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Sampdoria 2, Milan 2: The Long Way Home

The match everyone was watching to see which Milan would show up for did not disappoint. Four goals, five yellow cards, a red card, and plenty of action, it was certainly not boring. And while there were great moments like El Shaarawy breaking his goalless streak, there were plenty of question marks about the squad, their performance, Inzaghi, his eyesight, and our chances of making it back “home” to European competition. I think Milan have opted to take the long way home.

Il Faraone strikes true to break his drought

El Shaarawy started the match off with a stunningly beautiful goal in the 10th minute. 1-0 Milan. He hadn’t scored in Serie A since February of 2013, and I was nearly moved to tears with his joy in having broken his drought. And he did it while Conte was in the stands watching, too. So I would like to invite Conte to attend all of Milan’s games, as De Sciglio also played better than he has been this season. Their desire to play for Italy seems to have benefitted Milan, I’m happy for both Milan and Italy.

From there, the Bonera show really took over. In the 27th, he received his token yellow for a dumb foul. (Mexes, not to be outdone, also very much earned one in the 36th.) In stoppage time of the first half, Okaka scored for Sampdoria while Bonera was “marking” him. 1-1 all. Not to say that anyone else necessarily would have done better, only that most of our conceded goals this year have Bonera as the common denominator.

Everyone is happy when El Shaarawy scores like that

In the 51st, Sampdoria scored again, this time it was Eder’s quick reflexes on a rebound from an Obiang shot that hit the post. 2-1 Sampdoria. There were some questions as to whether or not Eder was offside, but he wasn’t. According to FIFA’s definition of offside, he would have been had he been “playing a ball that rebounds to him off a post or crossbar, having previously been in an offside position.” But when Obiang took the shot, he was kept onside by Honda, so the ref and his team got it right by allowing the goal. Incidentally, the play was from a corner. Again.

Thank goodness Djamel Mesbah still has Milan in his heart, or maybe aspires to return to the club someday. It was his handling of the ball in the box in the 64th that gave Milan a penalty. So in the 65th, Menez stepped up and converted it, even if Deschamps was not there to watch him. 2-2 all.

Great penalty, now can you go back to passing to your teammates, please?

Things got extra friendly and the cards started flying, with De Sciglio earning his in the 75th and De Jong earning his in the 81st. (Maybe he’s looking to earn another day off to go to Disneyland?) But the crowning moment was when Captain Bonera, in his 400th professional match, was awarded a second yellow and thus sent off in the 85th. (insert ironic golf clap here.) Milan played the last few minutes on ten men, but I see it as a Bonera-free derby, and that is a beautiful thing to me. Unfortunately, Inzaghi saw it as Bonera having a good match, so we may want to schedule an eye exam for him very soon.

I really don’t like hating on someone I love, but Inzaghi is breaking my heart here. Lining up Bonera at left back in the first place was bad enough, but his subs were too little and too late and very questionable. He brought Torres on for Honda in the 59th, then Poli on for Menez in the 87th. Finally, van Ginkel stood on the sidelines the entire stoppage time and never even got to come on. So much for his appearances clause in his loan deal. I keep trying to remember that Inzaghi needs a learning curve, but at the same time, it’s hard to afford him that after all we’ve been through in recent years.

Quickly falling out of favor with the fans who love him so much

There were positives. Lopez played quite well overall, making some really great saves, particularly when you consider that Samp got 19 shots off, with eight of those being on target. Mexes made 26 steals in the match and only launched one Boateng-like shot into space. Also, he wasn’t wearing the braids, so that’s always a plus. Rami was also a beast, he and Mexes do play well together. Still, hoping Alex recovers quickly. Milan played so much better than they did vs. Palermo. The draw was perhaps fair, considering we were playing away. Although I think Sampdoria perhaps deserved the win, they outplayed us at least a little.

I’m so happy for il Faraone, and obviously hope the goal restores his confidence, because he was awesome today. However, this was not a Milan side that convinced us that the Palermo performance was a one-off. It is still a team that is growing, still a team that needs some more talent in several places. Despite people being excited by early performances this season, I fear that Milan have chosen to take the long way home.

This match inspired by the music of Supertramp’s “Take the Long Way Home”

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