Milan 2, Udinese 0: Mind Over Matter

There were several “events” in this match, any one of which one could point to and say they were game changers. Most of which involved one or more of the referees, of course. And there are those who say that Signore Valeri decided the outcome of the game. But I would remind them of Milan’s barrage of shots, 18 in all, at least six on target. Or how much time was spent with Milan attacking. Or even just how well Milan played overall. So even if some of the calls did not go our way, our boys put mind over matter, ignoring the poor reffing, and absolutely deserved the three points.

Winning despite those hideous kits is quite the accomplishment

The first “event” of course was Rami’s header in the 17th. Was it in? Did all of the ball cross all of the line? In a rare moment where goal line technology would have helped (and I am not sure the fifth and sixth officials did,) Valeri said no. The goal was not allowed. For some, Karnezis made the save of the season, for others, Rami was robbed. Either way, Valeri put himself under the microscope.

And he would stay under the microscope, too. However, Karma can be so very fickle. After a first half in which Karnezis was the MVP, suffering a barrage of shots from El Shaarawy, Menez, Honda, and even Bonaventura, the long arm of Valeri reached into the spotlight again, giving a red card to Domizzi for taking Honda down in the box in the 62nd, and also awarding a penalty to Milan in the process. Menez stepped up to take the penalty, cool as you like, and converted it in the 65th. 1-0 Milan. And Udinese were on ten men.

He didn't score, but he was my MOTM. Brilliant, il Faraone

That really did change the game. Whereas Milan had played on the attack in the first half, they were playing very conservatively until this point in the second half. As they started revving their attacking engines again, though, fate (aka Valeri) gave Essien a second yellow card in the 71st (he earned his first in the 54th for a foul on Guilherme,) and now both sides were on ten.

Now that both sides were even again, Menez decided to score again, this time from the run of play. So in the 75th, he shifted into gear and scored yet another beautiful goal with an assist by Bonaventura. 2-0 Milan. And if that goal did not convince you that Milan deserved to win, I really don’t know what will. For as much as the all powerful Valeri made some big calls that impacted the game, both teams were on ten men, and Milan simply played better, taking 3 times the shots that Udinese did.

You can argue the penalty if you like, but the second goal was undeniable class.

Inzaghi’s subs were good, with Pazzini coming on for Menez in the 80th. Which is funny, because Menez had a fever earlier in the day, and Pazzini was initially expected to start. But when the fever went down, Menez went back into the starting lineup and fate did the rest. Poli also came on for an exhausted looking Honda in the 82nd, and finally, captain Montolivo appeared in the 87th for van Ginkel, the former debuting after a six month absence due to a broken leg.

Milan definitely played better than Udinese. Whether or not they played great is subject to personal opinion. Inzaghi said it was their best match of the season, and I cannot argue with that. Amazing what happens with a more functional midfield, and especially once the least functioning part of that midfield (although Essien was actually playing pretty well) was sent off.

Must be a French thing

However, there were far too many missed chances. We executed very well in the beginning of the season when it came to shots on target. But our defense was a mess, so we conceded goals. Today, we wasted so many shots, but at least our defense held tight. In fact, Udinese apparently only got six shots off the whole match, with none of them on target, leaving Diego Lopez with nothing to do. A nice problem, but was it our defense playing well? Or Udinese’s offense playing not so well? We will be tested against a high flying Genoa this week, and I sincerely hope we discover that it was our defense’s credit.

The much maligned van Ginkel finally got most of a game to show what he was made of, and he did well enough. So did Armero, who had perhaps fallen into Allegri’s old vault or something, but was lined up from the start when De Sciglio was out. And speaking of players who were out, we won and kept a clean sheet without Abate, Alex, De Sciglio, De Jong, and Muntari. The last being most notable, of course, because even when Essien got red carded, we were still able to keep a clean sheet and take all three points without The Killer. But very impressive to have backups to play that well for all of the others.

The captain salutes the fans after a brief debut back from injury

It was an interesting match. Not the greatest game ever played, but probably our best of the season. With the clean sheet and three points on top of it all, I cannot really complain. With all of the “events” involving Signore Valeri, it’s hard to sing Inno Milan at the top of my lungs, despite a courageous display from our boys. But if they keep improving like this, it won’t be long before nothing can stop me from belting it out after a convincing win. After a disheartening ref call that impacted the score, they took mind over matter and grabbed the three points. I’ll take it.

This post inspired by the music of John Williams’ “Call of the Champions”

Our next match is
Genoa vs. Milan
Sunday, December 7 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)

Milan 2, Udinese 0: Mind Over Matter Milan 2, Udinese 0: Mind Over Matter Reviewed by Elaine on 3:54 PM Rating: 5
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