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Milan 0, Juve 2: In Like a Lion…

There is a saying that March comes “in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Apparently, Milan got that memo yet again. Here it is March 2nd, and once again, they performed very well in the first 60-ish minutes, and the scoreline saw them finish like lambs to the slaughter. Of course, the scoreline was nothing compared to the behavior of some of Juventus' fans, who started the week raising Superga banners at their derby, and climaxed with personal abuse on Twitter and multiple forums before and after the game because they didn’t like being called out for…. you guessed it, the Superga banners, amongst other things. In fact, the only thing that really hurts about this loss is that once again, some Juve fans are poor winners. Which is a shame, and reflects poorly on the other fans and their club. But Milan did fight like a lion, had a lion’s share of possession and opportunities, too. And I am convinced that soon, we will leave the pitch with a score that reflects our quality.

An epic battle

Tonight, though, it was Juve who were lucky. Lucky that we didn’t convert any of our 22 shots, or capitalize on our 60% possession. In fact, Milan took 16 shots in the first half, pressed high, and somehow managed to keep some kind of defensive form as well. Well, Abbiati did have a spectacular save in the 18th, and was good otherwise, too. But we had so many amazing chances. Like in the 26th when Bonucci had an amazing goal line clearance to stop what otherwise would have been a goal. In fact, Buffon had a fantastic night, with at least 9 saves, many spectacular, proving again why he is world class and Italy’s number one.

Pazzini was masked after his injury vs. Sampdoria last week, but it didn’t stop him from attacking at every opportunity. He and almost everyone else were unlucky to face such a tremendous defense and keeper. But it was at the end of the first half, though, that our luck truly ran out. Bonera lost his man, leading to the cross in for Llorente, whom Abate was unable to mark, and just like that, an amazing first half for Milan turned upside down, 1-0 Juventus.

As if that wasn’t painful enough, shortly after the half, Poli went up for a header and ended up in a nasty collision with Caceres, who also was bloodied up. But, like Milan, Poli was less lucky, requiring treatment for a couple of minutes before being stretchered off. Hope he’s okay. Saponara came on for him in the 53rd.

Not even the masked wonder could convert tonight.

In the 58th, Marchisio was awarded a yellow card for encroachment on a Milan free kick, which was weird, because it looked like he didn’t start running until Montolivo tapped the ball over to Rami. So a bit of bad luck for Juve in that call, even if the rest of the night was much luckier for them.

Pirlo was also shown a yellow in the 64th, but rightfully so, for a bad tackle on Saponara. But by then, Milan’s stamina and form had also run out. So it was in the 67th that Tevez scored a sublime goal from distance to make it 2-0 Juventus.

Seedorf did everything he could to recover. In the 71st, he brought on Honda for Montolivo, who was one bad tackle away from a yellow or even red card and also showed an even worse attitude by coming off and ignoring Seedorf and throwing his jacket down. How that man is still our captain is beyond me. In the 75th, Taarabt came on for Robinho, another great sub, in my opinion. But it just wasn’t enough, and with a lack of match fitness, our shots were even fewer and further in between. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bonera got a yellow in the 82nd for a dumb challenge on Tevez. Not even Robinho’s last minute shot in stoppage time would go in, it would hit the crossbar instead.

Can't we all just get along? What would your players think if they saw your tweets and comments?

I am still not as crushed as I might have been with this loss. I mean, I survived the first half of this season with Allegri, I can do anything. Which includes laugh at the petty insults and attacks aimed at me on Twitter and elsewhere from some Juve fans trying to defend some Juve fans’ right to be…. wait for it… horrible fans. Sadly, instead of remembering Buffon’s numerous amazing saves or Tevez’s amazing goal, there are some Juve fans who would prefer that I remember the vulgar, insulting, and horrible things that they type from their computers and phones. And this is why we can’t have nice things. Except they do have nice things. Like a club that is still winning. And yet this is how they represent that club and those players who leave their heart on the pitch every match for them. Vergogna.

Truly, hats off to Juventus, they took advantage of their few chances and converted them, getting the clean sheet, too. But I am not ashamed to say that I am falling in love with this new and improved Milan, either. Seedorf’s work is still a work in progress, and as addressed in the last podcast, it will be a while before it truly comes to fruition. But it also may be that we came into March more like a lamb and will come out of it like lions, too. Who knows? We lost a chance at three valuable points today, but we are still growing under a new coach. And for that, I am very proud of our progress. Undici Leoni.

This post inspired by the music of Rammstein

Our next match is
Udinese vs. Milan
Saturday, March 8 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)