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Silver Lining


For all of the turmoil and dark clouds covering Milan this week, winning a trophy was a bit of a silver lining amidst the storm. Granted, it was not a trophy that Galliani can count in his “most successful club in the world” obsession, since this tournament is not sanctioned by FIFA. And granted, it was won playing two 45 min. halves against a team that just got back from a long Asian tour, and the other team who just played a competitive match on Thursday in the Coppa Italia. So it’s more like the bright sale stickers they put on food at the grocery store that is about to expire. It got our attention but doesn’t mean it’s what you need. But after the week we’ve had, it was a welcome distraction.

Enjoy it, it's the last trophy we'll lift for a while 
First, Milan met Juventus. Needless to say, Allegri greeting Inzaghi was entertainingly awkward. It was obvious at kickoff that Juve were already under the spell of  Slow Start Allegri™, but less than 15 minutes in, they started to look like they remembered Conte. Despite having flashbacks listening to Allegri’s weasel-y voice screaming at his team, I was able to watch as our boys played better than they had all summer.


In the 17th minute, De Sciglio earned a yellow for a badass tackle on Lichtsteiner. Two minutes later, he sent in a fantastic cross that required the divine intervention of Evra on Honda, or it would have certainly opened the scoring. Diego Lopez made a nice save at the other end, and Muntari channeled his inner Boateng with a little Sky Jousting™. But in the 30th, the De Sciglio sublime pass to Honda routine finally worked as Honda scored the winning goal. 1-0 Milan.

Honda celebrates his goal

Menez took a page out of Muntari’s playbook and took out Pirlo. Because Milan can’t have too many killers in the squad, apparently. And one of the biggest surprises for me was that Ess had a decent 45 minutes, unlike the usual error-filled, molasses-speed matches he’s typically known for at Milan. Oh, yeah, and we beat Allegri. In “regulation” (if you can call it that.)

So after Juve beat the tired Sassuolo with Allegri fielding their missing persons lineup, I think I saw drool forming on the mouths of Milan fans, and something in the eyes of the Milan players… what is it called? Oh, yeah, confidence. And maybe it was a little of that confidence that urged the ref to give us the penalty for a Terranova handball in the box just 7 minutes in. With that luck, Menez took the penalty and converted it well. 1-0 Milan.

Menez celebrates his penalty conversion

Now that confidence was palpable as Milan took control of the game. So it wasn’t surprising when El Shaarawy scored in the 19th minute after one of his classic speedy runs into the box. 2-0 Milan. With a comfortable lead and that "confidence" stuff, the subs started flowing, with Pazzini on for Menez in the 25th, Poli on for Ess in the 26th, the young Mastour on for Honda in the 37th, and Zaccardo on for De Sciglio in the 38th. Some of the players got some time, and we were able to hold on for the win. It was also good to see Acerbi, who had also played their match vs. Juventus, sub on and get some time against his former club and the club of his heart. After his battles with cancer and changing clubs, it was great to see him healthy and playing again.

Il Faraone is back.

So Milan won the Trofeo TIM, the sprint version of a friendly, which will have absolutely no impact on how the team looks in a 90 minute competitive match. Honda was awarded the player of the match, a well-deserved honor. With so much heartbreak, it is hard to know if I should even be happy about this. For one thing, with the record of past Trofeo TIM winners, this completely blows our totally realistic Scudetto hopes. But also, it just kind of feels like when your mom takes you out for ice cream to try to cheer you up after your dog died. It’s sad we can’t enjoy the moment more, even keeping in perspective that it is just a friendly tournament. But Milan is a mess, and a meaningless trophy in a friendly doesn’t clean up a mess that big overnight.

A-W-K-W-A-R-D

However after the week we’ve had, it was nice to see the guys play with heart and grinta. If we were the most rested, well that was lucky, and we won the advantage of having the hour rest in between the two half games as well. But they did work for it, played with a level of focus and determination I hadn’t seen this summer. So after all of the darkness surrounding Balotelli’s departure this week and the seven days left in the mercato, lifting a trophy of any kind was indeed a silver lining.


This post inspired by Queen’s “We Are the Champions”


Our next match is
Milan vs. Lazio
Sunday, August 31st • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)



Stay tuned for a special season preview Milan Obsession Podcast tomorrow