Verona 1, Milan 3: Konnichiwa, Verona

Verona fans were probably optimistic about their chances against Milan in their house, but I’m pretty sure any optimism they had was shattered by Honda’s second goal. To their credit, their team fought valiantly to the end, taking 22 shots, even if only eight of those were on target. But at the final whistle, they finished empty handed and sent Milan back home with all three points. Verona fans had undoubtedly hoped to injure Milan again, but they were given a surprise Honda greeting: “Konnichiwa, Verona.”

I think we'd all like to kiss Honda like that right now, Rami

Rafael Marques is probably gonna get a lot of gialloblu hate for opening the scoring in the 21st minute… for Milan. His own goal saw us take the lead, 1-0 Milan. With a cross from.... who else? Serie A's leading assist man, Abate. Scoring an own goal is usually just ugly, but Marques was attempting to make it an art form. And he also inspired Milan in the process. Muntari and Essien had each taken a “shot” (I use that term very loosely) within the first twenty minutes, and our actual attackers had been creating and taking chances. But it was in the 27th minute that Honda scored with a very nice assist from El Shaarawy, who had returned to the starting lineup to the delight of many Milan fans. 2-0 Milan.

There were chances for both sides with Verona increasing their intensity and thus chances as the game went on. Abbiati more than earned his paycheck and kept us in the game time and time again. And when he couldn’t control the ball, such as in the 42nd, Abate was there to clear it for him. Alex also had a great game, cutting down on Abbiati’s workload with some key stops. I like to call that trio our AAA defense™, they really were fantastic today.

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat

Honda was the star of the match, though, and in the 56th, he showed why. Rami sent the ball forward, and Honda saw his opportunity, dribbled it in and took the shot, making it look so very easy and making Verona’s three-Rafael defense look very foolish. 3-0 Milan. It is no secret that Honda is having a fantastic start to the season, scoring six goals and giving two assists in seven games. His ability to see and create opportunities is so fun to watch, he’s personally putting the beautiful back in the beautiful game.

Inzaghi’s first two subs seemed inspired, bringing on the recovering Menez for the tired Torres in the 69th, and then bringing on the also recovering Bonaventura for the seemingly frustrated El Shaarawy in the 77th. Both exiting players had done well enough, but it was great to bring on the other two to give them some minutes, too. However after Honda got a yellow card in the 83rd, Inzaghi brought on Bonera for the Japanese star. This substitution will be one of the great mysteries of the universe, and may never be solved. Especially since only two minutes after Bonera came onto the pitch, Milan conceded.

This is what he looks like when he's happy

It was actually a Muntari epic fail error that allowed Nico Lopez to take that shot, but Bonera’s powers to concede goals must never be underestimated. So it was in the 87th that Abbiati lost the clean sheet he’d worked so hard to keep, 3-1 Milan. Bonera needs to stay as far away from the pitch as possible, as he doesn’t even need to be near the ball now to help Milan concede. And Muntari really needs to take himself up on his plan to retire at Milan sooner rather than later. In fact, today would not be too soon.

The rest of the match was a desperate scramble for Verona, their fans encouraged by the goal, and things got kind of crazy. There was a play that put Toni point blank in front of Abbiati in the 88th, but the ball was gratefully sent over the crossbar. Then Rafael Marquez saw his second yellow in the 93rd minute, seeing him sent off and Verona going down to 10 men for the last couple of minutes of stoppage time. But Verona were not able to dig themselves out of the hole their own player started, and Milan also played better than them. Wait, did I just type that? Yes, Milan played pretty well, so much improvement and in such a tough away game, too. That may be even better than the win and the 4th place berth it put us in (although those things are very nice, too.)

And no one loves Honda more than Inzaghi tonight

This match surprised me. Not only the result, but with the level of play that Milan displayed. There were still big problems, like Muntari and Essien, who almost injured our own players as often as they nearly injured the Verona players. And I heard De Sciglio was on the pitch, but he was very quiet today. Poli played really well in the first half, but faded a bit in the second. He really shines when playing next to Muntari and Essien, but it remains to be seen whether that is due to his talent or their lack thereof. But while Abbiati was a superhero in goal, Honda was hands down the man of the match. He is making all of our dreams come true (and his childhood dreams, too!) Certainly he left his mark on the hearts of the fervent Verona supporters. We said konnichiwa, and I’m sure after saying goodbye to their three points, they are relieved to say sayonara to Honda for now.

This post inspired by the music of Elaine’s Halloween Mix

Our next match is
Milan vs. Fiorentina
Sunday, October 26 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT)*
*note the end of European daylight savings time changes the time difference

Verona 1, Milan 3: Konnichiwa, Verona Verona 1, Milan 3: Konnichiwa, Verona Reviewed by Elaine on 8:09 PM Rating: 5
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