How do you follow up an epic Derby win? Perhaps by flying to Sicily and dispatching with the home team as if it was just an island getaway. And while Milan maybe didn’t make it quite as easy as a vacation in paradise, they got the win and didn’t really leave it up for question. And they did it in the hideous third kits, too, which is even more commendable. So another midweek match and another three points to bring us within 2 points of Roma. After the past few years, it’s like a dream.
|Almost as easy as a lovely island stroll|
Milan came out strong, with multiple chances on goal within the first ten minutes, including testing the goal line technology in the sixth minute. But it was in the 18th minute that Bacca scored, with an Abate assist. 1-0 Milan. Yes, you read that correctly, an Abate assist. Always clinical, that puts Bacca at 12 goals with 23 shots on target this season. Amazing.
Everyone continued to attack, probably trying to escape from those hideous kits they were wearing. And in the 32nd, Goldaniga conceded a penalty with a very obvious handball. (That line is for the pathetic Inter fans still whining about ref calls.) So with a bit of uncertainty about who would take the penalty, either Bacca or Niang, it was Niang who insisted on stepping up. And in the 33rd, he blasted it home. If Sorrentino had managed to get in the way, it would have caused him serious bodily harm. 2-0 Milan.
|Scoring for him is easy, the celebrations apparently more difficult|
Milan didn’t just sit back after being up two goals, but credit to the home team, in the second half Palermo came out stronger, and that also seemed to help Milan fade somewhat. But between Donnarumma’s supernatural goalkeeping abilities, and everyone else managing to do just enough to keep Palermo from scoring, it was just enough to keep the clean sheet.
As for subs, Mihajlovic pulled of Montolivo in the 56th, replacing him with Bertolacci. Whether this sub was due to injury or fatigue, we’ll find out soon enough, but certainly with three games this week, it seemed wise. Balotelli came on for a tired Niang in the 75th and had a couple of decent shots, but no goals, obviously. Then in the 84th, Poli came on for Bacca. I get that Poli runs a lot and works hard, but that was a strange sub for me. Also, the question of “Where’s De Jong?” has been answered (which is nowhere near Milan anymore, unfortunately.) But the nagging question of “Where’s Mauri?” Is now even louder than before. For a player with so many appearances last year, albeit at a smaller club, it is just criminal that he wasn’t even given 90 minutes vs. Alessandria last week, let alone five or ten minutes today.
|Back to kicking a ball instead of water bottles... well done, Mister|
It wasn’t always pretty, it wasn’t perfect, but it was more than enough to bring the three points home from the island. Hopefully they left those kits there, though, I’m going to be blind after this season with those hideous monstrosities. Most importantly, Milan were able to come down from their Derby high, focus, and get the job done. I can’t think of another Milan team in recent years that could do that. So even though I’m still going to wait another couple of games before I christen this team with the word “consistency,” this was a big step toward that goal. Also, better football than we’ve seen in recent years, too. Almost to the point where I want to say “Wake me up, I’m dreaming.”
This post inspired by the music of Pink Mink
Our next match is
Milan vs. Udinese
Sunday, February 7 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)