Milan 4, Torino 1: Payback

Last season, Torino knocked Milan out of the Coppa Italia. At the San Siro. And that was after we lost 2-1 to them in Turin. So Saturday night, Milan and their new look attack inflicted a 4-1 payback on i Granata. To be fair, the first penalty awarded Milan was very questionable, but there was no doubt as to which team was superior, as even coach Ivan Jurić dejectedly pointed out in his postmatch remarks. Even with such ridiculous disparity, after such a difficult first half of 2023, it felt good to be able to inflict some payback.

Payback is a... display of awesomeness

Milan took a while to break down Torino's defense. Things got physical very early on, with Maignan taking a knee to the face, Ilić getting an early yellow card for a foul on Calabria, and Giroud being shoved in the back, all within the first 20 minutes. Then, something you hate to see, especially so early in the season, Sanabria pulled up in the 20th minute with what looked like a hamstring injury, so was replaced by Pietro Pellegri, who had briefly played for Milan on loan before.

Pulisic demonstrating that he is the LeBron James of scoring.

That injury seemed to take the wind out of Torino's sails, so to speak, and Leão fired a warning shot that went just over the crossbar. But it was Pulisic who tapped it in from a great Loftus-Cheek assist in the 32nd to open the scoring. 1-0 Milan. Of course, that lead did not last long, as Torino came right back and equalized with Per Schuurs getting the goal in the 36th minute. 1-1 all.

Thiaw had an attempt that was saved, and then Theo Hernández earned his second senseless yellow card in as many matches in the 39th minute. At this rate, he will be suspended for our sixth match of the season for card accumulation. Torino probably felt aggrieved for a few calls that didn't quite go their way, but in the 42nd minute, they really had a right to feel wronged. VAR called for a review on a play in which the ball hit Buongiorno's fingertips in the penalty area. After reviewing the play, Mariani awarded the penalty, which was very harsh. 

With a goal on Monday and 2 penalties on Saturday, he becomes Serie A's top scorer

Giroud stepped up, and according to my commentator, with "cutthroat concentration," put his penalty up in the top right corner, past Vanja Milinković-Savić. 2-1 Milan. But the true highlight of the entire match came two minutes into stoppage time before the half, when Leão stealthily rolled the ball into the area, Theo Hernández went around Shuurs, beating him, and with absolutely killer instincts, chipped it over Vanja Milinković-Savić, who had come down to try to collect the low ball in. It was an absolutely sublime goal, one that words simply cannot describe. 3-1 Milan. And their jumping chest bump celebration sealed it with perfection.

The goal was even better than the celebration.

After the half, Thiaw got a little overly friendly, and probably should have seen yellow, but Mariani did not caution him. Jurić became quite upset by this, and was shown a yellow card himself for dissent. I think someone may have also given him a Xanax or something at the same time, because he was remarkably docile for the rest of the second half. 

Torino players were upset again in the 56th, but Loftus-Cheek provided me with my badass moment of the match. He literally shoved Ricci down, clearing the way for him to be one vs one with the keeper, only his shot was saved. The shove looked worse than it was, given his 6'3" (191 cm) and 194 lbs. (88 kg) frame. I am absolutely here for Loftus-Cheek throwing his weight around this season.

Loftus-Cheek using his size advantage to create chances.

In the 61st minute, Leão sent a cross in to Reijnders, who sent it just wide, but the former went down and stayed down, which was very worrying. VAR once again had Mariani take a look at it, and Schuurs, initially the hero with the goal for Torino, was shown to have stepped on Leão's foot. So Mariani awarded a second penalty. Giroud stepped up again, and despite Vanja Milinković-Savić standing a mighty 6'8" (203 cm) tall, Giroud sent it right over him and into the back of the net again. 4-1 Milan. That made three goals in two matches for the Frenchman.

Musah made his competitive debut for Milan, and Okafor and Chukwueze came on as well, replacing Loftus-Cheek, Leão, and Giroud, respectively, in the 65th minute. Having these attacking options is amazing so we do not have to run Leão and Giroud into the ground this season, but there are still plenty of situations where our defense is suspect. Everyone still needs to adjust to the new tactics, and it remains to be seen whether or not we will suffer for the players who left.

Players do need time to acclimate, but there is good chemistry so far.

Thiaw finally got his yellow card for a foul on Karamoh in the 70th, and Tomori should have also maybe received one for shoving Pellegri in the back, but only the young German was carded this time. Torino nearly scored with a set piece, with Vlasić's header going just wide. Kjaer replaced Thiaw in the 79th minute, then just before the final Milan sub, there was a massive scare as Maignan was down and asking for a sub himself. He was able to play the rest of the match, so Florenzi replaced Theo Hernández, but that was definitely the most frightening moment of the match. Let's hope that it was nothing.

Musah got to make his competitive debut and celebrate the win with the fans.

Milan would end up taking 17 shots, with seven on target, while Torino were limited to only eight shots, with only one on target. To be able to neutralize a team like this, who had our number last season, was confidence building. However, we have plenty of stronger opponents coming up who will likely test us much more. On Thursday, we learn our Champions League Group Stage fate, and then Friday, we face Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. Until then, we can enjoy our six points in two matches, and also feel a little vindicated for last year's losses to Torino. This one was payback.

This post inspired by the music of Muse's "Sing For Absolution"

The Champions League Group Stage Draw will be held
Thursday, August 31st at 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 3
Roma vs. Milan
Friday, September 1, 2023 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)

Milan 4, Torino 1: Payback Milan 4, Torino 1: Payback Reviewed by Elaine on 11:59 PM Rating: 5
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