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Milan 0, Palermo 2: Shattered


I’m not even gonna try to sugar coat this one, because there is absolutely nothing to sugar coat. Also, if you missed the game somehow and still have a little bit of optimism left, you should know why you shouldn’t. Not only did the newly promoted Palermo shatter Milan hearts in front of 28,000 fans at home with a decisive victory and some help from Zapata, they shattered the illusion that this Milan were going places, that we were doing something special, that Inzaghi was some kind of magician. They shattered the belief that somehow Galliani’s thrift store shopping for players had actually created a team out of nothing. This was not just one game, this was a revelation of what we all feared, but were hoping was not true. All our hopes and dreams. Shattered.

Shattered.


Despite the shockingly terrifying performance by Zapata, he is not to be blamed for the performance of the whole team. In fact I’m not sure that shockingly terrifying correctly sums up the match, but it’s the best I can do for words in the aftermath. Shattered.

The nightmare began in the first minute when Alex pulled up with an injury. He had to be subbed off for Zapata, who seemed like he had been more than happy to sit on the bench in this one, and his surprise inclusion in the third minute seemed to rattle him to a point that he never recovered from. But he was not alone. Palermo were so hungry, there was nothing that could stop them. Well certainly nothing that this Milan side had to offer. Palermo’s attack started from kickoff, with Lopez called into action in the second minute. Not even once did it seem like they were intimidated or unfocused. They were like a machine, and nothing was going to stop them.

At least two headers, yet no goals

I have not yet heard if Zapata made it out of the San Siro alive or home safely, but his three minutes of infamy will not be forgotten any time soon. First was his own goal in the 23rd, as his header from a Palermo corner left Diego Lopez with nothing to do, even though he tried. 1-0 Palermo. I know last year Zapata was really wanting to score those headers, but he should have stuck with the Power Squat Headers™ (thanks DeekMonn) and especially in the proper goal. Shattered.

A mere three minutes later, he was beaten badly by Dybala, who had managed to take a shot in between the goals as well. And when I say Zapata was beaten, he was left falling over himself in the dust, and may have even gotten a bit of Dybala’s heel in the face in his clumsy efforts to stop the striker. But with Dybala clear on goal like that, again, there was nothing that Lopez could do to stop the well-placed shot. 2-0 Palermo.

Perhaps he is the man of the match?

But before you go looking for Zapata, keep in mind that this was only a three minute span in a match where nearly everyone played poorly for all 90 minutes. We had zero shots on goal in the first half, took a total of 14 shots the whole match, but with only three on goal. Sorrentino was barely tested. This was nearly criminal considering our attack, and especially when, after subbing El Shaarawy on for Poli at the half and Pazzini on for Honda in the 68th, we were basically playing a 4-2-4. Shattered.

The yellows for De Jong in the 17th, El Shaarawy for diving in the 51st, and Rami in the 88th for showing the passion everyone else was missing (albeit in the wrong way,) will hurt as they accumulate again. Rami is fast becoming my personal hero, not just for nonchalantly picking up the flare and tossing it off at Cagliari midweek. He also was getting pushed off the ball by Quaison late in the match and walked up to face the Palermo player, but instead of yelling or shoving or worse, he offered a wink and a little kiss in his direction. Quaison didn’t bug him anymore.  

Torres upon realizing that even Matri scored today

But after a match where they managed to look like schoolchildren playing professionals, having come in as the fourth place team hosting the fifteenth place team, the most disturbing part of the whole debacle were the postmatch comments. No one had any idea what exactly went wrong, least of all Inzaghi. I mean Zapata’s double errors were responsible for the goals, but if you watched the match, you had to know those goals were coming somehow, and Milan increasingly seemed less likely to score as the match went on. I expected some improvement in the second half, but I think they played a little better in the first half, to be honest. Shattered.

Inzaghi’s comments were particularly naïve and disturbing. He said that this was like humble pie and would do the team some good, but for us fans, it was more like a road apple pie. Where grinta had gotten us this far, it seemed like Inzaghi’s inspiration had run out and we were left with the hodge podge group of has-beens that Galliani gifted us with this year. And I know Inzaghi said all along that lacking the actual talent, this team would win on grit and determination. But talent is something you don’t lose. When the grinta tank runs on empty, your results are empty, too. Like getting blanked by a team that played in Serie B last season. At home.

Have they already forgotten what it is to wear the Milan shirt?

Inzaghi had said midweek that we should not look at the table, but perhaps he and the boys should have. They would have noticed that Milan were in a European spot and our opponents were in fifteenth. Then maybe they would have come into the match realizing the danger and played as if they wanted to stay in that European spot. Instead, Palermo’s hunger to move up the table propelled them to a solid and convincing victory over a team that had been a “revelation” this season. The only revelation today is that this is the game we expected to see with this summer’s signings. The grinta has run out, and we are left with players who have injury issues, who have struggled to pass and work well with teammates, who have been inconsistent or worse. I can only hope that despite not knowing why we lost today, Inzaghi is right about the humble pie and maybe that grinta can be refilled. Soon. Because certainly that fairy tale beginning to our season has now been shattered.


This post inspired by the music of The Sundays’ “Here’s Where the Story Ends”


Our next match is the
Trofeo Berlusconi
Milan vs. San Lorenzo
Wednesday, November 5 • 20:30 CET (2:30pm EST)