Milan 3, Genoa 1: Delayed Gratification

In a match that lasted 120 minutes, including added extra time,  Milan phoned it in for the first 75 minutes. Maybe they were trying to let Shevchenko win for some job security, or maybe they are allergic to competitions where you can win trophies. But as a fan, it was very frustrating to watch them languish for so long before equalizing and then ultimately winning while wasting 30 extra minutes of energy. Once the Milan goals started, it was much better, but felt a lot like delayed gratification.

120 minutes for some delayed gratification

Milan took a few shots in the first 15 minutes, including a Krunić header that just grazed the top of the crossbar. But they seemed stunned when the Norwegian Østigård slammed his header past Maignan to take the lead in the 17th minute. 1-0 Genoa. Østigård is one of three new signings for Genoa this month, and seemed to have a personal vendetta against Milan, even neutralizing the speedy and talented Leão when he came on... almost.

All the feels.

Shortly after the Genoa goal, Tomori was down injured and needed treatment. He came back on, only to be subbed off less than five minutes later with a knee injury. He had just come back, too. Let's hope it is not serious. Florenzi came on and Kalulu moved over to take Tomori's spot, but Genoa continued to punish Milan's almost confused play through the rest of the first half.

Giroud only scores at San Siro

The 48th saw Giroud head it to Gabbia just in front of goal for what should have been an easy tap-in, but Semper saved it. He made a lot of saves in this one. Two minutes later, Daniel Maldini made a tackle that was reminiscent of his father's defending, it was so beautiful. But still, Milan were struggling. So Pioli brought on Leão, Bakayoko, and Brahim Díaz for Rebić, Krunić, and Daniel Maldini respectively. Poor Sheva countered with Destro, who we know from his time at Milan has always struggled to score at the San Siro.

Taking us back in time

Pioli's substitutions made a difference in the intensity, although it was Giroud who would equalize with a brilliant header in the 74th from an equally brilliant Theo Hernández assist 1-1 all. Giroud almost repeated the feat, but with a Leão cross instead, just three minutes later. Saelemaekers came on for Messias, who had attempted a few shots, but it was the Belgian interrupter that turned up the tempo a bit. Not enough to kill the game in regulation though, so we went to added extra time.

Remember that name.

In the 93rd, Leão nutmegged Østigård for what looked like a certain goal, but Semper pushed it just wide. Tonali took a shot from distance that curled just wide at the last minute. Milan continued to pepper Semper with shots until finally, in the 103rd, Brahim Díaz sent the ball to Leão, whose cross-turned-goal made it 2-1 Milan. 

Theo Hernández with 2 more assists, wearing the armband again

In the second half of added extra time, Genoa were suffering, but Østigård sent a dangerous shot just over. The unpredictable Saelemaekers made it 3-1 from another Theo Hernández assist. But he redeemed his erratic form by trying to take out Semper just three minutes later and earning himself a yellow card. The Primavera striker Roback came on for Giroud and looked really good for the five minutes or so that he was given before the final whistle blew.

A goal and a yellow card, all in three minutes. 

There were some beautiful moments despite Shevchenko's loss, as the Curva Sud sang for him as they honored him with a banner that read "A long love story, the look of Manchester is engraved on our hearts, Sheva, legend forever." The reference was to the look that Shevchenko gave the ref just before scoring the winning penalty against Juventus in the 2003 Champions League final, a moment that Milan fans will never forget. Sheva was clearly emotional, and the fans honored him at full time, too, as he was leaving the pitch. 

The Curva shows some love

We can only hope that Genoa's strong performance tonight will be enough to save his job, despite being knocked out of the Coppa Italia. Milan move on to the quarterfinals to face the winner of Lazio-Udinese the week of February 9th. Whatever. Milan really need to focus on the league, it would have been better to help out a beloved Milan legend. Especially when this match was 75 minutes of frustration before delayed gratification. 

This post inspired by the music of Prince's "I Would Die 4 U"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 22
Milan vs. Spezia
Monday, January 17 • 18:30 CET (12:30 EST)

Milan 3, Genoa 1: Delayed Gratification Milan 3, Genoa 1: Delayed Gratification Reviewed by Elaine on 11:57 PM Rating: 5
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