Genoa 0, Milan 1: Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

There were 85 minutes of tense, physical football. Then Milan broke the deadlock with a goal from Pulisic. Another ten minutes, and then chaos rained down at the Marassi. In one of the most unbelievable stoppage times ever, both goalkeepers were sent off, and in some kind of Bizarro world scenario, our very own striker, Giroud played in goal for Milan. But he made a big save, salvaging all three points to see Milan win 1-0 over Genoa and go into the break at the top of the Serie A table. That's what I call taking matters into our own hands.

Our new goalkeeper, Mike Oli Giroud.

The match started off with the referee, Piccinini, having to make decisions right away. Vásquez was down in the box in the ninth minute, but the ref said it was not a penalty from Florenzi. I believe VAR reviewed that, as well, confirming his decision. Gilardino, former Milan and Genoa striker and now Genoa manager, earned himself a yellow card for dissent because of that call.

Next up, Theo Hernández earned his fifth yellow card of the season, all in the space of eight games, and wearing the captain's armband, too. So impressive. But he will be suspended for our match with Juventus after the break. Not to be outdone, Florenzi also earned himself a yellow card less than a minute later. There were shots from both sides, Milan being the more dominant of the two sides, but the half ended in a frustrated stalemate.

Theo wonders where it all went wrong, and why he won't play vs. Juve.

In an effort to break the tension, Pioli brought on Rafa Leão and Pulisic for Chukwueze and Okafor, respectively, at the start of the second half. Shortly thereafter, Musah earned his yellow, Milan's third yellow card of the night. Next up was Adli's turn, in the 62nd. He made it clear in this match why Pioli did not start him on Wednesday, even if fans adore him and want more playing time for him. Leão had a header just a few minutes later that bounced down and should have gone in, but Martínez, Genoa's goalkeeper, managed to save it. 

Next came Giroud and Calabria on for Adli and Florenzi, respectively. Clearly, Milan needed a goal, and Pioli was not going to waste any more time, no matter how tired they might be from Wednesday's match. Calabria fired one over the bar, but like most of Milan's other shots, it was from distance. Finally, in the 86th, Musah put the ball in for Pulisic, who controlled it, turned, and shot it straight past Martínez and into the back of the net. 1-0 Milan.

Pulisic slotted it home in spite of the shirt pull.

There was a long VAR review to check if Pulisic had handled the ball when he controlled the cross from Musah, but from all of the angles we were shown, it did appear that the ball hit his chest, not his arm, and eventually, the goal was given. We hit the 90 minute mark, and there were to be seven minutes of added time. In the 94th minute, Pioli sent Bartesaghi in for Jović, who had largely had a game to forget, and would be grateful for everything that came next, because it probably did make everyone forget that point.

What came next was insanity. Maignan jumped up to grab a ball in the air, but jumped into Ekuban, with his knee landing in the Genoa player's neck/chin area. The move did not seem malicious, he seemed to genuinely be going for the ball, but the resulting collision was very dangerous. After the play was eventually stopped, with both Ekuban and Maignan down, there was yet another VAR review. Di Paolo was the head VAR referee, and unfortunately, his recommendation to review this play was correct. As was Piccinini's decision to give Maignan a straight red card for a serious foul. He, too, will miss the Juventus match.

Who knew he would be at the center of so much controversy?

More imminent, however, was the fact that Pioli had used all of his subs. We were now eight minutes into a seven minute stoppage time, and by the time Maignan left the pitch, Tomori also earned a yellow card for dissent to make it five yellow cards and a red for Milan on the night. What is it about the Marassi that just brings out the insanity? 

With no subs left, Pulisic apparently volunteered to go in goal, but it was determined that he was too short, so Giroud stepped up, put on Maignan's jersey and gloves, and faced Genoa as they took their free kick. That free kick, in the twelfth minute of stoppage time, deflected up and off of the crossbar. Milan were so lucky. Play continued, and Giroud stood watch. 

In safe hands with Giroud.

Time was running out, so Martínez, the Genoa goalkeeper, joined his teammates in the Milan area to try to get a goal and snatch a point. In the thirteenth minute of stoppage time, he was shown a second yellow, and then a red card, for a foul on Musah. Both goalkeepers sent off. In stoppage time. What was going on? Genoa still had a substitution left, though, so Leali came on for De Winter for the final minute or two of playing time. 

There is controversy about Piccinini's decision to stop the match and card Martínez, as many people feel he should have allowed Milan to play the advantage. After all, Leão and Pulisic and a Genoa player were in Genoa's half, and there was no goalkeeper in their net. However, looking back several times, Piccinini blew the whistle before Leão gained control of the ball. When he blew the whistle, no one had the ball, so I am not sure this was as egregious as everyone is making it out to be. Additionally, even if it was an error, it did not change the outcome of the game.

Musah had a great game, with the assist and drawing the 2nd yellow foul on Genoa's GK.

After Martínez was sent off, Genoa came on the attack again, and Giroud managed to punch the ball away, albeit not quite as fearlessly as a goalkeeper might have. He made the save. He grabbed the ball, and play continued, another nailbiting minute or two until the final whistle blew. When it did, the ball was safely in Giroud's hands, and the Milan players erupted with joy, surrounding the striker-keeper Giroud in celebration. Honestly, it may have been the most insane final ten minutes of a match I can remember.

The final whistle.

What is more, Milan grabbed this victory away. Their second away match in three days, the only Serie A club to do that even in recent years playing in the Champions League. As Pioli pointed out, Milan also played five out of our first eight matches away, which makes our record of seven wins and a loss that much sweeter. But in addition to discovering a new goalkeeper for both the France National Team and Milan, Inter had dropped points against Bologna earlier, which means that Milan now sit in first place on the table all alone. With a schedule working against us, six players out injured, playing on ten men without a goalkeeper, and tired legs from a midweek trip to Germany, Milan took all three points and top spot away from home. That is called taking matters into our own hands.

This post inspired by the music of Queen's "We Will Rock You"

Genoa 0, Milan 1: Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands Genoa 0, Milan 1: Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands Reviewed by Elaine on 5:00 AM Rating: 5
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