Red Star Belgrade 2, AC Milan 2: Injustices

This match was infuriating for me, and not because of Milan's performance. On the pitch, the players did well enough for the lineup that we had. But the referee's calls were lacking, particularly as we conceded the last goal, and that the fans were in the stadium after being forbidden and lighting fireworks and abusing Ibrahimovic and some of the other players made me livid. I am also very angry that Bennacer was injured. Not at any one person, there's no one to blame, just angry at the injury gods, I guess. For me, this match had a lot of injustices.

Small consolation for so many injustices

Starting with the match, Milan had two goals called back in the first 12 minutes, from Castillejo and Theo Hernandez. Both were subjected to VAR review. Neither were goals in the end, but without VAR, both of them may have been, because the offside call was really late and the handball was only spotted by VAR. The first half saw some pretty nice plays, Rebic was particularly impressive, playing on defense, nutmegging a defender for an almost assist, as well as getting one of the best chances, even if he did send it over. However, Pioli subbed him off at the half for Leao, presumably because he is not yet 100% after returning.

An injustice for Red Star, that was maybe a little Karma for Milan, was when Pankov scored an own goal in the 42nd from a Castillejo ball in. Milan went into the half up 1-0. That unfortunately was undone when Romagnoli was called for a handball while trying to balance and stay on his feet, which led to a penalty for Red Star, and Kanga converted. 1-1 all.

Just another unlucky event for Milan

The fouls and yellow cards started flying, specifically when poor Pankov, the own goal culprit, took down Theo Hernandez in the box. Penalty for Milan. Penalty converted by Theo Hernandez. 2-1 Milan. The cards really did impact the game when Rodic got his second for a foul on Kalulu in the 77th and was sent off, leaving Red Star on ten men. Both he and Milunovic will be suspended for next week's return fixture.

After that, Milan attempted to capitalize on the numerical advantage, but Borjan saved everything. Meite, Dalot, and Tonali all had chances in less than ten minutes, but their keeper saved them all. But this is where everything went wrong... in the second minute of stoppage time, Pavkov gave a nasty little foul on Castillejo, tipping his foot upward, studs up at the Spaniard's tiny little shins, and tripping him. The whistle didn't blow. Playing the advantage, Gajic was offside. But, assuming because Castillejo was down, the linesman didn't raise the offside flag. 

Castillejo just another victim of injustice in the end

Instead, Sidiropoulos awarded a Red Star corner, which Gajic quickly took. The ref whistled again, because Castillejo was down, so even though they were unsportingly trying to restart with a Milan player down, they were allowed to re-take that corner. Which is how Pavkov scored, heading that corner into the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net. 2-2 all. Just a comedy of referee errors on that one play, and although they scored on that play, the ref didn't look at anything that happened leading up to that goal. 

Meanwhile, 1,000 or so fans were apparently in the stadium, chanting, singing, whistling our players, lighting fireworks, and, according to at least one video on social media, racially abusing Ibrahimovic. After Ibrahimovic was so publicly and falsely accused of racism in the Coppa Italia, now he was the victim. Again. The fans were not supposed to be in the stadium, which no one did anything about. and probably no one will do anything about, either. That is a massive injustice. If UEFA actually cared about racism more than printing t-shirts and banners, Milan would be given a 3-0 win because of the behavior of the Red Star fans. Not that I'm looking for a gift, but at some point, these people need to learn a lesson.

Credit to Ibrahimovic for keeping his cool while being abused

But the worst part of the night was in the 39th minute, when Bennacer pulled up, apparently re-injuring the same thigh muscle that he was just coming back from having injured before. So much is being made of this week's Derby, and the incident between Lukaku and Ibrahimovic is still unresolved from over three weeks ago. Ibrahimovic is rumored to accept a "plea bargain" of an extra match ban for NOT racially abusing Lukaku, with no mention of Lukaku being punished for threatening at least twice to kill Ibrahimovic. Yeah, so the Bennacer injury just hurts that much more. It would have been ideal to have a proper starting 11 on Sunday, and we need Bennacer in the league.

Milan players looking for calls was horrible, too

The match did not reflect Milan's performance. But the performance is what I am least concerned about. It's the injustices that are almost unbearable. Red Star did not deserve the equalizer, let alone the point. Great that Milan got two precious away goals, but losing Bennacer is that much more painful with such important games this next two weeks. Why Red Star fans were allowed in the stadium, and why Ibrahimovic was abused are unforgivable sins. Why it is so likely that no one will be punished for abusing and threatening a Milan player in two separate instances is atrocious. This match was absolutely marred by injustices.

This post inspired by the music of She Wants Revenge

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 23
il Derby della Madonnina
Milan vs. Inter
Sunday, February 21 • 15:00 CET (9am EST)

Red Star Belgrade 2, AC Milan 2: Injustices Red Star Belgrade 2, AC Milan 2: Injustices Reviewed by Elaine on 12:38 AM Rating: 5
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