Milan 1, Udinese 1: The Hand of Udogie

Milan fans are left disappointed once again after battling a relegation-threatened side and dropping points. While I will be the first to admit that this was not a perfect Milan performance, it also wasn't our worst. At the end of the day, the equalizer came from a handball. Both the opposition player and coach admitted it was a handball, but Marchetti, reffing his first Serie A match, did not. Not even after VAR checked it, which is on Guida, who is vastly more experienced. Not even wearing a new insurance company logo on our butts could insure  against bad calls. They were fooled by the hand of Udogie.

"Excuse me, kind sir, but I do not think that goal was valid"

The game started pretty scrappily, which is to be expected with a 16th place side. It took about 20 minutes for Milan to settle in and start taking chances, of which both Leão and Calabria had shots that went wide. That is until the 29th, when Tonali, with his first assist of the year, sent it over to Leão, who slotted it home. 1-0 Milan. 

Shortly after scoring, Leão took a bad knock (with no card for the perpetrator, of course) which caused him to seek treatment and caused fans a lot of concern. But he was able to play the rest of the game. Messias and Calabria both had shots blocked before the half, and Maignan had saves on both Beto and Deulofeu as well.

That will teach Silvestri not to wear braids

The second half was more of the same. Rebić came on for Giroud and almost immediately got a yellow card. Saelemaekers came on for Messias and eventually almost did something brilliant. Maldini came on for Brahim Díaz for a few minutes, and Leão waited until the final minute to pick up his yellow card.

The controversy was in the 66th, when Udogie scored with his arm. You saw when the ball went in that he immediately looked at the referee and waited to celebrate. Milan players protested, and rightfully so, because they saw it, too. But Marchetti, the head ref, awarded the goal. VAR did a check, which he paused for, but did not personally go to check the screen. So the equalizer stood, 1-1 all.

Goalkeepers can use their hands, outfield players cannot

Marchetti had a poor debut. There was at least once where he blew his whistle without allowing the advantage (he should talk to Serra about that problem.) He made a lot of calls, which made Pioli angry, because all of those stops really do interrupt the rhythm of the game, specifically our rhythm. 

But where Marchetti really screwed up was making Paolo Maldini angry. Maldini has stayed relatively quiet about the four referees who were suspended after reffing our games and making egregious errors this season. This is at least the second, if not the third Serie A match in which the referee's call changed the outcome of the game. We have lost at least five points now in the league and probably also our chance to go through in the Champions League because of referee calls. And the gracious Paolo Maldini is done with this.

Why always him?

Maldini rightfully complained, not only about VAR not doing the job it was intended to do, but also about having referees debut at the San Siro, an intimidating venue. This was no Mourinho rant, making excuses about his pathetic team. Maldini is not alone in his criticism, which will undoubtedly be more clear when the morning papers arrive and are in agreement. Even Udinese's Cioffi admitted it was likely a handball and a VAR error in his postmatch comments. 

So Milan were robbed of points again. How ironic, on the tenth anniversary of the "gol di Muntari." Without an overwhelming performance to prove it, I will be curious as to what happens to Marchetti and/or Guida, but once again, that won't change Milan's result or points on the table. Other teams complain about the referees, but Milan are the only club I know of where not only were apologies made, but referees suspended multiple times. This match was not determined on merit, but rather the hand of Udogie.

This post inspired by Portishead's Sour Times

Our next match is
Coppa Italia Semifinal First Leg
il Derby della Madonnina
Milan vs. Inter
Tuesday, March 1 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)

Milan 1, Udinese 1: The Hand of Udogie Milan 1, Udinese 1: The Hand of Udogie Reviewed by Elaine on 11:00 PM Rating: 5
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