In the match of fifth vs. fourteenth, Milan weren’t thoroughly convincing as a team who were nine places ahead of Cagliari on the table. One would think that playing the team with the most number of goals conceded in the league, more of Milan’s ridiculous 29 shots would have found the back of the net. But Cagliari, who had scored an equal number of goals to Milan coming into this one, defended with their lives (as well as attempting to take some of Milan’s players’ lives, too.) And they almost kept a clean sheet. Except for Bacca’s very late decider. It seems that Milan are heartbreakers.
|Who needs tactics or skills when you have a winning mentality?|
Let’s take away the heart for just a second and talk about the breaking. Giacomelli seemed to think that Santa and Befana had given enough, so he was not giving any cards. Hence, Bruno Alves was still on the pitch in the final minute of stoppage time to receive a straight red for taking down Bacca just outside of the box. If you had any doubts about him deserving a yellow on the tackle that saw Abate go off injured in the 27th, or climbing all over Bacca from behind in the 28th, the red card was like a neon sign of a red card. I suppose there is some solace in Alves at least missing his next game, but if Giacomelli were more ref and less Grinch, Alvez wouldn’t have made it to the 30th minute.
Another reffing controversy was the Isla goal in the 68th that was called back for offside. But replays show both he and another Cagliari player were very much offside when the ball was sent in. I thought perhaps the ball was deflected off of a Milan defender first, but it wasn’t, so yes, very much offside. Interesting that Honda jumped off the bench to come have his say in this call, but then respected the linesman and the opposition players.
|The San Siro need to get better security, they just let these 3 kids out on the pitch|
I’m kind of torn as to what to say about our play. 29 shots, but only four on goal. Almost everyone played really well, and we held Cagliari to only seven shots with one on goal. But to watch the game without knowing who was fifth and who was fourteenth, it just wasn’t as obvious. There were moments of sheer brilliance, like some fancy backheel and other footwork from Niang, but he was unable to convert anything. Suso had some incredible crosses in, but no one could connect with them. The birthday boy Locatelli was immense, he gives me some small hope that I will never have to see Montolivo again (well I never should have to, but this is Milan.) Our defense were phenomenal, barring one ugly tackle, Paletta was immense. Antonelli came on for the injured Abate in the 27th and played great. De Sciglio even sent in the cross that Lapadula assisted for Bacca’s late goal in the 88th. 1-0 Milan. And I had even predicted Bacca to score. Amazing.
The team obviously have a winning mentality. That is really the main thing that has gotten us where we are. But when we play mid-table or lower table teams, our youth and experience really show. The game was both intense and frustrating. We had eleven corners to their three, but couldn’t convert. Rafael will have PTSD from the barrage of shots Milan sent his way, despite the fact that we were the opposite of clinical. But Cagliari also must be frustrated because they had conceded an average of 2.3 goals per game, and here they almost kept a clean sheet. Almost. In the end, Milan did find the back of the net. And even if we should have scored more on a team with such a poor defensive record, we came out of it with three points. Winning clearly doesn't have to be pretty.
|What was greater? Milan's joy or Cagliari's heartbreak?|
The game was hard to watch. So many wasted opportunities. Our team with some really incredible cogs, but not always in sync with each other. Breaking the hearts of fans worldwide to watch such a brilliant but young group of players. And yet their unity and belief carried us to yet another win when the rest of the 90 minutes we maybe didn’t quite deserve it. Cagliari go back home having played a pretty great game, but are left empty handed. They should have known that despite a Christmas in Doha and the distractions of the proposed keeper swap between the two clubs, this year, Milan are heartbreakers.
This post inspired by the music of Moby’s “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?”
Our next match is
Milan vs. Torino
Thursday, December 12 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)