Roma 1, Milan 1: Stalled

It never fails, whether Milan are flying high or digging deep to find strength: when there is an advantage to be gained on the table, they drop points. This time, we could have moved to four points clear of Roma in fourth place. With Inter’s loss, we would have been just two points behind them in third, too. But whether it was benevolence or psychological, in this match, Milan stalled.


The game was very physical (read: violent,) and Piatek got it started when he unintentionally nearly blinded De Rossi in the fourth minute. Roma were called for 15 fouls and Milan had nine, and then there were seven yellow cards in all. That is subtracting at least one red and several yellows that Maresca chose not to award, possibly to ensure his safe passage out of the stadium.

The actual football, in between the combat, was actually exciting to watch. It got more exciting for Milan fans in the 26th, when Piatek scored from a Paqueta assist. 1-0 Milan. And Gigio just keeps getting more immense in every match, there were so many incredible saves. One of the most stunning was his massive double save in the 44th. His reaction time and ability to move that giant body of his so quickly are nothing short of amazing.

Just another day at the office for our newest player

What was also impressive was the way Roma fans treated their team. After a big spat with Kolarov recently, which I believe included a personal visit to his place with some spray paint, they booed him every time he touched the ball. At the end of the first half, being down a goal, they booed the entire team quite voraciously. It’s a wonder that they don’t ever win anything with “support” like that.

Somehow, it inspired their team, though as Zaniolo came out and scored an equalizer in the first minute of the second half, 1-1 all. Musacchio bungled a clearance that Gigio was forced to parry out, and Zaniolo took advantage of the rebound. It happens. I mean, had Musacchio not tried to clear it, someone would have scored anyway. And he has been great lately, too.


The next controversy was Paqueta’s yellow, which I would love to have been nearby to figure out what happened. It seemed like Maresca booked him for pushing him, which is actually a red card offense plus a multiple game ban. But it looked like he was really just pushing off of him because he was going to collide. So did Paqueta also say something? Or was Maresca too quick to pull out his yellow? I don’t know, but I hope Maresca’s performance in this game is looked at closely by the AIA. It wasn’t necessarily game-changing, but it was remarkably one-sided.

The other big controversy that was going on simultaneously was when Kolarov thought he was playing in the actual Super Bowl and tackled Suso from behind, despite neither of them wearing any helmets or protective gear. No card was given, which seemed strange. I think the reasoning of the referee staff was that Suso was offside before the challenge? I couldn’t tell you, because the yellow cards are for dangerous play, no matter when it happens. If everyone could rough the opposition players up after they stepped offside or whatever, it would be rugby, not football.

Not their best performance, but they managed to keep the point. Well done.

Tempers flared, there were shots, mistakes and miraculous saves. Gattuso subbed. Late as always, but these subs were a little better than usual. The pressure continued to build until an incident in the final minute of stoppage time, where Calabria threw the ball away and was carded, and it seemed that we were going to see De Rossi and Kessie fight. I would pay money to watch that fight, to be honest. So after the whistle blew and each team took a point, Gattuso had a conversation (very calm, by the way,) with Maresca. I don’t think they were simply planning to have lunch, after so many questionable calls and Roma still ending on eleven men. But I was proud of Gattuso for keeping his cool, and it seems that all of our players came home in one piece in spite of everything.

Roma were the better team for much of the game, even if Milan had chances. That in and of itself is a remarkable feat, considering their insanely humiliating loss midweek and their fans completely turning on them. Milan lost some of the momentum we had been building, but that is not a huge surprise playing at a very angry Olimpico. If it bleeds into our performance against Cagliari, I’ll be worried. But for now, we are only four points behind Inter, following their loss to Mihajlovic’s Bologna. And we are in fourth place, even if only by a point still. We threw away a chance to widen that gap, but perhaps we are not quite that team yet anyway. And Roma really deserved at least a point. Their performance left Milan completely stalled.

This post inspired by the music of Bobby Troup’s “Route 66”

Our next match is
Serie A Week 24
Milan vs. Cagliari
Sunday, February 10 • 20:30 CET (2:30pm EST)

Roma 1, Milan 1: Stalled Roma 1, Milan 1: Stalled Reviewed by Elaine on 7:30 AM Rating: 5
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