Tonight the team played like a club that had been waiting for two years for the club to be sold, but had been strung along and were no closer now than they were two years ago. Tired, frustrated, and missing important pieces, it was hardly a performance to write home about. But the most important part was that they pulled off the win. Even if Genoa offered very little in the way of resistance, Milan won in spite of themselves. Which gave fans both hope and the three points. And that was also more than Inter gave their fans today. It wasn’t great, but it was good enough.
|Not sure if he's happy to play, to not get injured, to score the goal, or all of the above|
Bertolacci made Serie A records this season by being injured in the first minute and being subbed off in the third minute. Probably the only record he’ll make, too, unless you count the amount of time spent rolling around on the ground and complaining to refs in his other matches. But with less playing time than players from Roma or Inter, for example, he’s not going to get that record, either. Terrible about the injury, though, hope it’s nothing serious.
However, Locatelli coming on for him was genius. He had a fever last week, so Montella didn’t start him, but what he brought to the game, it seemed almost fortuitous that he was subbed so early. Another player fortuitously starting was Mati Fernandez. Having been injured or unfit for most of the season, fans were probably very happy to finally see him in the starting eleven. Even more so when he scored the lone goal of the match in the 33rd on a breakaway. 1-0 Milan. It was also his first goal for Milan. He played until he was subbed off in the 74th, by far his longest and best performance of the season. Also not injured, so even better.
|That's all it took to take down i Griffone|
It was almost as if Mati, Deulofeu, and Locatelli were the only ones playing, their performances were so superior to the rest of the team. Just even their workrate, really. Ocampos took the opportunity to show Genoa why they don’t miss him, with a couple of shots high and wide for emphasis. Captain De Sciglio headed a chance wide in the 80th, two minutes after earning Milan’s only yellow card of the match. Deulofeu late in the game looked like he was the only one who cared about the match, almost singlehandedly managing the attack. And Antonelli coming on late in the 87th was a lovely surprise, too. He still has that Milan heart and showed it.
|A most fortuitous sub|
Milan dominated possession against a lackluster Genoa, with 62% on the night. We were anything but clinical again, with 20 shots and only five of those on target. But regardless of how painful the match was to watch, they got the three points. Which is more important than a good performance. And with so many missing players, was also quite impressive. A team that gets the job done in a game like this is a team with a desire to win no matter what. And while we wait to see if Milan’s owner has anything close to that desire, or if a new owner can pull out a performance like this and come out owning the club, at least our boys on the pitch know how to be successful. And that is good enough.
This post inspired by the music of The Cure’s “Lullaby”