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Roma 0, Milan 2: Brave New Milan

I really don’t think I can come up with words to describe this game, or what it means to Milan fans. I mean I’ll try, but no words can do justice to the magic we saw on the pitch today. Facing Roma in their house, a place we hadn’t won in for seven years, I didn’t have much faith in a good result, despite our positive run of results lately. But our boys proved me wrong. And I’m so glad they did. Their belief has instilled a growing new belief in fans who have been abused and disappointed for years. But thanks to Gattuso, it’s a Brave New Milan.

Exceeding expectations in every way

The first half felt a little bit like we were mice against men. Roma actually had slightly more possession throughout the match, but especially in the first half. And it seemed like more of their 18 chances were taken then, too. Milan seemed like they were holding their finger in the dam, and it seemed like only a matter of time before the Roma goals came flooding in. But they didn’t. They never came at all. Our defense held firmly, and it was great that Gigio got to mark his 19th Birthday with a clean sheet.

"Hold the applause until after the game please"

Our defense held the Roma flood back until after halftime, when the team came back invigorated and played even harder. And so it was in the 48th, we saw Suso put in a beautiful cross that just felt like it was going to be a goal even before we saw who was on the end of it. And of course, it was Cutrone on the end of it. So despite a worthy challenge from Manolas at the last minute, he coolly backheeled it into the back of the net to make it 1-0 Milan. The joy was palpable even sitting at home in front of my laptop.

A dream goal in a dream season for a dream talent

From there, Roma’s confidence faded like letting the air out of a balloon ever so slowly. They still fought, they still managed some chances, but you could see their belief dwindling and Milan’s confidence growing. Even Gigio, who came out on Schick in the 63rd, just seemed so in control that it was never in question that he would make the save. Calabria sealed the deal in the 74th with his first ever Serie A goal. And what a goal it was. Kalinic passed him the ball, and he ran straight at Alisson, chipping him right at the perfect time to send the ball over him and into the net. 2-0 Milan. Imagine spending over €200m on new players in the summer, and it’s two kids from the youth sector who score the goals in one of the most brilliant and nail-biting matches of the season.

Exactly how all of us felt when he scored that goal

There were no cards in this match. Perhaps there should have been, like when Peres took down Calhanoglu in the 90th minute. But I was glad for no cards, especially since Bonucci was at risk of suspension for next week’s Derby if he had been carded. A thought that crossed my mind in the 39th when he made a desperate (albeit clean) tackle on Schick in the box. Gattuso risked being sent off, when he had a “friendly” conversation with Kolarov on the sideline during the first half. To Gattuso’s credit, he offered an apology and a handshake about 15 minutes later when Kolarov was on the sideline again.

No cards, the win away, and a defensive performance to write home about

Gigio had at least one big save on Ünder in the fifth minute. That kid had scored five goals in his last four matches, but Gigio and friends stopped his scoring streak cold turkey. Milan had a lot of missed chances, some of them criminal misses, but were still more clinical than before. All in all the stats showed ten shots with five of those on goal, which is much better than we have been doing since Gattuso started. And I mentioned that it was the young players who scored, but it was the experience and teamwork of all of the players that contributed to this brilliant performance.

Fans around the world were jumping like this, too

Roma had beaten us 2-0 in our house in October, so this was a perfect Karma result. Only Milan are wisely climbing the table heading into the final months of the season, while Roma have slipped up a bit lately. This game was better than I could have ever dreamed, and I felt happier about watching Milan than I have in maybe seven years, too. Each game in this current run of amazing form just gets better than the last. And with every win, it opens the doors of my jaded mind to believe in bigger and better things to come. It is nothing short of incredible to witness this Brave New Milan.


This post inspired by the music of Elvis Costello’s “Alison”


Our next match is
Coppa Italia Semifinal 2 nd Leg
Lazio vs. Milan
Wednesday, February 28 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
  
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