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Milan 2, Atalanta 2: Stalemate



Another three points we let slip through our fingers… although this time at least it was to a worthy opponent. The match could have ended any other way, even just by the inches Bonaventura was offside when his first goal was disallowed. But Milan slightly outplayed Atalanta, and Gasperini’s assistant, Gritti, slightly out-coached Gattuso. And when it is that close, it can easily end in a stalemate.

We love you too

Gomez may have fired the first shot, but he was not on target. So Higuain, just 90 seconds in, showed him how it was done from a great cross in by Suso, Higuain’s powerful volley made it 1-0 Milan. Milan took a number of chances, 17 in all, but only five were on target. That included the infamous Bonaventura goal…no VAR…not goal in the 20th minute from a great Calabria cross. Kessie’s chances against his old side were wasted, as it felt like most of our chances were. But when the goalkeeper you are facing is also a rapper, I suppose it could be intimidating.

For me, the masterclass move was at the beginning of the second half. And it wasn’t Gattuso who made it. It was Gritti. He was himself subbing for Gasperini, who was given a one match ban for committing blasphemy, something the league has cracked down on this year with everyone. Because worrying about uniform armbands and which curse words people use is where Serie A chooses to focus on, not lucrative TV rights, bringing fans back to the stadium, marketing in and out of Italy, etc. Anyway, Gritti pulled off Barrow and Pasalic who had not been making much of an impact, and brought on Rigoni and Duvan Zapata to start the second half.

No question about that goal

That move was bold, using two subs at the half, and it was also costly, as when Papu Gomez got injured in the 78th, they essentially finished on ten men. However it brought them back into the game, as Gomez scored the equalizer from a Zapata cross within ten minutes. 1-1 all. Bonaventura answered just seven minutes later, from a great assist by Suso. 2-1 Milan. However, Atalanta were improving as Milan were fading.

Higuain came in on Golloriu$ with a high boot, so saw yellow, but also saw the worst of a collision with the rapper/keeper and had to receive treatment before he was handed his card. Maybe that’s what gave Gattuso time to think about making a change. He brought on Abate for Calabria in the 67th, then Bakayoko for Bonaventura in the 74th, and finally Castillejo on for Calhanoglu in the 85th. As always, too little, too late. None of those players really made any impact, they may as well have stayed on the bench.

Hope his learning curve is shorter than his predecessor

Musacchio clashed heads with Toloi, hopefully he’s okay, since he’s just recovered from some mild head trauma. Papu Gomez made a challenge and also came out much worse for it, seeing yellow and some apparently intense groin pain. He eventually got back on the pitch, but that’s about it, Atalanta were basically a man down. Rodriguez had a brilliant goal line clearance in the 89th after Gigio had come out and missed and a few other shots were attempted, it was simply amazing. But two minutes later, Rigoni, the other of Gritti’s halftime subs, shot from a rebound and equalized again. 2-2 all.

My hero

This game could have finished with a win or a loss, but a draw was probably the most fair. Of course Milan made mistakes and didn’t capitalize on their chances, but Gattuso was also out-coached. With Gritti benching Zapata and Rigoni initially, he was able to put them on at the half to create a full-strength squad as Milan’s legs were starting to tire. That nullified the brilliant performances of players like Higuain, Suso, Bonaventura, and Rodriguez, and in the end saw both teams get a point. Some players may regret chances, but Gattuso should regret his subbing and the opportunities he has to make decisions that actually impact the game. Until everyone can improve, we should feel lucky a game like this ended in a stalemate.


This post inspired by the music of Radiohead’s “Let Down”


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