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Milan 2, Empoli 1: Ugly Win


If anyone still thinks that we played as poorly vs. Fiorentina last week as we did last year, I’d like to submit Exhibit A: tonight’s game. Aside from two beautiful goals, the team played really horribly. And those goals not only gave us the victory, but were the only thing setting this team apart from last year’s team. Much worse than we played away last week, results aside, and so very disappointing. There isn’t much to say but that it was an ugly win.

Three points, two goals, and not a lot more

Mihajlovic had warned us that we were going for results, not beautiful football, but even he did not seem happy about the way we played at all. And I can’t blame him. This team looked nothing like the team we saw in the summer or even last week. The goals aside, the only positive I can find in the match was that not a single Milan player got carded. But that was probably because very few players fought hard enough to earn one. I preferred us last week playing 60 minutes on 10 men, because at least all 10 players played like men.

But there were a couple of beautiful moments. Like in the 16th minute, when Adriano sent a beautiful ball forward from the other half to Chewie (Bacca), who was between two defenders and just burst forward dribbling toward goal, and despite Skorupski’s best efforts, sent it screaming in to open the scoring. 1-0 Milan. And if his goal was explosive and exciting, his celebration was humble and inspiring, as he simply acknowledged his god and his family, then hugged his teammates. While at the other end, Diego Lopez erupted in a giant cheer, probably just excited that someone else on the team had done something concrete in the game besides him.

He certainly played with heart

Of course, Lopez was unfortunately bested just four minutes later, when De Sciglio didn’t control his pass to him, and Maccarone sent it in to Saponara, who easily beat a sleeping defense and a De Jong that couldn’t quite catch him to equalize in the 20th. 1-1. Saponara didn’t really celebrate, although he did point… probably to Galliani, the most hated man of the night. I can imagine Saponara dedicating that goal to him.

After bringing the new signing Kucka on for the Noce at halftime, who had sadly been better than his counterpart, Bertolacci, and then subbing Bonaventura on for Suso ten minutes later, things seemed to stabilize a little bit. But that’s not saying much. At least Mihajlovic gets credit for bringing on Bonaventura, as it was his corner kick that Adriano masterfully headed in in the 69th to make it 2-1 Milan. Adriano did very well the whole match, he was even WhoScored’s MOTM. Finally, in the 83rd, Bertolacci had picked up a knock and was holding his shoulder, so Poli came on for him, meaning no Balotelli tonight.

Lethal.

So two steps backwards, or maybe a lot more. With more talent and over €80m spent this summer we are up two goalscorers, but playing just as badly as last year. That is never good. Particularly when you consider the Derby is just after the international break. And if that doesn’t depress you enough, the close of the mercato is Monday, meaning Kucka may well have been Galliani’s big Galliani Day™ signing. No idea how he really improves the team, other than having a name that is fun to make fun of in other languages. And that’s about as positive as it gets this time. Well, okay, I’ll give you that the question of Adriano & Chewie being able to partner or score has been answered. But there’s nothing else to smile about when you manage the ugly win.


This post inspired by the music of NIN’s “Terrible Lie”


Our next match is a friendly
Mantova vs. Milan
Thursday, September 3 • 19:00 CEST (1pm EDT)