Milan 2, Genoa 1: Grim Reaper

Genoa came to the devil’s lair, perhaps like naïve children hoping to trick-or-treat. And with a deflected own goal by Milan, it seemed for a bit as if they might take something home. But it was Halloween. And they were facing “red like the fire, black like your fear.” So instead, in stoppage time, they met the Grim Reaper, who came and took all three points from them.

Beware the reaper

This match was haunted. Not just by the tragedy that forced the reschedule in the first place. But also the weather, it was so wet. And also haunted by the scheduling – a midweek game when no one else was playing, and on Halloween, too. We knew it would be a match worth watching… whose team would find it worthwhile was yet to be decided.

Suso, the top-ranked European player by Who Scored going into this match, announced his intention in the fourth minute with a brilliant goal. 1-0 Milan. And this time, he remembered to put the ball in his shirt and point to his girlfriend who is nine months pregnant with their first child. I hope this time she finds his celebration satisfactory, because he needs to focus on scoring and assisting more goals, not how to celebrate them. (Women. Am I right?)

Proud papa to be

Milan did well enough to dominate for maybe the first 20 minutes. But then they let Genoa have too many chances for the rest of the first half. It was in the second half that Milan took most of their 28 shots, nine of those on target. And Radu was brilliant, with seven saves, many of them heart-stopping saves.

But the second half started frightfully. First "Frank-enstein" Kessie got a yellow in the 50th. Then in the 56th, Kouame sent a ball in toward the net after a Bakayoko error, and Romagnoli’s attempt to clear it sent it into the back of the net. 1-1 all. We were all angry and devastated, but no one so much as Romagnoli. And when he gets mad, he gets even.

More than a re-animated monster, Franck-enstein was a beast

To be fair, though, conceding goals is our thing. We are on a streak now of games with goals conceded the likes of which we haven’t seen since the mid 1940’s. Why would we stop now? We are the only Serie A team to not keep a clean sheet all season. Thinking of giving that up is frightening.

After conceding the goal, Gattuso only waited seven minutes to produce a sub, Abate came on for Laxalt. That switched us from the terrifying 3-5-2 back to the less frightening 4-4-2. And no surprise, that’s when we really started to dominate, despite carrying Bakayoko around like a dead body. In addition to the mistake, he made others, too, and still managed to play better than in previous appearances. He is really just not cutting it, but luckily we only pay him €3.5m per season to play that poorly.

The spirit that dragged us to victory

Suso, Romagnoli, Rodriguez, and Kessie had great games. So it was not a shock that in the first minute of stoppage time, Abate sent a long ball in that Radu came off his line to punch out. In doing so, he punched it straight toward Romagnoli, who, on the volley, lobbed it over Radu, as well as everyone else to hit the back of the net. 2-1 Milan. He went from unwittingly scoring an own goal to deny us a clean sheet for the tenth straight Serie A game this season, to becoming the gamewinner and hero on the night. He gave us the win and pushed us up to fourth place on his young captain’s shoulders. I was just screaming for joy, it was so amazing. He may have been Genoa’s Grim Reaper, but he was Milan’s salvation.

That's exactly how I felt, too

There will be people who will say that fourth place now is no big deal, or that we need to wait until the end of the season. But those people are probably bandwagon Inter fans. When was the last time that Milan were in fourth place like this? One week ago, we were in twelfth, with rumors that Gattuso was going to be sacked. And now we are right where we want to be, competing with the teams we want to compete with. And while our performances are absolutely lacking and we need to find a way to stop hemorrhaging goals like a stabbing victim, we are in a better position both mentally and in reality than we’ve been in a long time. Sure, Gattuso’s tactics, lineups, and substitutions are often like a horror movie. Yes, we have an injury plague of epic proportions right now. But that doesn’t undermine all that we’ve been through this past seven or eight years and the amazing efforts of Gattuso and everyone on this team to get us where we are today. So if you are not celebrating fourth place, you are not a Milan fan. I’m pulling your card.

That's what fourth place means to us right now

This was our game in hand. For ten match days, we waited to be able to play this and decide those three points that had been dangling there this whole time like a big bag of candy. And while of course it wasn’t pretty, Halloween is not meant to be pretty, it was a win for us and a bump up to where we need to stay this season. Ghouls and goblins may have had their fun, but i Diavoli snatched the three points with the help of our reaper/captain. And in the cold Halloween rain, that is all we could really ask for.

This post inspired by the music of “She Wants Revenge”

Our next match is
Serie A Week 11
Udinese vs. Milan
Sunday, November 4 • 20:30 CET (2:30pm EST)

Milan 2, Genoa 1: Grim Reaper Milan 2, Genoa 1: Grim Reaper Reviewed by Elaine on 5:41 AM Rating: 5
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