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Milan 2, Sassuolo 1: We’re Not Superheroes


In the preview post, I described Sassuolo as our kryptonite. But I also begged the question: Are Milan players superheroes? If we were superheroes, Sassuolo would have power over us, like they have in the past. And although the ultimate Milan kryptonite, Berardi, did score on us, Sassuolo’s kryptonite still didn’t have enough power over us to defeat us this time. So, no surprise, I guess we’re not superheroes.

If only they played as intensely as they celebrated, there might be more to celebrate

If you looked at the way the team played, especially in the first half, you would think that they were both underwater and being affected by kryptonite. And considering that Consigli was sent off in the 29th for taking down Bacca, leaving Sassuolo on ten men for 60 minutes, you would absolutely hope that Milan were under the influence of something with the way they played. Despite Bacca’s clinical penalty in the 31st that put Milan up 1-0, it was difficult to tell which team was down a man. There was a special deal where you could go to the Serie A site and buy autographed jerseys of the Milan players during this match, essentially selling our shirts. Which was interesting, because it definitely seemed like these were players for hire… only they weren’t worried about getting paid.

Their performance was predicted by the Curva Sud, who put up banners at the beginning of the match, including “A coach who with words is a great sergeant, but on the pitch and locker room has changed nothing.” Or the ones calling Galliani a “plucked” condor, or declaring that “nobody can save us.” I say predicted, but fans worldwide know what to expect based on the past three years of performances. Besides, Mihajlovic has changed one thing: he’s willing to play the young players. Like giving Donnarumma his first Serie A start at the tender age of 16 years and 8 months old, only 34 days older than Paolo Maldini was when he played his first match for Milan. He is also the 2nd youngest goalie ever to play in Serie A, 50 days older than Gianluca Pacchiarotti when he started for Pescara in 1980. So see? There is some faith in youth. That has changed. Just obviously not enough change yet for the fans, or Silvio Berlusconi, who has told every microphone he can find this week that he spent €150m on this team this year. Don’t know how else to say it, Silvio, but that’s just poor business on your part.

"This situation is embarrassing, there is no one who can save us."

In the second half, Milan might have had some realization that they had the man advantage, I’m not sure. I mean we had Montolivo and Cerci on the pitch, I don’t know if they count as men in the first place. But in the 53rd, Berardi took a free kick that seemed to affect them somehow, as he scored on the young keeper’s debut to equalize, despite his team being on ten men. 1-1 all. Ouch.

I think Mihajlovic decided to wake them up with a sub after that, as he brought our second of only two available strikers on for Poli, who had been entirely ineffective anyway. Even Cerci tried harder after that, and some people say he had an okay game. I disagree wholeheartedly, especially when you consider his postmatch comments about taking on defenders one on one being his mission on the pitch. Unless his mission was also to be dispossessed every single time by said defenders and put in crosses to the advertising boards, then I don’t feel he was successful at all.

Okay, maybe he's a superhero

We also had Montolivo firing off a few of his pointless LRS™ (long range shots,) and generally lulling the team into complacency. And Romagnoli, who I think may be some kind of a killer, trying to take out Defrel with a shin to the face with a high kick. He’s a little disturbingly indifferent when he fouls someone, I’m a little frightened, to be honest. We also saw a lot of shots – 21 in all – many of which went over the crossbar, so it’s clear that these guys are training with Kevin Prince Boateng again. Especially when only three of those were on goal (counting the penalty,) it is clear that this Milan is not improving at all at finishing.

But one player finished and finished well. After the introduction of Bertolacci, who came on for the also ineffective Kuco today, Adriano headed a corner kick in with laser precision in the 86th for the win. 2-1 Milan. I’m sure he just wanted to prove me wrong after I said he might not work well in the 4-3-3, but whatever the reason, his celebratory roar expressed what a lot of us jaded and demoralized Milan fans were feeling at taking the lead back so near the end of the game. And even more so when the final whistle blew and we had actually achieved all three points. Especially with that awful performance.

Gamewinner

To be perfectly honest, the best performance of the night was Rocchi, who only gave out one red and four yellows in this match. I think that might be a record low for him. Also hats off to the Curva Sud, who despite their protests early on, cheered for and applauded the players during the game, like Mihajlovic had asked them to. Cerci especially was appreciative of their applause, as no one had done that for him in a long time (and with good reason.) But despite the fans being appreciative, Silvio Berlusconi paid a visit to the Sassuolo locker room to commend them and their coach (or was he vetting the coach and players?) Someone also made the mistake of allowing Balotelli and Menez to sit together in the stands, resulting in much laughter and smiles throughout the match. I thought Balotelli was only allowed to do that when he scores. Put the man in jail.

The bottom line is we are definitely not superheroes. This team is so average, it’s nauseating, or at least their efforts are average. It was so hard to stomach at 7am my time. But at least it was three points, which bumped us up to 10th from 13th, and kept Allegri’s Juventus below us, as they should be. Now we have just a couple of days to turn around and prepare for Chievo on Wednesday, who also sit one point behind us and will want revenge after being bested by Napoli today. But today’s performance showed us that nothing’s changed, and also that we’re not superheroes. And that you don’t have to be superheroes or even play respectably to get three points.


This post inspired by the music of Danny Elfman


Our next match is
Milan vs. Chievo
Wednesday, October 28 • 20:45 CET (3:45pm EDT)*
*Note the time difference due to European Daylight Savings Time change