Napoli 0, Milan 1: Glory and Honor

Milan took the glory of three points and the honor of top of the table. But you know, we are not really Scudetto contenders, according to pundits and opposition fans. Spalletti picked up his second coach of the month award before he lost this match, whereas Pioli has done so much more with so much less for so much longer, and has only ever been recognized once while at Milan. Whatever. Tonight, Milan got the glory and the honor, and it feels amazing.

Glory and honor

There were back to back claims for penalties, first for Milan for a foul on Bennacer, then for Napoli for a foul on Osimhen. Neither was given, but had Orsato given one, he would have had to have given the other. Pioli did get a yellow in protest, however. The first big save would be Ospina's, on a lightning fast Messias header from a corner in the 19th minute. Osimhen followed that up with a shot behind the goal a minute later.

Koulibaly gave Giroud a rather nasty foul in the 24th, which also gave Giroud a rather nasty gash on his ankle, requiring treatment. The Napoli defender earned a yellow for that, then his defensive counterpart, Rrahmani, would also see yellow about 15 minutes later. Giroud and Ospina collided, for which Giroud was shown a yellow card. I am not convinced that was the right call, because there was zero intent, but I do believe in protecting the keeper.

Current mood

The second half started off in the best possible way. Calabria took a shot through traffic, and Giroud was in exactly the right place at the exact right moment to tap it in, a truly poached goal. 1-0 Milan. It felt very reminiscent of a Pippo Inzaghi goal, with the knee sliding celebration to complete it, too. But it was all Giroud, and it was his first away goal for Milan, too. 

What followed was 45 minutes of intense football and emotions, some great shots and saves, with Milan the more dominant team for much of the night, but Napoli always threatening. Bennacer had a great match, and Tomori and Kalulu defended Osimhen like he may have never been defended before. Maignan was perfect, and Theo Hernández was all over the pitch. He did get a yellow, however, for mixing it up with Osimhen, and will be suspended for Saturday's match vs. Empoli for card accumulation.

What winning looks like

Also seeing yellow were Maignan, for timewasting, and Florenzi for a tackle late in the match. Substitutions included Rebić for Giroud, who twisted his ankle in addition to the gash, and Krunić for Tonali in the 68th. Next were Saelemaekers and Florenzi on for Messias and Calabria, respectively, in the 80th. Finally, in the 90th, we saw the return of Ibrahimović. Saelemaekers had the last shot of the match, on a 1v1 with Ospina, but sent it high, and the Napoli keeper tipped it over. 

That was it. Well, there was more fire and brimstone, but it was a great match, made even better by the result. Napoli fans soured it when they sang racist chants against Ibrahimović, even if he was only on the pitch for five minutes. Super weird considering how upset they get when Koulibaly and Osimhen are racially abused. But I think most people would agree that Milan deserved the three points, and having been robbed of the point last time, that just made this win feel just a little better. We're probably still not Scudetto contenders for most people, because we don't have a massive wage bill or important and expensive signings or a coach who whines about everything. But now we have the glory of beating Napoli at home and the honor of being top of the table again.

This post inspired by the music of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 29
Milan vs. Empoli
Saturday, March 12 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

Napoli 0, Milan 1: Glory and Honor Napoli 0, Milan 1: Glory and Honor Reviewed by Elaine on 5:50 PM Rating: 5
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