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Torino 1, Milan 1: Highway Robbery


So many Milan fans are still completely melting down after another horrific loss by their European elite squad in this Champions League final (I didn’t even realize we lost or had that kind of squad or were playing a final, but apparently we did and we do and it was.) However, I feel the need to personally apologize to Torino, who played an immense game and were seriously robbed to take only the point. Milan were so very lucky to get the goal, and to stave off the barrage of shots to only concede the one goal, especially in Torino’s house. So sorry, Torino. You’ve fallen victim to a highway robbery.

They definitely look capable of highway robbery, except those hideous kits

In the preview, I may have pointed out Rocchi’s contributions to Milan’s success in the past. In the second minute, he proved me right again, awarding a penalty to Menez that was a little soft, or at least Menez sold the little shirt tug well. To be fair, it was technically a penalty. But not every ref would have given it. So it’s easy to see why Torino fans felt robbed when Menez took the penalty in the third minute and converted it. 1-0 Milan. If it makes us feel a little better, OptaPaolo tweeted a stat that Glik has conceded the most penalties over the last three seasons, for a total of six. But I doubt that consoles the Torino fans.

Diego Lopez’ tough day at the office began in the eighth minute, with a shot from Farnerud, and 26 shots later, he was lucky to only concede the one goal. Well, it was more than luck, he was completely epic tonight. Absolutely brilliant, hands down our MOTM. I mean 26 shots? What keeper survives that? And some of them were just fantastic, some point blank in 1v1 situations. I hope that he feels like a hero tonight, because he certainly was my hero in this match.

Superhuman, Superhero, and probably super frustrated

I can’t feel bad for Torino if they didn’t like Glik’s yellow in the 16th for a dirty elbow to Menez’ head. Except that Muntari’s rugby style tackle on Quagliarella one minute earlier was not similarly rewarded. Neither was Menez’ jump into Moretti’s back with his hip five minutes later carded, which was very dangerous play if I ever saw it (and a challenge from behind.) So yeah, maybe I do feel a little bad for Torino.

It wasn’t all bad luck for Torino, though. Gazzi caught Niang in the family jewels with his knee in the 24th. Ouch. Bad luck for Milan again when De Sciglio got a yellow for a challenge on Darmian in the 30th. Another yellow for Niang in the 42nd for a very rash challenge on Moretti. And two minutes later, he fell awkwardly while challenging Darmian, I really hope his shoulder is okay. But the worst luck was in the third minute of stoppage time, when Darmian outsmarted and beat De Sciglio, who fell for it and fouled him from behind, earning his second yellow and putting the team down to ten men. That also forced Inzaghi’s hand to sacrifice someone to be able to bring Abate on, and with Niang injured, he was the one to leave in the fourth minute of stoppage time. A shame, as he had been great.

God may be forgiving, but a referee is not.

Muntari, who had actually had at least a tackle or two that were uncharacteristically good in the first half, started the second half with a killer tackle on Peres to earn his yellow card. One thing I’ve noticed about Inzaghi is that even though he usually starts Muntari when available, he typically subs him off once he gets that first yellow, and wisely so. Basically, this yellow forced Inzaghi’s second sub, when he brought on Poli for the Killer in the 55th. What happened next was disgraceful, as Muntari threw a two year old tantrum on the bench, for all the world to see. Maybe that was the only good thing about wearing those hideous yellow kits – people may not recognize him as a Milan player. Good thing Inzaghi subbed him off, though. That kind of rage on the pitch would have seen us go down another man.

The barrage of shots from Torino continued, and their five man midfield completely stifled our slow if not completely static midfield, and also kept our fullbacks occupied. In effect, our attack could have used some Cialis, we just couldn’t get the ball up… the pitch. I saw so many people angry/puzzled as to why Inzaghi chose to sub Menez off for Alex in the 79th. But it’s not at all unheard of. Having his other subs forced, and not being able to make just one sub to make a difference in attack while being down to ten men for 45 minutes (as well as being up a goal,) he brought Alex on to help protect the threat of headers. Sadly ironic, then, that we conceded a header from a corner from their thug captain, Glik no less, in the 81st. 1-1 all.

The man is a menace to society. And our scoreline.

People blame Inzaghi’s sub, but it was Darmian being subbed off immediately before the corner that made the difference (or so I want to believe.) His ten years in Milan’s youth system apparently prevented him from scoring against us, including that header that hit the post in the 31st. And to further sell my superstition, his replacement, Lescano, was right next to Glik, jumping up for the same ball on the goal. But even if you are not superstitious, you have to admit that Darmian was absolutely brilliant. Another reminder of Milan’s failure to their commitment to youth. He is certainly better than many of our current players.

Rocchi did show us a little more mercy before the final whistle. Bonaventura was whistled for a bookable foul in the 84th, then yelled at Rocchi and threw the ball to the ground in anger, which is typically a second yellow. So truly, if anyone should regret this match, it is Torino. They were robbed of justice more than once.

Okay, the shirt tug was real, but it was still soft

I seriously don’t understand the entitlement and displaced anger from fellow Milan fans after this match. Was it frustrating? Of course. Playing on ten men is always frustrating. But if you could go back one year in time and see this game, you would be thankful for 1) Diego Lopez; 2) That we defended a whopping 26 shots; 3) That we got the point, especially away. Why those points aren’t being made this year is beyond me. Sure, blame Inzaghi’s tactics, when he was forced into them by Niang’s injury and De Sciglio’s sending off. Blame him for our midfield, who still can’t get the ball forward. Blame him for the set piece conceding disease and its accompanying defense that he inherited… while you’re at it, let’s blame him retroactively for all of the set pieces over the last however many years. Why not even blame him for the ridiculously horrible kits, which likely had more impact on the game? It's all the same.

We spend all week long agonizing over our poor quality squad and the terrible transfer decisions being made. But then suddenly on game day, we expect those same players to win everything? Remember the last podcast, we talked about how dangerous these games are? Teams in the lower half of the table have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We are still growing as a team, and with so much turnover in our squad, we’re lucky that they even know each other’s names.

Yes, that is Muntari throwing a water bottle. Vergogna

I just don’t understand why the expectations get less realistic for every match, it’s like we’ve become masochists and enjoy flogging ourselves. Or maybe we think that the magic mercato fairy has come overnight and exchanged our squad for truly talented players. Our team isn’t going to turn into Real Madrid just because we got lucky and beat them in a friendly. Our team is poor. And we actually defended really well tonight. Lopez has an incredible game, and we played really well for having to play the entire second half on ten men. We got the point, which we really didn’t even deserve. Inzaghi did what he could, but as he already told us, he doesn’t have a magic wand. If you think he does, then you are setting yourself up for your own disappointment.

I can’t get behind the 'sack Inzaghi, he’s terrible' movement. I refuse to believe that if only Cerci could have played for that 15 minutes, not only would we have not conceded, but we would have scored, too. We couldn’t get the ball forward if our lives depended on it, and it’s just not logical and doesn’t fit anything we have seen in real life. I miss the time when my fellow Milan fans could look beyond those rash ideas and see that Milan were lucky, and that it was Torino who were robbed. But I guess if Muntari and Bonaventura can have their tantrums, I’ve got to let the fans have theirs, too. So sad. Somehow we are claiming to be the victims in this scenario, and putting the blame in the wrong places. Torino should be the ones crying highway robbery.


This post inspired by the music from the motion picture “Frozen”


Our next match is
Coppa Italia
Milan vs. Sassuolo
Tuesday, January 13 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)