Milan 2, Atalanta 0: Pure Joy

With so much at stake and so little room for mistakes, each match causes more tension for fans going until the final whistle. Yet with each win, there is so much more satisfaction. After a tense first half that was more like a chess match than football, the second half was filled with individual brilliance and pure joy.

What just happened?

The first half was filled with tension, a few shots, a couple of saves, and Atalanta defenders climbing all over a frustrated Giroud, who earned a yellow card for complaining about it after being shoved down right on the edge of the box. 

The second half started more emotionally, with Kessié shoving his former Atalanta teammates down like rag dolls (I'm going to miss him!) and Koopmeiners seeing yellow for trying to stop the explosive Theo Hernández. Then substitutions were made.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, roar like a lion?

Messias made an immediate impact, assisting Leão for his ridiculously talented dance in on goal. 1-0 Milan. There was some controversy, as it appeared that Kalulu fouled an Atalanta player on the buildup to the play, but VAR reviewed it and the goal stood. Could it possibly be that a call actually went Milan's way for once this season? (If so, sorry, Atalanta. We know how you feel.)

Tonali was shockingly and disappointingly subbed off, and just as I was getting ready to vocalize (again) my disappointment that Krunić was still on the pitch, it happened. He made a fantastic tackle, intercepting the ball, giving it to Theo Hernández, and the rest is 93.5 meters of history. He dribbled all the way down the pitch, around countless Atalanta players, even the referee, and then took the shot, drilling it past Musso to make it 2-0 Milan. 

Theo just blew Leão's mind

Even his teammates could not believe what they had just seen. Obviously, he had to impress his newborn son, Theo Jr., who was at the match for probably his first time, and he dedicated his goal to him before celebrating with the fans and his teammates. It was pure joy.

This goal clearly emboldened Pioli so much that he brought on Bakayoko. In a must-win match, with a full 11 minutes plus stoppages to play, he replaced the now tackling genius of Krunić with a tackling terrorist who hadn't played in months. Obviously, it was to let him say goodbye, but it nearly gave me a heart attack. The defense held out. Maignan was brilliant as usual, Tomori and Kalulu defended seamlessly and without getting carded, so will still be available for our last game.

Nothing gets past them

After the match, even Gasperini admitted that Milan deserved to win the Scudetto. He should know, it was Atalanta's thumping of Milan two and a half years ago that forged this team's mentality, created this monstrous belief that is bigger than talent, wage bills, or controversy. 

There are no words to describe the emotions at the final whistle. Watching Kjaer, watching all of the hugs, Maldini celebrating, the players with their kids, and the tens of thousands of fans soaking it all in was absolutely priceless. Our final home game of a season filled with so many trials and so many triumphs. To come through it all at the top with just one more match, needing just one more point to take it all, it was just pure joy.

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

Our final match of the season is
Serie A Week 38
Sassuolo vs. Milan
Sunday, May 22 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)

Milan 2, Atalanta 0: Pure Joy Milan 2, Atalanta 0: Pure Joy Reviewed by Elaine on 2:25 AM Rating: 5
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