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Coppa Italia • Milan vs. Perugia: Chocolate Dreams


On Monday, Mihajlovic and this new Milan team play their first competitive match. It is the third round of the Coppa Italia, an early entrance to this competition due to our poor form last season. We will face Perugia, the Serie B team that defeated Reggiana 3-1 last week to earn their trip to the San Siro. However important it will be to win and move to the next round, I must confess that I am seriously distracted by this one. You see Perugia is where the famous Perugina chocolate factory is. And they make the most delicious chocolates, including Baci, perhaps my favorite chocolate in the world. So while most of the Milan community will be thinking about lineups and possible outcomes, I will probably not be my usual Milan obsessed self, I’ll be immersed in my chocolate dreams.

In Perugia, for Euro Chocolate, they made a gigantic chocolate Italy. This distracts me.

Sorry, I keep getting distracted. Perugia’s football team has a lot of interesting stories behind it, including multiple bankruptcies and comebacks, but their best ever finish in Serie A was second place in 1978-79. Still, they are on the rise right now and cannot be underestimated. It is interesting to note that there are a few former Milan players who also played for Perugia, like former goalkeeper Kalac, who came to us from there. Also, Sebastiano Rossi, our legendary former keeper, played a season at Perugia after he left Milan. But lest you underestimate this little club with the chocolate factory nearby, it is of note that Gennaro Gattuso came through their youth ranks and began his senior career there, too. I wonder if he likes Perugina chocolate?

But chocolate aside for a minute, Perugia’s current roster looks like a retirement club for some very familiar former Serie A players. Well, and half of them are currently on loan from Serie A teams, too, many of them young players getting experience. For their match vs. Reggina, Coach Andrea Camplone lined up Rosati; Comotto, Marco Rossi, Alhassan, Mancini; Rizzo, Salifu, Di Carmine, Lanzafame; Ardemagni, and Fabinho. Substitutes included Alexis Zapata and Rodrigo Taddei, a couple of names that also may sound familiar. You know what else sounds familiar to me? Those luscious Perugina chocolate eggs they make for Easter. Mmmmm…. Dark chocolate…

Wait, how did this picture get here? There's no chocolate in this picture!

Focus, Elaine, focus. I am sure that Mihajlovic will not be distracted by the luscious, perfect little chocolate and hazelnut confections in the silver and blue foil that have the little quotes transltated into different languages. No, I’ve definitely got that covered for him. Instead, I know he will line up our best eleven for this one, not taking any chances. The Coppa Italia (also known around here as the Precious,) is a great trophy for us to aim for this year. And not just because we’ve been saying that the past couple of years as a way to make mediocrity seem elevated somehow. But rather if you look at the table, we have a relatively easy road to the semifinals compared to teams like Napoli, Juve, Inter, and Lazio. And for once this year, the Coppa Italia won’t be our only objective. We will also be gorging ourselves on chocolate… wait, that’s just me… we also have a much more realistic chance of returning to Champions League next season. And that’s not just Galliani spinning words this time, our team is by far the most competitive we’ve seen at Milan in two or maybe even three years. Speaking of years, it’s been too many since I had like a whole box of Baci to myself. I need to go shopping before the game on Monday.

Some see a plate of chocolates, I see lunch.

Do chocolate calories count if you are eating them to support your team? I guess I’ll know if I get on the scale come Tuesday. But on Monday for 90 minutes, I’m pretty sure I can suppress my chocolate urges to watch my team play (there’s always halftime to scarf down a whole chocolate bar, plus the before and after Baci.) This game is more important than you might think as it is a must win (how embarrassing would that be, to be eliminated in August?) But it will also set the tone for our competitive season. Up until now, Mihajlovic has done a great job at giving time to everyone, but now we will see him honing his starting 11 and also see how he subs in a real match. We’ll see if our newly discovered ability to score will be accessible when it counts, and if his conditioning and his defensive phase coaching for the whole squad helps keep us from conceding. It may be “just” a Serie B team and “just” the Coppa Italia, but it is important for the mentality of this team, as well as us fans. You know what else is good for your mentality? Chocolate. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to start supporting my team now. There’s a lot of chocolate to eat and dream about between now and kickoff.


This post inspired by luscious, decadent, sinfully amazing chocolate


Coppa Italia Third Round
Milan vs. Perugia
Monday, August 17 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)

This match is NOT being broadcast in the U.S.