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Milan 2, Genoa 1: Happiness and Heartache

A win is a win, and three points feels great, don’t get me wrong. Two great goals and a solid performance for 90 minutes brought me plenty of happiness at such an early hour. But in one bumbling fall, a former Milan player also brought the heartache. The committing of an error, the conceding of a goal, the loss of another clean sheet. A performance that was nearly unblemished was now soured in the worst possible way, and a team that could hold their heads high for 90 minutes now hung them in shame. Despite the victory and the three points, the game for me was a story of happiness and heartache.

I'm all over the chestbump celebration

It started early on in the fifth minute. Montolivo, in all of his brilliance, received the corner kick and sent it all the way forward to absolutely no one, forcing Honda to race forward and save it from going out of bounds. He then sent it into the box, and Bacca controlled it and then took the lethal shot. 1-0 Milan and a Bacca heart celebration for lovers everywhere for Valentine’s Day. (Actually, I’m sure it’s still for his wife and/or daughter, but let’s just pretend, shall we?)

No chance for Perin

Romagnoli clashed heads with Matavz just two minutes later, and his lip got the worst of it as he had to go off and get treated. Bonaventura, coming back from injury, took a number of shots, but none of them came to fruition. That same story would continue throughout the match, unfortunately.

However Suso, Genoa’s “MVP” of the first half was inexplicably subbed off for the obviously more talented Cerci. Which made it even easier in the 63rd, when De Sciglio handed the ball off to Honda, who found himself completely unmarked and took the shot from distance to score an exquisite goal. 2-0 Milan. This was noteworthy, as Mihajlovic had joked in the press conference yesterday about Honda needing to borrow Mihajlovic’ left foot to score, and Honda scored with his left foot. So much happiness, and no one happier than the Mister himself after that one.

This one made the haters eat humble pie

It is noteworthy that in the 75th the perennially disparaged Montolivo managed a shot on target from distance that actually caused Perin to earn his paycheck. Make note of this, it may never happen again. It is also noteworthy that things changed when we made the subs. We welcomed back Menez for a solid 15 minutes, coming on for Niang. Then Poli replaced the “captain” in the 83rd, and Balotelli came on for Bacca in the 88th. If we compare last year’s team to the Little Pig’s house of straw, and this year the team was more comparable to the Little Pig with the house of sticks, then I think it’s fair to say that we’ve reached the point that our starting eleven, if all healthy, are something like the house of bricks. However, if you pull out any of those bricks, the Big Bad Wolf wins again. So even making the normal subs weakens this team and makes them prone to the “ghosts of the past.”

Clumsy, bumbling, lucky heartbreak

First we saw Romagnoli get a yellow for basically throwing a player to the ground in the second minute of stoppage time. Frustration.Then we saw De Sciglio fail to make a clearance, leading to a shot from Genoa which Donnarumma deflected, but the rebound bounced around enough that Cerci’s bumbling run in as he tripped and fell over Donnarumma somehow saw the ball go past the line. 2-1. This is particularly noteworthy, as Opta credited the goal as due to a Milan player error for the first time all season. I don’t know what it takes to qualify as a player error, because a certain player who wears the armband always seems to be at the eye of the hurricane when we concede. But that stat was almost as depressing as conceding to that “ghost of the past” in that way, especially since we were the last team in the league to concede due to player error. Heartbreak.

Have you ever eaten something that was delicious, but somehow the last bite had a really bad taste to it, and it ruined your whole experience? That was how this game was for me today. I was so happy the whole match, and despite the three points, conceding the clean sheet in stoppage time to that thinning-haired, own thigh-loving ex-Milan player kind of ruined the win. Thank goodness Inter’s loss to Fiorentina totally cheered me up. But still, despite 90 minutes of happiness, there was also a measure of heartbreak.

This post inspired by the music of The Bravery’s “An Honest Mistake”

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Monday, February 22 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)

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