Milan 2, Torino 0: Reckless Win

Mentality has gotten this team this far, still in first place, and still breaking records and winning. But winning so much comes at a cost, especially when your team is small, young, and injury-laden. Players want to win so badly that they will foul or take risks they wouldn't need to with a full strength squad. That meant that to win this game, Milan were whistled for 22 fouls, given a whopping seven cards, and had two new injuries, as well as a player suspended for this next round. It was a convincing win, but also a reckless win.

Three points, 2 injuries, and a suspension

Maresca definitely called a tight game, possibly because his counterpart let a lot of calls go midweek in Milan's match and was highly criticized for it. But it's not like he made fouls up. Pioli kicked it off by getting carded in the 23rd, and from there, we saw Brahim, Romagnoli, Tonali, Dalot, Leao, and Calabria all cautioned as well. This means that Leao will be suspended for the Cagliari match for card accumulation. Torino were given a couple of cards of their own, as well, but it was a contentious and physical match in which Milan players with tired legs but determined minds made late tackles and desperate fouls to get the win.

VAR was used prominently twice, and very judiciously, as Maresca listened to the VAR booth and then went to look for himself on both penalty calls. One call was in the 32nd when Brahim was brought down by Belotti in the box. It was a tricky call, but with the help of VAR, he got it right, and Milan were awarded a penalty. Kessie converted that penalty in the 36th for our second goal.

Cold as ice

The other VAR call was in the 49th, when Maresca originally awarded a penalty to Torino because former Milan player Simone Verdi went down in the box. However after VAR review, it turns out that he kicked Tonali in the shin and that was why he fell, so the penalty was rescinded. However, Tonali was down for treatment for sometime and was eventually stretchered off. Incredibly scary for a team already missing so many players, and even scarier that he was unable to leave the field of his own volition. Brahim was also injured, forcing Pioli to bring on Calhanoglu, who had been struggling with an injury of his own this week, to be risked for the last 30 minutes.

Theo Hernandez also took a beating

But Milan did pull off the win, beginning with Leao's goal in the 25th from a great ball from Brahim, which opened the scoring at 1-0 Milan, with Kessie's penalty making it 2-0 just over ten minutes later. Milan would manage only eight shots, but four of those were on target. Meanwhile, Giampaolo, aka the next Sacchi, would see his team take nine shots, with only one on target. Kjaer has fully returned as our favorite Viking defender, with a spectacular tackle in the 41st and an amazing headed clearance in the 66th minute, amongst other amazing feats.

Goal today, gone tomorrow

Speaking of returning, not only did Calhanoglu play after having a knock midweek, but Ibrahimovic returned for the last ten minutes or so, almost as a foreboding for things to come for Torino on Tuesday, when we face them again in the Coppa Italia. But even those two playing was a bit reckless, as they are such important players, and perhaps would not have been risked in such a physical match, were it not for so many other injuries. 

This was not beautiful football, but a convincing win against a coach for whom there is no love lost from Milan fans. That part was satisfying, but the injuries and card are incredibly worrying. We will face Torino again on Tuesday, and both teams will know better what to expect. Because it is a single elimination tournament at this point, Torino may have some surprises in store for us in their attempt to be relevant in some way this season. But the real surprise will be who Pioli will have left to line up. Winning is always great, but this one was a reckless win.

This post inspired by the music of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know"

Our next match is the
Coppa Italia Round of 16
Milan vs. Torino
Tuesday, January 12 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

Milan 2, Torino 0: Reckless Win Milan 2, Torino 0: Reckless Win Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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