Europa League • Ludogorets 0, Milan 3: Highway Robbery

We had all been cautioned that Ludogorets were very good. Like the Juventus of Bulgaria. But despite playing uglier than Gattuso’s beard, Milan relieved Ludogorets of three precious away goals and did not allow them to steal even one. And although Milan were the ones traveling this time, this game was a lot like highway robbery.

Ugly game, beautiful result

It seems to be becoming commonplace for Milan to start a little slow and unfocused. Not surprising here, with the travel and the different style of play. Abate especially came in with a late tackle in the fourth minute to earn himself a yellow card. Then in the 16th, he thought he was a star striker or something and put the ball way over the goal, it was kind of sad, really. I think we are all hoping for Conti’s return sooner rather than later.

Later in the first half, Milan started to build some momentum, but still struggled to maintain possession and defend. But starting in the 39th, there was a Suso free kick that went just over, then a great Bonaventura chance that went just over, and those seemed to lead up to the 45th minute. Cutrone scored a scrappy header from a Calhanoglu cross to make it 1-0 Milan.


I thought with that momentum that Milan would come back from half time ready to dominate, but it was Ludogorets who stepped it up instead. After a Gigio save and a Dyakov shot that hit the crossbar, they were almost awarded a penalty in the 56th. Abate did commit the foul, but luckily for us, the whistle blew for offside first. He was wisely subbed off, already being on a yellow on the night, for Rodriguez. Which is important to note, as two minutes later, Cutrone was pushed in the box and Milan were awarded a penalty, with Rodriguez stepping up to take it. He took it fantastically, and suddenly it was Milan 2-0.

The penalty took some of the wind out of the Ludogorets’ sails, but they didn’t give up. Both coaches made the rest of their subs, and Ludogorets were still fighting, with a dangerous cross across our goal in the 84th. But then they made the mistake of fouling one Fabio Borini. And that, ultimately, was the nail in their coffin. Because in stoppage time, Kessie whipped the ball in. Silva actually missed it, but Borini didn’t. It was as if he was punishing them and simultaneously completing his infamous three goal quota for the season all in one kick. 3-0 Milan. And don’t mess with Borini.

I think he might be literally on fire

Milan have some history with giving up a 3-0 lead in Europe, but that was in one game. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Ludogorets could come to the San Siro and pull that off. Especially with Milan playing so much like their coach did. He said we are not playing “like Brad Pitt,” and that we need to be ugly, “like my beard.” That is definitely not a problem. This football is quite ugly. But the win was spectacularly beautiful. Sorry, Razgrad, to come and steal three points and leave, but this Milan cannot afford to lose anymore. Not even if we have to commit highway robbery.

This post inspired by the music of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”

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Here’s to many more years, hoping to have far more laughter than tears and many more trophies and celebrations!

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Sunday, February 18 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

Europa League • Ludogorets 0, Milan 3: Highway Robbery Europa League • Ludogorets 0, Milan 3: Highway Robbery Reviewed by Elaine on 11:30 PM Rating: 5
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