Skip to main content

Milan 0, Chelsea 2: Payback is a… Friendly


Last year, we took out the reigning Champions League Champions in a resounding 1-0 defeat in a preseason friendly in the US. So it is not surprising that they would want to avenge the horrible atrocity that is losing a summer preseason friendly tonight. And avenge they did. Either that, or they wanted to help us avoid the emotional trauma of facing off against our beloved Ancelotti and Kaká, now both of Real Madrid, in the final game. Whichever way it was, the scoreline does not tell the full story on this one. Because payback is a friendly.

Payback is sometimes not as bad as it seems...

There were certainly times that Chelsea had us on the ropes. Mourinho’s starting lineup was probably at least half his B team players, but still they were very dangerous. Allegri, on the other hand, started his best 11 that he had available. Still, it was a great match, with chances for both sides. The difference was that Chelsea’s shots were primarily either stopped or went just wide, whereas Milan’s shots were mostly Robinhoed™ by the likes of Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari. And in the end, they were able to convert two, whereas we were held scoreless.

In the 18th minute, Ivanovic received a yellow for a bad foul on Balotelli, one that likely would not have been given in Serie A. It was nice to see a good decision from a ref for Balotelli. But it was De Bruyne who put the Blues up in the 29th with a nice goal. 1-0 Chelsea. Urby, who was running up and down and making nice crosses, had problems with defensive positioning and could probably be considered culpable for the goal. And the other event of note in the first half was a card for the birthday boy. Yes, Antonini saw yellow for a dumb foul in the 41st.

The match was largely evenly fought. with Chelsea's advantage exaggerated by the scoreline

At the half, Mourinho, apparently not convinced enough (or more likely wanting to give some time to more of his starters,) made seven substitutions. Why not? Allegri, ever the conservative tactician, with unlimited subs, only made two changes: Petagna on for Balotelli and Zaccardo on for Antonini. Our captain, Montolivo had a couple of memorable moments with a very dangerous high kick that he was lucky not to get a card for. Then he, too, Robinhoed a shot in the 55th.

Mourinho’s first team subs seemed to really be pressing us, but Milan held strong. In the 56th, Niang came on for El Shaarawy and Nocerino came on for Montolivo, much to the delight of my horrific commentators, who were absolutely certain that Nocerino is a very talented midfielder. I was thrilled for players like Niang and Petagna to be given the chance to face off against a team like Chelsea with a decent amount of playing time, what a great experience for them. The game went back and forth, but Milan held their own. In the 68th Silvestre made a tactical tackle that earned him a yellow card. In the 69th, Poli came on for Emanuelson, and Constant came on for Zapata.

Urby did his best to make it two in a row, but in the end it wasn't quite enough

In the 76th, Kingsley Boateng came on for Kevin Prince Boateng, Pacifico came on for Silvestre, and Cristante came on for De Jong. What seemed so encouraging to me was that despite Allegri having subbed nine of his eleven starters, the team played as well as or better with so many young players as we did with some of our more experienced ones. And it was only a temporary lack of judgment that saw us concede a late goal by Schurrle. 2-0 Chelsea. Imagine what we could have done without our current injuries? But I thought Allegri did very well and his subs made some kind of sense. Most importantly, he gave lots of people playing time and valuable experience.

We weren’t perfect, but I thought we played better than some of our other friendlies. Especially when you consider the cost and difference in quality of the two squads. I was very, very encouraged by our play. Even our makeshift defense held its own for much of the match. If only our crosses had been a little better and our finishing not so other-worldly, the score could have very easily been different. And the fact that our young players held their own against what was probably Chelsea's starting lineup in the second half shows that we are not to be overlooked. We certainly didn't win tonight, but it was a very entertaining match to watch, Milan do not need to be ashamed of our performance.  And we did prove that payback is not always what they say it is. Sometimes, it’s just a friendly.


This post inspired by the music of the Foo Fighters

Our next match is
International Champions Cup Finals
Third Place Match
LA Galaxy vs. Milan
Wednesday, August 7 • 6:30pm EDT