell these guys it was luck, they worked for every goal
Allegri had said in his press conference yesterday that Milan probably wouldn’t play that technically sound of a game, given that Lazio have players which break up play very well. And he was spot on here. The game started out exciting and explosive, with a number of shots at either end during the first 12 minutes. Marchetti had to be on his A game to stop the barrage of shots in the 3rd and 4th minutes, and both El Shaarawy and Boateng had attempted headers in the 11th and 12th minutes. Time to get a haircut, boys.

But the defining moment of the game came in the 15th minute, when El Shaarawy was taken down just outside of the box. At first, it seemed like Rizzoli was trying to decide whether or not the foul had occurred outside of the box or inside of the box. But after being swarmed by players from both teams and conferring extensively with his other officials, he actually took out a red card and showed Candreva off. The call would have to be that Candreva was the last defender and also prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity from El Shaarawy. Having watched the replays several times, Diaz’ position makes this call questionable, as it seemed he would have gotten there in time. This was one of those calls that could have gone either way, but was pretty harsh to make in the 15th. And more suspicion will likely stem from Rizzoli’s having “helped” us before (and even been suspended for 2 weeks because of that “help.”) But it was not a flat-out wrong call. Milan just got lucky. Again. To our credit, the short free kick from Boateng to Montolivo and his shot that went wide was kind of a blessing to Lazio, even if it seemed a very wasted chance for us.

Can't believe this kid is so young, he plays so well, no matter which side

It is a shame, too, because that single ref call changed the game. What was a great battle, with both teams fighting for chances eventually became more one-sided, and it wasn’t necessarily based on more talent. We certainly had more than our share of wasted opportunities. Like De Sciglio’s cross into the box in the 26th that both Boateng and Pazzini failed to connect with. And in the 30th, Pazzini would be booked – not sure if it was for the dive or for the dissent, but he earned both. Meanwhile, Lazio players, true to their reputation, grew increasingly physical as their frustration set in. Like in the 34th, when Lulic pulled Abate down by the neck. Ouch. But Abate was beast tonight, probably our best defender.

Boateng alternated between beautiful passes and crosses sent into orbit, as well as shots that NASA would be sighting eventually. But our first goal would come soon enough. In the 40th, Abate would take a shot from just inside the box that Marchetti parried out, only to fall at the feet of the onrushing El Shaarawy, who was being pulled down at the time. But Pazzini cooly sent it into the back of the net around the outstretched Marchetti, third time’s a charm. 1-0 Milan. His celebrations were a little comical, though. After his traditional snake eyes, he jumped up on the advertising boards and flapped his arms like an eagle in front of the Milan fans.

Pazzini flying like an eagle... or something

Lazio were feeling the pressure from being on 10 men now. Milan got a corner in the 44th which El Shaarawy sent in. Pazzini connected it with his head, and what would have been a header scored from a corner for Milan was miraculously stopped by Marchetti. Once again, Milan’s follow through paid off, though, as Boateng slotted in the rebound at point blank range. 2-0 Milan.

Allegri did actually make a sub at the half, bringing on Zaccardo for Zapata, the latter had been receiving treatment on his thigh earlier in the match, let’s hope it’s not a serious injury. In the 47th, Biava made a crunching tackle on El Shaarawy, and was rewarded for it with a yellow card. El Shaarawy is one tough kid. Milan were not in the best form, Zaccardo had a shot wide, Ambrosini whiffed at least his second shot of the match, and then took down Hernanes in the 55th just outside of the box and was lucky not to be cautioned. The comedy continued when Boateng pulled Radu’s shorts to his knees and Radu got really angry and shoved Boateng. Teammates came to help intervene and calm down, Abate was particularly helpful in calming everyone down, but both Boateng and Radu received yellow cards for this display in the 58th.

Snake eyes. For the brace.

It wasn’t all comedy, though. After tapping in rebounds for the first two goals, Pazzini decided to make his 2nd goal of his brace a little more special. From well outside of the box, he let it rip, straight past poor Marchetti. 3-0 Milan. The fact that having been on 10 men for 45 minutes by now, Lazio were still getting decent scoring chances shows the quality they brought to this game, but by looking at the score, one would never know.

The 68th saw Allegri use his second sub, but this, too, was apparently for injury. Pazzini went off and Niang came on, but cameras showed medical staff working on Pazzini after he came off. Again, I hope it is nothing serious. After that, Allegri replaced the somewhat spastic Boateng with Robinho. Niang had come on and kind of gotten in the way of El Shaarawy in the 70th. But he made up for it with a wicked shot in the 86th that hit the crossbar – the same kind of strike he broke a goal with in training not too long ago. I so wanted this one to go in, the kid deserves his first Serie A goal.

Nothing comical about the goal
After this we saw Montolivo go down hard to a foul in the 87th and he went off for treatment. I really, really hope it was nothing, we need him desperately. In the 90th, Yepes made a seemingly innocent tackle that sent Ederson flying like when a bowling ball strikes a pin. And in the 91st, we successfully defended our final set piece with a free kick taken by Louis Saha and saved by Abbiati, who had little to do on the night.

For me, this is not a win to savor, but rather to be grateful for. Our boys weren’t great, but they weren’t awful, either. It was definitely more about getting lucky with the sending off than saying Milan were the better team. Too bad, I like to brag about our boys. But we did take 3rd place back from Lazio, with a win that probably hurt extra for playing on 10 men most of the match. And while I’d like to just say Milan bossed this match and deservedly are in 3rd place, I can’t deny that they have worked very hard for it, either. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Whether or not it was fair, this was three very valuable points for us. Maybe it’s a combination of hard work and luck? Either way, Milan got the result. So get lucky, my friends.


This post inspired by the music of Portishead


Our next match is
Genoa vs. Milan
Friday, March 8th 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)