Milan 0, Lazio 1: Ultimate Defeat

Losing to Lazio in the Coppa Italia wasn’t shameful. They are a good side, maybe even a little better than their results this season suggest. Losing because Gattuso is trying too little too late this season to get the lineups, tactics, and even mentality right was embarrassing. But losing to a team who have plenty of serial racist fans who were allowed to abuse Bakayoko and Kessie for over a week now in many different venues unpunished was the ultimate defeat.

Not even for 62,000 Milan fans could this team claim the victory

To blame Gattuso seems tired, and yet he needs to take the responsibility for tweaking his already offensively constipated tactics and making them worse, a feat I didn’t think was possible. The three man backline was disastrous, allowing Lazio to just pummel Reina again and again, and whether or not it was his four-man midfield or his worthless attacking trident or both, I think Milan only got like four shots off, with two on target, our worst tally of the season, I believe. So he definitely got it wrong.

The teams fared evenly on injuries, unfortunately, with Lazio losing Milinkovic-Savic to injury in the 15th minute after Suso wrong-way-ed him in the 8th minute. Milan lost Calabria to injury in the 40th minute, apparently from a tough challenge from Correa. I haven’t heard anything about Milinkovic-Savic yet, but I read that Calabria left the stadium on crutches, which is terrible news for him and for us.

Someone needs to take responsibility for that photo

As far as referee calls go, the “highlights” would be when Immobile elbowed Romagnoli in the face in the 11th with no call and no VAR review, then Calabria was shoved down in the box by Bastos in the 21st with no penalty given and no VAR review. There was an Acerbi foul on Kessie in the 68th, but no card given, and Piatek felt he was fouled in the box in the 69th with no call and no VAR review. And who could forget when Cutrone scored that goal in the 76th that was called back for offside without VAR review? But to make up for all of those calls that went Lazio’s way, Mazzoleni gave Caicedo a yellow for diving when Reina clearly took him down in the box in the 78th, again with no VAR review. If you listened to the rants on the latest podcast, you’ll know that Lazio would definitely be wearing tin foil hats tonight if they thought all of the calls went against them.

The goal… it was only a matter of time with so many shots heading toward Reina. Correa scored in the 58th, and that would have required Milan to get two goals to win, given the away goal rule. That was one minute after Gattuso had made his first tactical substitution. Ouch. Despite the fact that Milan finally started showing some urgency once Cutrone was on (really, he should start just to get the team fired up properly,) it was much too little much too late for a Lazio team that won the game even without the goal, just based on outplaying Milan on pretty much every level. They absolutely deserve to be going to the final, even if it is a very, very bitter pill for Milan fans to swallow.

Cutrone fired everyone up, Caldara did well enough in his first start since September

But where I am truly bitter are the Lazio and Inter fans who continuously sang racist chants against Bakayoko… last Wednesday at their match with Udinese, Saturday at Lazio’s match vs. Chievo and Inter’s match vs. Roma, on the streets of Milano today, outside the San Siro, and throughout the match and well after. All without any punishment. Lazio officials tried to distance themselves from these fans, which they deemed the actions of “a few isolated elements.” They said  that those people don’t represent the values of the club, and yet it feels like the matches where Lazio fans aren’t racist or politically incorrect are the few isolated events instead. Their “isolated elements” chanted vociferously and repeatedly every time Bakayoko touched the ball, got fouled, or especially when he “took one for the team.” There were at least four giant inflatable bananas spotted at this match, and some fans obviously wearing banana-yellow colored shirts, all while singing “this banana is for you, Bakayoko.”

People were worried about the banner supporting Mussolini that Lazio and Inter fans together held up in Milano ahead of the match, with no indication as to which parts of fascism they supported or agreed with and no apparent threat to anyone. Meanwhile, both Bakayoko and at times, Kessie, were the victims of targeted and disgusting racist chants that came through loud and clear on the broadcast, over the 62,000 Milan fans and over even the commentator. None of their previous chants were punished, although it is difficult to see how the FIGC can possibly ignore such blatant attacks in a semifinal of a cup match. But still, what will they do? Worst case scenario, they play a game behind closed doors? And a Coppa match at that? They’re not going to close the doors for the final. These fans knew that, and they were unabashedly and horrifically racist. Again. Not just an “isolated element,” but repeatedly offensive with no apparent attempts from the club to punish the offenders, save for a few pathetic words. Not a surprise, when Lotito, their owner, is known to have said very racist things himself, amongst so many other bigoted public statements.

"I don't even like bananas. Why do they keep offering them to me?"

For me, the football was dreadful. It is hard to believe that Milan will manage to cling to fourth and actually qualify for Champions League when our performances have just gone from bad to worse. We missed out on the chance for a trophy, even if no one cares about the Coppa Italia or its accompanying patch to be worn the following season. But what really missed out was common decency. We all missed out on the wonderful human experience that is the beautiful game because of an incredibly loud “isolated element” within only about 4,000 Lazio supporters who took it upon themselves to abuse another human being just because they themselves are degenerates. With a club that is unwilling to admit the level of problem that they have amongst their supporters, and a federation who make it more difficult to be punished for racism than to be punished for violence not seen by the referee on the pitch, these supporters created the ultimate defeat.

This post inspired by the music of They Might Be Giants’ “Your Racist Friend”

Our next match is
Serie A Week 34
Torino vs. Milan
Sunday, April 28 • 20:30 CST (2:30pm EDT)

Milan 0, Lazio 1: Ultimate Defeat Milan 0, Lazio 1: Ultimate Defeat Reviewed by Elaine on 9:26 PM Rating: 5
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