Milan 4, Torino 2: Clutch

This game was important for reasons not related to our season. The tribute before the game to Kobe, Gianna, and the other seven victims tragically taken from us too soon set the tone for a match that had to be won. Not for Milan, not to get to the semifinals, but to honor one of the most famous Milan fans in the world. A man who built his career on being clutch.

For Kobe

No surprise, then, that Milan left it to overtime to honor their fallen hero. They started strong, and in the 12th minute, Bonaventura scored a great goal, 1-0 Milan. Milan were dominating the game, but Torino’s defense were also tightening up. Then all of a sudden, in the 34th, BAM. Bremer scored. 1-1 all.

A frustrated Rebic received a yellow for swinging his elbow into Izzo in the 37th, a move that could have been a red card instead. There would be a total of eight yellows in all for players in this match, plus a yellow for Mazzarri in the 98th as well. As a result, Conti will miss the first leg of the semifinal vs. Juve due to suspension.

A heart like Kobe

Rebic turned frustration into a goal in the 41st that was unfortunately called back due to a Piatek handball. After the half, though, Milan struggled and Gigio was put under a lot more pressure. We were struggling to create chances, and so Pioli wisely called upon the big guns. Ibrahimovic came on for Piatek in the 65th, the first of Pioli’s genius subs.

Torino made Ibrahimovic’s job harder, though, when Bremer scored his second of the match to make it 2-1 Torino. The San Siro was stunned to almost silence. Five minutes later, Pioli sent Leao on for a weary Bonaventura. Calhanoglu came on for Krunic. Then Ibrahimovic started shooting… and missing, sometimes in a big way. It felt like tragedy was going to be followed by heartbreak.


Then it happened. A Calhanoglu rocket screamed past Sirigu to equalize the game in the first minute of stoppage time. Clutch. 2-2 all. Despite Ibrahimovic’s best efforts, and there were at least four in the last ten minutes of regulation, the game went to overtime.

Calhanoglu had another great shot, but Sirigu had brought his A-game to overtime and saved it. Belotti saved by Gigio. Then a double save on Hernandez, and then another save less than a minute later. Pioli rolled out his fourth sub (a new rule this year that applies to games with overtime,) bringing on Kessie for Rebic. Kessie assisted Calhanoglu a minute later with a goal that was truly worthy of honoring a legend like Kobe. 3-2 Milan. The San Siro was alive and LOUD.

Mamba Mentality

Two minutes later, with the epitome of Mamba Mentality, Ibrahimovic finally got his clutch goal from a Leao cross to seal the game. 4-2 Milan. Torino had no answers, and after 120 minutes of intense football, Milan were headed to the semifinals.

Not only did Milan show up, even after being down, the win was the best way to honor the legend that was Kobe Bryant. Having a legend like Ibrahimovic, having just returned from Los Angeles, score the final goal for the win was so fitting. Having an underdog like Calhanoglu, so overly criticized by his own fans, come up with not just one but two clutch goals would have made Kobe smile that beautiful smile of us. Kobe always came up big when he was needed most, and so tonight Milan came up big to honor him. Clutch.

This post inspired by the brilliant career and life of Kobe Bryant. RIP Mamba.

Our next match is
Serie A Round 22
Milan vs. Verona
Sunday, February 2 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)

Milan 4, Torino 2: Clutch Milan 4, Torino 2: Clutch Reviewed by Elaine on 11:59 PM Rating: 5
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