Milan 2, Fiorentina 1: Surviving

Milan believed in the win and kept fighting to the end, but it was good fortune that saw them escape this match with the three points against a Fiorentina side who were not as lucky. Leão opened up the scoring right away, but Italiano's side gave up the own goal in the dying minutes, even if they deserved at least a point from their performance. There were a couple of controversial VAR reviews in this one, and none of the Milan players had a particularly brilliant performance, so this one was more about simply surviving.

Stayin' alive... barely
Milan said farewell to Gazidis by giving him a "Milanista hug" ahead of his last match as CEO. Then Leão was awarded the Serie A Player of the Month for October ahead of kickoff, and he demonstrated why he earned that by scoring a sweet goal less than two minutes in from a Giroud layoff. 1-0 Milan. Then the battle began. Fiorentina lost Dodô to an apparent muscle injury, and he had to be subbed off in the 18th minute. Milan know all too well about injuries this season, and I can only hope his is not serious and that he is back on the pitch in no time.
He showed us why he earned his award right away

Brahim Díaz earned Milan's one and only yellow card in the match in the 21st, but then it was Fiorentina's turn for a change in fortune. Our beloved ex, Bonaventura, had been set to play against us, but suffered an injury in warmup, and was replaced by Antonin Barák. Wouldn't you know that it was Barák who scored for them in the 28th? 1-1 all. His shot took a slight deflection off of the back of Thiaw's heel, which was enough to throw Tatarusanu off, and the ball went underneath him. But it is difficult to believe that Maignan would not have saved that with his spectacularly quick reflexes, despite the deflection. He simply cannot come back quickly enough.

Things started getting more physical, with Kalulu taking out Biraghi's ankle, and someone elbowing Theo in the mouth until he apparently was worried about a loose tooth. Tonali had a shot blocked, but Venuti, who had come off the bench to replace the injured Dodô, made the star save at the end of the first half. Brahim Díaz had beaten Terracciano, the goalkeeper, and Venuti made a fantastic goal line clearance to keep things level at halftime.

Bubble wrap this man until he can return for us

Fiorentina earned four yellows on the pitch in the second half, as well as one for Italiano for protesting. A couple of them were pretty impressive fouls, too, but not quite red card offenses. Milan tried taking their chances, but were held to only 11 shots in all, with only three of those on target. That included Giroud's attempted bicycle kick and Leao's shots blocked by his own teammates, as well as his wayward shot over an open goal late in the match.

There were two very controversial moments as well. I am never comfortable with being the team that gains the advantage in these situations. The first was a Tomori sliding tackle on Ikoné in the 59th in the box. Looking at all of the angles, I do believe that the VAR refs got it right – that it was not a penalty. But the initial look was not good, and controversy is never fun. However, if you consider that maybe Tomori got it right, then he actually had a really strong game, particularly considering his game-saving massive goal line clearance, also on Ikoné, in the 89th.

Tomori had the goal line clearance to keep us in the game

The second controversy involved the second goal. Vranckx, having been subbed on by Pioli for Krunić in the 75th, sent in a beautiful cross, seemingly intended for Origi in the 91st. Only Milenković ended up sending it into the back of his own net for the own goal, a Fiorentina curse, apparently. That won it for Milan, 2-1. But only after a VAR review, where they looked at any number of things, including whether or not Rebić interfered with Terracciano, as well as perhaps a potential offside. Again, I do believe that they got this one right, as well, and not just because Milan won. But I do not like winning with controversy or even because of an own goal. I prefer to win of our own merit, free and clear.

This was not a great performance by Milan, it was a team trying to survive an Italiano side that played well. And credit to Fiorentina for that, they deserved something from this game for their efforts. Pioli may be a little less loved by his former side tonight. Unfortunately for him, a personal matter came up which saw him leave the stadium in tears before the post match press conference. He gets too many of those kinds of calls around Fiorentina, I really hope all is well for him.

When you send in the cross that wins the game 

As for Milan, they got the three points by dogged determination, relentless belief, and some help from luck. The Scudetto is not out of our reach by any means, Maldini reminded us after the match that Milan were seven points behind Inter going into the Derby last season. This was not a memorable performance by any means, but it was three points ahead of a break which should see important players returning from injury afterward. Until that point, lately, it has been all about just surviving.

This post inspired by the music of The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" 

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Milan 2, Fiorentina 1: Surviving Milan 2, Fiorentina 1: Surviving Reviewed by Elaine on 9:53 PM Rating: 5
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