Milan 2, Lazio 0: Feverish Pitch

The early scheduling of this one played an important part in this match, because the weather was unseasonably warm. While all of the players' energy levels were impacted, Lazio seemed particularly lethargic, which did not help their cause against a very motivated Milan team at home. Milan were literally dressed for war in their "split pea soup puke" (military green) kits, and they obliterated Lazio 2-0 in spite of the heat. In fact, they kept Lazio to zero shots on target, and seemingly effortlessly subdued the second-best defense in the league. Meanwhile, true to form this season, the Curva Sud and Milan fans kept things heated in what was quite literally a feverish pitch.

Theo Hernández heated things up with an amazing solo goal

Things really got started in the eighth minute when Leão made a relentless run in on goal, only to be stopped by Lazio keeper Provedel. And some muscle pain. He went off for some treatment and came back on, but Pioli wisely opted to sub him off as a precaution in the eleventh minute for Saelemaekers. That was obviously worrisome, with the Champions League semifinal match coming up, but Leão reassured fans that it wasn't anything serious as he was leaving the stadium.

In the 17th minute, Bennacer intercepted a poor Lazio pass, sent the ball out to Giroud, who sent it back in for the midfielder, who then sent it screaming past Provedel with his powerful left foot. 1-0 Milan. In a match where Milan absolutely needed three points, getting that first goal was so important. 

Bennacer pounced on a Lazio defensive error to open up the scoring.

The cards started flying in the 20th, with our former captain, Romagnoli, being the first beneficiary for whacking Giroud in the head as they both went up for the ball. He was welcomed back by Milan fans with whistles, but it honestly wasn't much different than many of the times when he was wearing the Milan shirt. 

Unfortunately for Lazio, Ciro Immobile, who normally churns out goals, was probably hampered by the heat. But he was also likely limited by the injuries sustained in a car accident just three weeks ago, which included a compound rib fracture and spinal injury. That was evident in the 26th where he normally would have scored, as well as throughout entire the match.

He can run the entire pitch and still have energy for whatever this dance was.

In the 29th minute, Maignan got an assist for rolling the ball forward for a speedy Theo Hernández, who started at the top of one box and ran the entire length of the pitch with the ball, stopping at the top of the other box to shoot, sending it flying over a stunned Provedel. 2-0 Milan. It was reported to be an 84.65 meter run, with eight touches of the ball. Another spectacular coast-to-coast goal, along with another viral dance celebration for the social media fans.

Messias technically put it into the back of the net, but only after he had already been whistled for a foul, so obviously not a goal. Then Calabria picked up a yellow card for a foul on Zaccagni. A couple of more Milan shots, and that was the first half. In all, Milan would only take ten shots the whole match, with only three of those on target, but it was enough to get all three points, which is what mattered.

Pioli's Army.

Pioli, having started essentially his strongest 11, wisely managed his players to rest them for Wednesday's big match. He subbed on Thiaw and Kalulu for Calabria and Kjaer at the half. Then Rebić replaced Giroud in the 69th, and finally, Ballo-Touré gave Theo Hernández a break in the 80th minute.

Not before Theo was fouled by Casale in the 61st, though, earning the Lazio player both a yellow card and a bloody chin in the process, as Theo's trailing leg caught his face. Thiaw had a header in the 65th that went just over, he is getting close to getting his first goal. 

This goal would have been amazing, but Rebić was just a little too hungry.

Speaking of close to getting a goal, Rebić scored in the 83rd minute, but that goal was called back after being ruled offside. And finally, Thiaw also earned a yellow card in the 89th minute for a foul on Bašić, which will see the young German defender suspended for our match vs. Spezia next Saturday.

While the second half was less intense due to the lowered energy levels of players drained by the heat, Milan kept their focus and intensity the entire match. Pioli learned his lesson after having changed seven players vs. Cremonese, and while Milan did play well, Lazio were definitely not their best this evening. 

Facing the fans with honor (in spite of those hideous kits.)

Outside of the concern for Leão's fitness, the win was great for mentality heading into Wednesday's match. We came into this one six points behind second place Lazio, and now we are only three points behind them, and still in the running for a top four spot with four league matches left. The brilliant Milan fans were always behind them, the heat of an early May evening definitely affected them, but they got the win when it was needed most. In spite of a feverish pitch.

This post inspired by the music of Madonna's "Fever"

Our next match is 
Champions League Semifinal
AC Milan vs. Inter Milan
Wednesday, May 10, 2023 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)

Milan 2, Lazio 0: Feverish Pitch Milan 2, Lazio 0: Feverish Pitch Reviewed by Elaine on 11:55 PM Rating: 5
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