When we met Carpi in the league in December, we were unable to pry the three points from their little relegation zone hands. In fact, it was one of our worst performances of the season. While I know you’re thinking that Captain Zaccardo just brings the worst out in us, and you’d be right, this is different. We have the easy road to the Coppa Italia final, and if we miraculously win that, we would automatically qualify for the Europa League. It would be ridiculous to waste that opportunity. And while there are technically no easy roads, nor do I even want to think about what dark and sinister fate could await us in the final should we get past Carpi and then Spezia/Alessandria, we have to give this everything we’ve got. It’s now or never.
|Will our unlikely hero from Saturday get another chance to prove his worth?|
Since we last met our old pals Captain Zaccardo and Borriello, their record in the league is L-L-D-W, with their latest win coming on Saturday vs. Udinese. However, they also managed to stun Fiorentina and knock them out of the Coppa Italia. It’s like playing Russian Roulette when you face them… there are five empty chambers, but will we be the team that gets the sixth one?
Udinese certainly took the bullet on Saturday with their 2-1 loss to Carpi in Modena. The first goal was historic, too, as Lorenzo Pasciuti became the first player ever to score for the same team in Serie D, Serie C2, Serie C1, Serie B, and Serie A. So let’s hope he doesn’t want to add the Coppa Italia to his scoring resumé. For their win, Castori lined up Belec; Letizia, Zaccardo, Gagliolo, S. Romagnoli,; Cofie, Bianco, Di Gaudio, Pasciuti; Lollo, and Mbakogu. It looks like he will be missing Matos, Benussi, Bubnjic, and Fedele to injuries. With all of the non-STD rumors surrounding Borriello, I had hoped he would have left before we met them again, but that does not appear to be our luck.
|Zaccardo with our birthday boy... maybe he'll get his Romagnolis confused?|
Meanwhile, there is much speculation about Mihajlovic’ job, which I simply don’t understand. The man even teaches his players midgame, teaching kicking techniques with water bottles from the sideline. That’s dedication. He will still be missing Diego Lopez and Balotelli, although with Menez training with the team now, I suppose he might make the bench. It is unclear as of this writing whether Alex has recovered from his illness. But certainly having rested some players on Sunday, Mihajlovic shouldn’t want for much in his starting lineups. Well, okay, it is the mercato, and there is probably a list of players he wants to have, but let’s be real for a moment, these are the players he’ll have at his disposal.
|San Siro have ordered extra security for water bottles to protect them from this man|
Expect a poor first half. Because, you know, that’s how we roll. But we should rock the second half. Maybe if our players can distract Captain Zaccardo by asking him to pose for selfies, it will give us the advantage we need to pull this one off. And we’d have lots of tweets from Zaccardo to look forward to as well. We have done surprisingly well in the Coppa so far, and the Milan players seem to be the only ones in all of Italy who care about it, so there is that. But it will take more than just some interest and a good second half to avoid the bullet that Carpi could have in store for us. Especially with the unwritten law of the exes against us, too. But if we want this fast track to the final, we’ve got to take it. It’s a gift that has been wrapped and handed to us on a silver platter, and it’s now or never.
This post inspired by the music of Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never”
Coppa Italia Quarterfinals
Milan vs. Carpi
Wednesday, January 13 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
This match will NOT be broadcast LIVE in the US