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Cagliari 2, Milan 1: Out Like a Lamb

After a season of surprising ups mixed with expected downs, and even with securing Europa League qualifying last week, it wasn’t much of a surprise that Milan checked out of this match. A big part of it was injuries, but mentality has been weak for some time, and with nothing to play for, it’s no wonder they didn’t play very hard. I’m not sure you could quite say that Milan came into this season like a lion, but it’s easy to say they went out like a lamb.

Thank you, Captain Ninja, for 3.5 years of dedication to Milan

Borriello tested his Milan ex powers in the first minute with a diving header that was wide. Then Ionita hit the crossbar in the sixth minute before Joao Pedro scored in the 17th. 1-0 Cagliari. Because not only were they playing their last match in their stadium, they could actually improve their position on the table with a win.

Milan woke up a bit, and it took Goal Line Technology (GLT) to prove that Crosta did save on Bacca in the 20th, a bit unlucky. Then a Donnarumma massive save in the 26th. And then came the injuries. First Suso, who was subbed off for Ocampos in the 30th (also known as the answer for everything.) Then Cagliari lost Murru to injury and Miangue was subbed on for him in the 34th. After Joao Pedro’s yellow for a studs up challenge in the 42nd, it seemed more like a match where injuries would be the theme.

Thanks, but no thanks, Ocampos. I think Genoa want you back

But the second half determined that discipline and a couple of more goals would win the day. It started with Montella making a gutsy second substitution at halftime, bringing Lapadula on for Vangioni. And that would pay dividends within ten minutes, as Lapadula would clear a Bacca shot. That’s right, Lapadula defended against his own team. It’s obviously time for a vacation.

In addition to the parade of cards from Abisso, Milan were awarded two penalties. The first in the 62nd, and Bacca took the shot, but it was saved by the young Crosta. Yellow cards for Gomez and then Paletta, then in the 71st another penalty for Milan. So Lapadula took it in the 72nd and converted it to make it 1-1 all.

Lapadula shows Bacca how to convert a penalty

I don’t know what other records Milan will take away from this season, but Paletta decided to tie the all-time Serie A record for red cards in a single season when he earned a second yellow in the 75th to be sent off. That made five red cards for him in a single season. Five. Last year the whole team only had three for the whole season. That is truly impressive. So Zapata was subbed on for Bacca, a Colombian for a Colombian, and Milan were on ten men for the rest of the match. Which included five minutes of stoppage time, during which Pisacane scored the winning goal on a rebound of a free kick by Joao Pedro in the 90th +3. 2-1 Cagliari.

And that was it. Like a lamb, we bowed out to a team that kind of had something to play for. And they achieved it, too. Going into the match they were in 13th place, with today’s results, they got to 11th on the table. Bravo Cagliari. Bravo to Montella for giving Honda the armband in what we know was his final match for Milan. We also know Deulofeu is gone, although he wasn’t able to play due to injury. We did not get to see a Bonaventura appearance today, coming back from injury, because Montella’s subs were mainly forced by injuries. Which is ironic, because despite a stronger mentality overall than we’ve seen in a long while and winning the Supercoppa in December, injuries and a lack of depth on our bench really crippled us this season.

Any doubts about Mister Fancy Pants' future should be absolved by all of the cool free clothes he gets from Diesel

Overall, though, we played much better than expected this season. And securing a sixth place finish is more than we could have hoped for after basically being frozen out of the last two transfer markets. So despite the fact that we all want wins and glory every time, the season was an improvement overall. Even if we played a poor final match and went out like a lamb.

This post inspired by the music of The Cure’s “End”

What can be said more than has already been said, other than Ciao, Totti. Thanks for your amazing talent, leadership, and devotion to a single club for 28 years. You’ve left an imprint on the hearts of rival fans everywhere, but you will always be the King of Rome. In bocca al lupo!

Grazie Totti