This match is quite ironic. Milan have already played a couple of rounds in this year’s Coppa Italia because of our poor finish in the league last season. While for Sampdoria, they have both home advantage and the distinction of joining the Coppa Italia now in the fifth round because of how well they finished last year. Which is largely because of their coach last season, one Sinisa Mihajlovic. So now, with a couple of mindnumbing performances in the league as well as barely scraping past Crotone in the fourth round, that same Mihajlovic brings a mentally weak Milan to Genoa to face his former club in a do or die competition on Thursday. The same former club that Milan arguably had one of their best performances against a few weeks ago in the league, winning 4-1 at the San Siro. But the tables are kind of turned now, with Sampdoria finally showing signs of life under new coach Montella and Milan showing quite the opposite with Mihajlovic. And with us having to go to the Marassi, there is no room for complacency.
|"Wait, we're away to my ex-team because of me?"|
Montella, aka Mihajlovic’s shadow, saw his club steal points from Lazio on Monday with a goal in stoppage time to equalize. For that match, he lined up Viviano; Moisander, Regini, De Silvestri, Zukanovic; Fernando, Barreto, Soriano; Christodoulopoulos, Carbonero, and Cassano. It’s hard to know how he’ll line up on Thursday, given the need to rest players after playing on Monday and then again this coming weekend. But he is also definitely going to want to win this one, a feat that seems much more plausible with the results since the 4-1 thumping we humiliated his team with recently. He will only be missing Eder and Krsticic to injury, too. For pride alone, he’ll want the victory, so he may take some risks in the lineup.
Mihajlovic, in addition to missing Antonelli, Lopez, and Menez to long term injury, was hoping to have Balotelli back for Thursday. However, both Balotelli and Alex missed training on Tuesday due to illness, so both are now in doubt. Despite the fantastic performance and win when we hosted Sampdoria, Mihajlovic has quickly seen his team’s mentality turn them into the underdogs in this match. It will be crucial to maintain focus and be clinical in goal, while also resting players for Sunday’s league match. And the Marassi is one of the most formidable stadiums to travel to, even when your team is playing well and consistently. But if he wants to win the Coppa Italia, he will have to field a team that can pull this one off, or we go home.
|First the injury, then the surgery, and now illness... if he beats them all, he could be the gamechanger|
Whatever is going on in the league, with the squad, and even with management, this is not a game that can simply be brushed aside. Milan need this win for confidence, for strengthening their bench players, and for any hope of retaining some credibility this season. If we beat Sampdoria so convincingly less than three weeks ago, but play as poorly as we have since then, but this time in their house, we will be taking many steps backward, as well as give up on our only hope of a real trophy this year. So whatever you think of the Coppa Italia, rest assured that there is no room for complacency on Thursday.
Happy 116th Birthday, Milan!!
On December 16th, 1899, Milan Cricket and Football Club was formed. 116 years later, I’m not sure if Herbert Kilpin would approve of what has become of his club these days. But I’m sure he would look back at the 116 years as a whole and be truly amazed at what AC Milan has accomplished.
To that end, to celebrate Milan’s birthday, I am asking that you let us know in the comment section what it is about Milan you love, or maybe how you fell in love. Heaven knows that Milan could use a little love these days.
This post inspired by the ups and downs of 116 years of the club of my heart
Coppa Italia 5th Round
Sampdoria vs Milan
Thursday, December 17 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
This match is NOT being shown LIVE in the U.S.