The Resistance won a small battle today. And by small battle, I mean we manage to beat the 18th place team with only two goals conceded. But there were some other victories, too. Like taking 23 shots, with ten of those on target. According to @OptaPaolo, we haven’t made ten shots on target since November of 2013. Maybe not the ‘missing piece of the map to the last Jedi master’ victory, but a substantial accomplishment for a team that is still in such turmoil. And an accomplishment worthy of ‘destroying a weapon of the First Order’ would be the fact that Milan won a match from a trailing situation for the first time this season. That was almost epic. And so “hope is not lost today,” and neither was the game.
|Wait, Abate scored? Now I know the force is real.|
The first half was classic Milan. All season long, the players are so scared of their own shadows for the first half. To the point that Montolivo just stood there and watched the Frosinone player pass a through ball to an open teammate, Daniel Ciofani, to be exact, and easily score in the 19th minute. 1-0 Frosinone. The complacency with which our Captain concedes goals makes me think he must be a spy for the First Order. Also the complacency with which he shoots from distance, almost never finding the back of the net (and then probably only unintentionally,) like he did in the 31st. Where there is a goal conceded by Milan, there is usually a complacent captain looking on, standing, walking, or sauntering after it.
Not complacent were Niang and Bacca, who fired a shot and took a rebound respectively, both saved back to back in the 8th minute in a very impressive display of goalkeeping skills by Leali. Bonaventura made several attempts, including a free kick at the end of the half, but all shots were blocked, saved, or just wide. And Donnarumma was called into action as well, making a couple of important saves to keep the score within reach.
|That's right, canary. Bow down before him.|
I don’t know if Mihajlovic put a panettone in a noose in the dressing room at the half or what, but they played very, very differently. Cards for Niang in the 49th, Romagnoli in the 60th, and even Donnarumma picked one up for timewasting in the 83rd. But that showed the fight that the guys had. And speaking of fight, how great was Abate’s equalizer in the 50th? 1-1 all. The force is strong with him. Actually, he really upped his game after the goal, it was awesome to watch. And the assist was from Honda, who showed today unequivocally why he should be starting ahead of Cerci, even if he is playing out of position on the wing.
|Why would you mess with a wookiee?|
Five minutes later, Chewie scored his eighth goal of the season, assisted by Bonaventura. 2-1 Milan. And with more bravery from Donnarumma, the Resistance was gaining power. Niang tried everything to get on the scoreboard, but it was actually his cross from a corner in the 77th that gave Alex the fabulous header to put his name on the board. 3-1 Milan, and Niang with the assist. But lest you think that anyone was ready to be a Jedi just yet, in the 83rd, we conceded a goal on a free kick, a header from the unmarked Dionisi. 3-2 Milan. If that gives you hives, relax. We’ve conceded very few goals on set pieces this year, and we also scored from a set piece to bring some balance to the force. Or at least some consolation to Frosinone fans.
The final key to this battle was in stoppage time. Poli, having been subbed on for Chewie in the 90th, sent the ball into Bonaventura, who was one of our best players yet again, and he sent it into the back of the net in the 93rd to make it 4-2 Milan.
|Confession: "I did all of this for that panettone... mmmm...." #FakeQuotes|
Can you feel it? There is an awakening… not in the force so much, but maybe with the fans. Every time Milan play well, even for only one half, there is a sense of renewed hope. Maybe too much hope. People need to ease up on the eggnog and keep their senses about them. But as a Christmas gift, a victory in the battle for good, and a terrible Star Wars analogy for the third post in a row (be sure to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in theaters now,) it’s impossible as a Milan fan not to feel good about this win. Not only for the three points, but for the dominance in the second half. That’s right, I said dominance. As it pertains to Milan. I’m not going to say we’ve saved the galaxy, or even turned a corner. But Milan did well today. And that’s the way to go out on a Christmas break. Hope was not lost today. May the force be with you. (seriously, go see the movie already, it’s awesome!)
This post inspired by JJ Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
My lawyers have asked me to tell you that I was not paid at all for any endorsements by Disney, Lucas Films, or the Star Wars franchise. I am simply a Star Wars nerd who loved the new film (and maybe had a little too much eggnog.)
Stay tuned for an all new Milan Obsession Podcast!!