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Cagliari 1, Milan 1: Charade


The good news is that Milan played much better in the second half than they did in the first. The bad news is that the bar was so low for how badly they played in the first half that a rec league of grandmothers could have played better than Milan, at least for the first 25 minutes or so. Not even an early goal woke them up, it was as if this team were falsely wearing the red and black and putting on a charade.

Celebrating the first of what we hope is many Milan goals

There was an early chance for Milan, then Pavoletti hit the post, and Joao Pedro scored on the rebound in the fourth minute. 1-0 Cagliari. Talk about a sucker punch. But literally Milan were playing so badly already, it wasn’t really a shock. Just to emphasize how badly Milan were playing, shortly after the goal, there were two balls on the pitch. As if we were Frosinone or something, cheating our way to promotion. So sad.

Rodriguez celebrated his 50th appearance for Milan with a few great shots, including one in the 14th minute, which required Cragno to parry away. But Barella answered right back, hitting the post in the 16th minute. The sheer levels of incompetence in the first half made it like watching Gigio and the ten stooges. Well, Kessie played well. And Suso. And Higuain. And Rodriguez. But honestly, in the first half, that bar was really low.

And that is how it's done.

The second half was much better, I assume there was a lot of Calabrian cursing in our dressing room, if not some head slaps from the Mister. And it worked, right away Suso had a shot that was blocked. We kept a lot more possession… a LOT more… we actually ended up with 64% possession, even though it seemed like we spent much of the game getting dispossessed. We also took 20 shots, with six on target, even though it doesn’t seem like we did that much.

But, after a tank-like run by Kessie, feeding the ball through to Higuain, he easily dribbled around the keeper to score his first Milan goal. 1-1 all. Gattuso’s substitutions are odd to me. It’s like he has them planned, and regardless of what is going on in the match, he pulls the same three people and brings on the same three people. I recognize we need to give the new players time, but what about, I don’t know… winning the match? The only impact his subs are making are to remind us how good the players he subbed off were playing.

Being fast is great, but it's what you do in front of goal that matters

Most blatantly was Castillejo. I’d heard about his poor finishing, but WOW. At one point, in the 78th, a ball was played into him, and he literally ran right past it. Then he collided with another player. And when he had a shot, he channeled his inner Robinho and sent that thing into the stands. It was abysmal, and the only reason I can think of to have subbed off Calhanoglu was that it has been reported that he fractured his finger. However, even still, he was better than Castillejo.

I will confess that Bonaventura had a terrible game, he was not at all himself. But Bakayoko has so very much to do to prove that he is deserving of that ridiculous €3.5m salary. And he didn’t do any of it on this night. Rodriguez was having an amazing game, and subbing Laxalt on like that was like insulting our collective intelligence. Shame on you, Gattuso. I do not understand his subs at all. And shame on Kessie for picking up a dumb yellow in stoppage time. Although after the game he had, he could really get away with almost anything and I would forgive him.

When all else... or even everyone else fails, at least we can count on Gigio

Cagliari absolutely deserved the point, they were so clinical: with only six shots, two were on goal. That’s ridiculously better than our stat. They also showed up in a big way in the first half when Milan didn’t, and we were very lucky to not concede more. (Thank you, Gigio!) Milan barely earned their point, and were lucky to not drop all three. This match was a testament as to why I hate international breaks, especially two or three weeks into the season. We lose all form and even identity. It’s ridiculous. After how well we played against Roma, today’s match was just a pathetic charade.


This post inspired by the music of The Smiths’ “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”


Our next match is
Europa League Group Stage
Dudelange vs. AC Milan
Thursday, September 20 • 9pm CEST (3pm EDT)