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Juventus 3, Milan 2: Muntari’s Revenge


It just had to be him. Going to Juventus Stadium with a beleaguered squad and sinking morale, there was only one person who could make things right. And he did, twice. Unfortunately, he also emphasized another point: that Milan lack the quality, depth, and leadership to completely get the job done. So even if he scored a brace against the team that made him infamous, his revenge was just not enough.

Revenge is a dish best served within 19 seconds. 

The player I speak of, obviously, is Sulley “the Killer” Muntari. Tonight he changed the meaning of “il gol de Muntari” from a childish Juventus fan taunt stemming from his previously disallowed goal into something for every Juventus fan to fear. In just 19 seconds, a cross from former Juventus player Nocerino found Muntari in an ultimately opportune spot, and he tapped it in beyond perhaps the greatest keeper of all time, Buffon. 1-0 Milan. In less than 30 seconds.

I don’t know about you, but I was in shock. And I am not sure if my resident Juventino recovered from it faster than me, but it took a while for us both. Probably by the time Rocchi intercepted a Milan pass in the 6th minute to turn it over to Juventus, I might have been breathing normally again. But then the barrage of Juve shots started, forcing Abbiati repeatedly into heroic saves. Which then gave Juventus repeated opportunities to score on corner kicks, but to their credit, Milan defended four corners in the first 11 minutes successfully.

Muntari, Zapata, & Abate showing what 3 stars look like... or something, anyway.

After his successful interception, Gianluca Rocchi, having been previously banned for “helping” Milan in a match, started with the card distribution. The first yellow of the game went to De Jong for a tackle in the 14th, meaning he will miss the match vs. Udinese for card accumulation. It also gave Juve a free kick in a great spot, as proven by Pirlo’s goal in the 15th. 1-1 all. His ball curled downward exactly at the wrong moment for Abbiati, who got a hand on it, but couldn’t stop it because of the dip.

Constant then got his yellow for attempting to contain Tevez, Rocchi’s judgment seemed as inconsistent as ever. But it wasn’t half as ridiculous as the yellow Bonucci got for snuggling with Robinho’s face in the 23rd. It looked like he wanted to headbutt the Brazilian (and be honest, haven’t we all a times?) But he didn’t. Which opportunity Robinho then took to channel his inner Neymar and fall to the ground as if he’d been shot. Yellow card for Bonucci. Really, Rocchi?

Pirlo got a bit of revenge, too, as if 2 more Scudetti wasn't revenge enough

Zapata took a shot that was saved, Matri turned the ball over to his ex-teammates, Montolivo was playing too close to goal to lob a long ball forward. In the 42nd, Constant was shoving Tevez in the box, a very dangerous pastime. And when Tevez was down from the contact, he handled the ball, too. But play resumed, Milan got possession (just like they would have if the handball was called), and fouls resumed, too, called or not.

The biggest controversy of the game was in the 50th, when Mexes punched Chiellini, and the ref missed it completely. What is it about Milan that turns Chiellini into a crying little girl? I mean, the punch was real, and Mexes was completely wrong, but I actually liked the tough Chiellini that would have stood up and at least threatened to punch Mexes back (even though that would have made things worse.) Maybe they put estrogen in the water at Vinovo to help with Conte’s hair growth, I don’t know. But what Mexes did was still worse than acting like a little girl. Vergogna.

"Leave Matri alnoe!!!"

In the 53rd, Robinho had a chance that was shut down. And it’s a real shame, too, because that would have been a Matri assist. Matri also got a talking to by Rocchi in the 64th for an attempted tackle on Bonucci. Maybe if I list every single thing he did, it will justify his cost somehow. But none of it will justify the way Giovinco came on in the 67th and almost immediately scored, 2-1 Juve.

Somewhere in there, Mexes was apparently shown a yellow. Although it did not show up on my broadcast, and Mexes didn’t seem to know about it, either. But to Allegri’s credit, after going down a goal, he finally subbed Niang on for Nocerino. However, it was kind of too little too late, as Mexes got what turned out to be a second yellow for a crunching tackle in the 75th minute which saw Milan go down to 10 men. It also guarantees an Udinese game without him, too. And it also awarded another free kick to our old friend Pirlo, which was stopped, but Chiellini the girl kicked it in. 3-1 Juventus.

Both of these players have 3 league goals this season. Think about that for a minute.

After having lost Mexes, Allegri brought Zaccardo on for Robinho in the 75th. Those cards really hurt us today. Not only were 2 of the goals scored from the ensuing free kicks, but they forced Allegri into a defensive sub, preventing him from throwing on all the strikers, as is his preferred tactic (singular.) He did, however bring Poli on for De Jong in the 84th, although I’m not sure why. And just when you thought the day was completely lost, Muntari scored again in the 90th on an assist from superstar Constant. 3-2 Juve. It was a bit lucky, as Bonucci’s deflection sent Buffon the wrong way, but I’ll take it. And Muntari rewarded himself with a yellow card in the 92nd, which was surprisingly his first card of the season.

Okay, if this was any other season, I would be crying right now. But given the depths we have recently sunk to, this wasn’t a horrible display. The players had a lot more intensity and drive in this match compared to others, and Muntari got his revenge on Juventus. Aside from the fact that the history books will only show that Juventus took full points, and also that we only have 8 points and are back to 12th on the table, there was enough improvement from other games for me to not take the cyanide pill I had been saving for such an occasion. Now I can at least save it for after the International Break.

At least it started nicely, in a minute of solidarity for the victims of the Lampedusa tragedy.

I do expect to lose or draw now, we just don’t have the quality, and any tactics that Allegri once had at his disposal seem to have gone missing along with his grasp on reality in his press conferences. Couple that with everything that is going on at Milan from top to bottom and the Injury Armageddon™, I guess I just feel better when we do anything that is not absolutely horrifying. Have I lowered my expectations? Definitely. Do I see any end in sight to this abomination of Milan? No. But I will still be here, week after week, to support the team. I guess I have lost my grasp on reality, too. Oh, well. Most importantly, Muntari got his revenge. So good for him.


This post inspired by the music of Elaine’s Christmas Mix
(because Allegri promised that Milan will be in another position on the table before Christmas.)