KF Feronikeli 0, AC Milan 2: Comprehensive

This was Giampaolo’s first win on the Milan bench, perhaps a quiet win in a historic match. The win itself… well, it would have been incredibly disappointing if we hadn’t won, due to the disparity in player quality and experience. It wasn’t ever in doubt that we would win, but it wasn’t exactly as dominant of a performance as one might expect, either. But we got to see new players, returning players, and actually, pretty much all the players. Giampaolo used both first team keepers and all of his outfield players, so we got to see a truly comprehensive look at where we are preseason.

Celebratory hugs

The first half, Giampaolo started Gigio; Calabria, Gabbia, Romagnoli, Rodriguez; Krunic, Biglia, Calhanoglu; Suso, Castillejo, and André Silva. Seven minutes in, Gabbia headed a Calhanoglu shot just wide, followed by a screamer of a shot from distance from Calhanoglu in the tenth minute. But it took until the 26th minute to convert, when Suso’s exquisite free kick went over the wall and in. 1-0 Milan. Feronikeli had a shot on target in the 36th, but it was weak and easily saved by Gigio, who seemed grateful just to have something to do. Andre Silva closed out the half with a shot that went wide, perhaps he thought the keeper’s name was Monaco.

At the half, Giampaolo kept Romagnoli and Biglia on, but subbed all nine other players. The lineup was: Antonio; Conti, Musacchio, Romagnoli, Strinic; Borini, Biglia, Paqueta; Bonaventura; Piatek, and Leao. I have to say that I adored this subfest. Balanced in that he still fielded a few bench players, but he also brought on a number of apparent starters, too. This only improved the play, especially in attack. Bonaventura, Paqueta, and Piatek dazzled, while it was actually Borini who got the goal, with a Leao assist. 2-0 Milan. Just before the goal Piatek headed a goal in that was called back for offside.

And more celebratory hugs

Conti had a shot that hit the crossbar, and Feronikeli had a shot that hit the crossbar, too, just four minutes later. However, it was perhaps their second shot on target, whereas Milan gave Smakiqi a lot to do this match. Giampaolo’s final subs were in the 84th minute, when he brought on Brescianini, Laxalt, and Maldini for Biglia, Romagnoli, and Bonaventura. Again, great subs, and Brescianini even had a shot just wide in his five minutes of fame.

We missed you so much (kinda miss your hair, too, but missed you so much more)

Boban said that Giampaolo would have us playing good football, but that we would need to actually win. Despite the meaningless preseason friendlies, this was the only match we’ve been able to win so far. Which is absolutely fine now, but in a couple of weeks, the result will matter. However, what has impressed so many of us is how quickly the team has taken Giampaolo’s ideas and changed the playing style so very much. And we are still missing players like Duarte and Kessie and Bennacer, who can only add to the quality of football we’ve seen.

Back, refreshed, and as good as ever

Watching tonight’s match was a great way to show individual talents and skills but also the teamwork and unity that has only improved since the end of last season. All credit to Feronikeli, they played well enough. Their entire budget might not even pay one of our player’s salaries for a year, and they put up a good fight. But for me, the best takeaway from this match was that it was a chance for us to look at the whole team and really see how much progress has been made in such a short time. Comprehensive.

This post inspired by the music of Dramarama’s “Anything, Anything”

Our next match is a friendly
Cesena vs. AC Milan
Saturday, August 17 • 20:30 CEST (2:30pm EDT)

KF Feronikeli 0, AC Milan 2: Comprehensive KF Feronikeli 0, AC Milan 2: Comprehensive Reviewed by Elaine on 4:22 PM Rating: 5
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