Sampdoria 0, Milan 2: The Cutrone Factor

Nevermind that Sampdoria had more possession, more shots, and more shots on target. Nevermind that Giampaolo subbed very well, his subs making an impact, even when forced into an early sub due to injury. Nevermind that they were playing at home at the Marassi, which is one of the loudest, most intimidating stadiums in Italy. Sampdoria put forth their best effort, but they forgot about the Cutrone factor.

Never forget.

It seemed as though Gattuso forgot about the Cutrone factor, too. After a first half that was physical but not particularly remarkable, the second half was only slightly more noteworthy. Like in the 51st, Rodriguez’s challenge on Caprari that he was very lucky not to receive a second yellow for. Or Higuain’s goal in the 75th that was correctly called back for offside. Still no subs from Gattuso.

Giampaolo remembered how to sub, bringing on Saponara for Ramirez in the 77th, who had been threatening all match. Then there were two great attempts involving Saponara within two minutes. Because that is what an impact sub does. Make an impact. So in an attempt to play golf rules substitutions or something, Gattuso took off our new Brazilian star, Paqueta, and sent on Borini to replace him in the 85th. That was his one sub in regulation. Borini for Paqueta. It was like bringing on a cardboard picture of steak for the actual steak. And so at the end of regulation, it was still scoreless.

Dreams really do come true

Seemingly wanting to make his players play an extra 30 minutes all along, Gattuso finally whipped out the Cutrone factor at the beginning of extra time for Castillejo, who burned bright early on and then became largely ineffective. Perhaps it was because he was in front of Abate, rather than the young, fast, and eager Conti. So in the 99th, he remembered the young Conti on the bench and finally replaced Abate with him.

That was all we needed to break the deadlock. In the 102nd minute, Conti sent a beautiful cross up to Cutrone, who jumped and sent the ball into goal on the volley. 1-0 Milan. In the most beautiful of ways. Six minutes later, though, as Sampdoria courageously continued to attack, Calhanoglu sent an amazing cross over to Cutrone, who again, on the volley, punished Sampdoria. 2-0 Milan. Milan are moving on to face Napoli or Sassuolo in the next round.

Paqueta showed a lot of promise on his debut

Although the game technically still had more time, it was over with the second goal. Sampdoria were completely deflated, and really the only thing left was for Gattuso to attempt to win at golf rules substitutions. So he brought on Laxalt for Higuain. You know, just to be able to say he used all of his subs. Which is so dumb, because if he had made the same subs, but in regulation time, there would have been no need for extra time or the fourth subs. If he had made the same subs, but in regulation in every match, we would win a lot more games.

The only thing scarier than Quagliarella point blank is Zapata, Reina kept us safe from both

Paqueta did well enough on his debut, only one shot, but still impressive for a 21 year-old coming straight from Brazil. But the one who stole the show was Reina, who was massive again and again. If my stats are correct, he faced 13 shots on goal, and he was absolutely brilliant. But the one who won us the game was almost forgotten. Because a clean sheet is nice, but it’s goals that win the game. And those were taken care of immensely by the Cutrone factor.

This post inspired by the music of Muse’s “Feeling Good”

Our next match is the
Supercoppa Final
Juventus vs. Milan
Wednesday, January 16 • 18:30 CET (12:30pm EST)

Sampdoria 0, Milan 2: The Cutrone Factor Sampdoria 0, Milan 2: The Cutrone Factor Reviewed by Elaine on 11:59 PM Rating: 5
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