Milan 2, Lazio 0: Plug and Play

Despite concerns going into this game about Milan not having a proper striker to start and also facing a Lazio team that had scored the most goals in the league, this game was fun. Lazio's midfield has also been widely envied by other clubs, but Kessie and Tonali made them look like schoolchildren tonight. Watching this team is such a joy now because it seems like no matter who Pioli plugs into the lineup, they all work together, play well, and have fun doing it. They make it look so effortless and easy, like an old school plug and play.


Milan looked like children on the playground, even if Lazio tried to bully them. Lazio don't seem to have adapted to Sarri's tactics as well as initially thought. Speaking of Sarri, he was shown on camera being talked to or talking to Chiffi or his assistant at least four times, and was eventually shown a red card after the whistle. He claims that Saelemaekers used a gesture towards him that shouldn't be used toward older people out of respect, but whatever he said or did will see him miss the next match. As for Saelemaekers, Papa Ibra scolded him and made him apologize to Sarri, even if Sarri is no stranger to being sent off.

Speaking of Ibrahimović, the biggest talking point and the thing that got the most camera time was his new hairstyle. For those of you not well-versed in the art of braids, it is what is known as a Dutch braid, or an inverted French braid. Not sure I know of too many men who are badass enough to pull it off, let alone try it, but if it's braided well, it works much better than a ponytail to keep the hair out of your face. I'm just saying.

The cameras couldn't get enough

Secondary to the new hairstyle, the cameras also showed a bit of a moment between Theo Hernández and Pedro, which I assume involved some Spanish words after some excess physicality, and Theo shoved the new Lazio player, but both captains intervened and no one was hurt. That next fifteen minutes or so was filled with tons of Lazio fouls on Milan players, many of which should have been yellows, but weren't. Brahim Díaz was the recipient of some of the worst of them, he really took a beating in this one. Lazio had 18 fouls to Milan's nine, and those were just the ones that Chiffi called.

The playground nonsense was broken up in the 45th by a beautiful run from Leão, who played it to Rebić, who then sent it back in, only for Leão to coolly and smoothly send it past Pepe Reina, as he does. It is so enjoyable to watch him play in his own position again so he can do what he was born to do. Those with low footballing IQs have long criticized him, but for those who have seen him train or watched more carefully, this is not a surprise in any way.

Destined for greatness

Kessié gave Milinković-Savić nightmares that will traumatize him for life in the midfield, and he helped neutralize Immobile, too. In the final minute of stoppage time before the half, Immobile kicked Kessié in the box. Chiffi originally whistled for a free kick, but after a VAR review, the penalty was given. Both Pepe Reina and Luis Alberto received yellows for protesting, but the camera doesn't lie. Immobile was too slow, Kessié got all ball, and he got all leg. Kessié stepped up, took it, and... hit the crossbar?! His headed rebound went wide, as well. But hey, the world is still spinning. And Milan were still up 1-0 going into the half.

He had to miss some time, I guess

Pioli waited until the 60th minute to bring on Ibrahimović. After being out for four months following knee surgery, a mortal player would have struggled, but it only took him seven minutes to score a goal that Lazio's defense made all too easy for him. Rebić got his second assist of the night as Ibrahimović timed his run perfectly and basically walked it in. 2-0 Milan. Perhaps Acerbi, who had come to Milan following Ibrahimović back in 2012, thought he was still supposed to follow him, but it didn't work out for him now that he plays for Lazio, either. 

So easy

Another substitute of note was Bakayoko. As soon as his name was announced, the Lazio Ultras sang a chant that included "this banana is for Bakayoko." Milan said afterward via social media that they are going to have the FIGC investigate Lazio fans for racism, but really Ultras? After 18 months that you couldn't come to the stadium, just three games in, you are going to live up to your reputation and get yourselves banned already? So disgraceful. Racism has no place anywhere, let alone in football. 

13 minutes of fail

Speaking of living up to a reputation, Bakayoko came on and two and a half minutes later got a yellow card that should have been a red for a stomp on Acerbi. He played poorly for 13 minutes and then had to be subbed off for injury. I have been very vocal about not wanting him to return to Milan for all of these reasons and more, including on the latest podcast. But maybe I undersold it. The Lazio Ultras likely abused only him rather than anyone else because of his previous unsporting behavior toward Acerbi, but again, there is no excuse for racism.

Rebić was in beast mode

Milan held Lazio to only eight shots, but five were on target. No problems there, though, we have Maignan in goal. But Milan took 21 shots, even if only three were on target. Those stats tell nothing about the performance, however. Rebić was everywhere, and deserved both assists. Milan's defense were immense, the midfield stifling, and our attack was so entertaining to watch. The team played with such confidence and ease, which is a great way to go into this intense week with two massive games in the next seven days. This team is ready to old school plug and play.

This post is inspired by the music of Us3's "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"

Our next match is
Champions League Group Stage
Liverpool vs. Milan
Wednesday, September 15 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)

Milan 2, Lazio 0: Plug and Play Milan 2, Lazio 0: Plug and Play Reviewed by Elaine on 11:15 PM Rating: 5
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