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Torino 2, Milan 0: Endgame



This was not a good weekend for Milan fans or for fans of Marvel Comics movies. For the latter, the release of the 22nd movie in 11 short years marks the end of a group of superheroes that started with just six and grew into legions of heroes, ready to battle evil for a good cause. For the former, this match marked the end of a quest to return to Champions League glory next season. And while not mathematically out of the race, the performances and mentality at the club demonstrate that we are. Even with four more games to play, this is the match where fans know it is over. It was Milan’s Endgame.

When superheroes disappoint... again

Much like the Avengers movie, this game was filled with action and brutality. And cards. So many cards. At the final whistle, Milan had lost our captain for this and at least the next match, with him having been shown a yellow and then a straight red for dissent. He will be fined… again, I’m sure, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets more than a one match ban, considering he is both the captain and has had multiple cards for dissent this season. Another casualty was Conti. With Calabria injured, he was given the start, but apparently injured his shoulder in the third minute of the match. He bravely played 70 minutes until he was subbed, but has pulled out of the Italy training camp this week due to his injury.

Both the Avengers movie and Milan dealt with mentality, with regret, and with their pasts. Whether or not you liked the Avengers movie, I would rank it on top of Milan as for how well they each dealt with all of the above. Though Torino’s team probably has a wage bill that is a fraction of Milan’s, they were hungry, and played good football. They looked for opportunities and capitalized on Milan’s mistakes. Whereas Milan were undisciplined, rash, and defensive. Milan rarely created opportunities, often lost the ball, and even with almost an identical amount of shots, were unable to save the day.

The Paqueta-Rincon battle was epic

At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos took half of all living things on earth, including some of our favorite Superheroes. That seemed so unfair. And so unlike a Superhero movie, too, where the good guys are always supposed to win. So Endgame was highly anticipated to see if things would even out. Likewise, the referees have been a big topic for Milan recently, including the recent racism issues with Lazio regarding the abuse of Bakayoko and Kessie, which all seems so unfair. So this match would be a good test to see if things did actually even out.

Unfortunately, there were way too many incidents for Guida to call, let alone get right. Even with VAR, even if there had been 12 refs on the pitch, this game was just too physical to catch everything. Although nine cards were handed out, 20 may have been too few. And there was a penalty call, non-penalty calls, non-handball calls, etc. But at the end of the day, the calls did pretty much even out. I mean, tell that to Romagnoli and the others who were visibly upset that so many calls went against Milan. But stepping back, with some objectivity, there were a number of calls that went against Torino, including a penalty they should have been given in the 50th, when Belotti may have entered into a common law marriage with Musacchio against his will.

Perhaps Romagnoli is just a bit too young to be captain?

 
Like any villain might, Mazzarri, Alec Baldwin’s evil Italian twin, got himself sent off in the 53rd. He didn’t even get to see the goals and his team’s victory. But when the villains set their mind to something, they followed his instructions blindly and successfully. Meanwhile, all anyone can talk about is whether or not Gattuso gets to stay these next four games, or if he’ll be banished from the Milan universe. It’s not looking good, because he seems to have lost his way a couple of months ago, and with this team of superheroes, to lose a game like this is inexplicable. When you consider that Milan were in third with the chance to go four points clear just two months ago, and now we have all but lost our chance of Champions League qualification, someone needs to take responsibility for that.

The first goal was a penalty, Kessie’s little push on Izzo in the box happened just six minutes after Musacchio’s assault on Belotti. So, as you would expect a rooster to do, Belotti took the penalty and converted it. 1-0 Torino. Gattuso’s reaction was to bring on Borini – he clearly didn’t learn how to sub in superhero classes. He also brought on Piatek, but neither of them could sub for the dead tactics and missing mentality. So in the 69th minute, Musacchio’s horrific clearance went basically straight to Torino, and Berenguer took advantage of it. 2-0 Torino.

Clearly, Bakayoko is looking to extend his loan deal

There were heroic moments, like a couple of key saves and blocks from Gigio, Romagnoli, and more. Or Bakayoko hitting the crossbar, or almost scoring but for a massive save from Sirigu. As for the violence, there were small victories for Milan, and plenty of small victories for Torino, too. But nothing could compensate for the fact that our superheroes gave up a couple of months ago. They have forgotten what it is to do good, and to fight to the end. And as a result, our Champions League hopes are all but over for yet another year. This one was soul crushing.

The Avengers Endgame… well you’ll just have to see it, I don’t want to spoil anything. But I think there was probably more hope at the end than there is left in the entire Milan fanbase. And that includes those obnoxious “optimistic” Milan fans that have been waving the Spiderman flags this whole time, even though the rest of us clearly saw him turn to dust. Another year without Champions League. Players will have to be sold, UEFA are really going to drop the FFP hammer on us now, and who knows what else will happen? But it’s not going to be good. After a year when even those of us who were the biggest skeptics started to believe again, this match was truly Milan’s Endgame.

No Spoiler Alerts were harmed in the making of this post.



This post inspired by the music of Billie Eillish’s “Bury a Friend”


Our next match is
Serie A Week 35
Milan vs. Bologna
Monday, May 6 • 20:30 CEST (2:30pm EDT)