There were two teams in the Stadio Olimpico today. One that was determined to get to the Coppa Italia final, and one that got an away goal. The first are just an inspiration in their Coppa run. Alessandria only have a little over 90,000 fans. But there were nearly 20,000 of them at the stadium for this historic match. That’s over 20% of their city’s population that turned up. When you compare that with Milan’s entitled, boycott-happy fans, it’s really embarrassing. Perhaps the only thing more embarrassing than Milan’s performance in comparison with a very determined Alessandria.
|A fortunate penalty saved even deeper humiliation|
I am honestly running out of ways to say Milan sucked. Boateng seemed to be back visiting his Schalke friends or something, and Adriano seemed to be catching a few more sites in China. Poli ran a lot, but didn’t do much else. Except for taking those two shots, which were the closest Milan came to scoring on the run of play. Zapata stayed on his feet and didn’t concede any goals, so that was actually a success. Romagnoli did well enough, and Antonelli gave a great performance. Mauri did quite well before being subbed off, and Honda actually played quite well, too. (It must have been the headband.)
Balotelli is still not fit, but still had moments of brilliance balanced with moments of whatever you want to call the opposite of brilliance. But when Antonelli was fouled in the box in the 42nd, Balotelli beasted the resulting penalty for the only goal in the game. 1-0 Milan. He would eventually be subbed off in the 71st for Niang, who was a breath of fresh air, and had several attempts, including an unlucky shot that hit the post in the 83rd.
|A standout performance|
You might think this doesn’t sound too bad, but those were just the individual performances. As a team, there were lots of errors, misplaced passes, turnovers, and fouls. Which was kind of the opposite of Alessandria, who played fiercely and with pride. They were pretty well organized, they pressed hard and defended well. Sure, they were a little rough around the edges, and there were plenty of fouls on both sides. But Milan got the win and I’m not entirely sure we deserved it.
But enough of another match where Milan’s mentality was non-existent. Let’s talk about those amazing Alessandria fans. They were just so happy to be there, but there was a reason that they were happy. Their team played with heart and pride and probably above their normal level. They went from having 3,000 fans for their derby with Cuneo on the weekend to having almost 20,000 fans in Turin. And many of them came the 50km or so on 40 busses. Simply amazing, I’m so happy to see that there are fans out there who care so much.
|"Thanks for watching us stumble again"|
As for Milan, their fans suck and they suck. And while that relationship is intertwined, neither seem to be that committed to changing and consistently giving it their all. Certainly they didn’t tonight. So although they got the result, the second leg is still up for grabs. That spot in the final will definitely go to whichever team is most determined.
This post inspired by the music of Ludo’s “Love Me Dead”
Our next match is
il Derby della Madonnina
Milan vs. Inter
Sunday, January 31 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)