Milan 0, Juventus 1: Growing Pains

A naive error from our 22 year-old center back put us down to ten men for 50 minutes of this match. A veteran player returning from injury gave the ball away and then inadvertently deflected the ball into the net for the singular goal. While these events overtly were the determining factors, one cannot overlook the fact that Milan also had eight players missing due to injury or suspension, several who were sorely missed and could have very much influenced this match. If you must place blame, place it where you will. But Milan losing 1-0 to a relatively feeble Juventus was more a sign of growing pains than anything else.

Even if some players step up to fill gaps, this team is still growing.

Milan controlled the game early on, with efforts from Giroud and Reijnders not on target. There was a great chance for Timothy Weah at the other end, but he was Lukaku-ed by McKennie. Milan's only shot on target came in the 14th minute, a great shot from Giroud after a brilliant assist from Rafa Leão, but Szczęsny managed a great save to push it out. Juve were getting more chances, but Milan still looked like the better side overall.

Our one shot on target was saved.

There was one matchup where Milan struggled all night, however. Moise Kean had been giving Thiaw trouble for the entire first half, with the later having successfully and fairly stopped him a number of times, but even needing the help of Calabria once. However, in the 40th minute, Kean broke away and was racing toward Mirante in a one vs one situation. Thiaw put his loving arms around him and pulled him to the ground, and Mariani, the referee, had no choice but to show him a red card for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.

Milan were down to ten men, and Thiaw will also be desperately missed against Napoli next Sunday. But we saw that Tomori started the season off making errors, then was sent off and has returned in beast mode, so let's hope that Thiaw follows his example. Losing a man also meant that Pioli had to sacrifice someone, and Pulisic was chosen to be that player, with Kalulu coming on ini the 43rd instead. Pulisic was not happy to make that sacrifice, especially since his national team coach was in the stands watching (which may actually be the reason Milan lost, I'm just saying.) Shortly thereafter, Kean once again got into a great position to score, but was unable to convert.

Sometimes we forget he is only 22.

The second half became even more physical than the first, with a total of six yellow cards being handed out in all. Luckily, only one of them was for a Milan player, shown to Reijnders in the 61st for a foul on Locatelli. Two minutes later, that player would score after an error from Krunić gave Juve possession, then a deflection from Krunić prevented Mirante from saving the shot. 1-0 Juventus.

Much is being made of the fact that a player called Locatelli scored the winning goal on the same exact day seven years ago for Milan to beat Juventus (in the 65th minute, no less,) and now here he was scoring the winner for Juventus (against a former Juventus keeper.) However, the way he celebrated, as if he had won a Champions League final (which we all know Juventus will never do again anyway,) and then cried like a baby afterwards, at the San Siro no less, there is no way that player ever played for Milan.

Leão being chased by Cats.

Pioli had subbed on Jović and Krunić for Giroud and Adli, respectively, in the 60th minute, no doubt with a thought to resting legs for the midweek Champions League match. Then he sent Kjaer and Romero in to replace Calabria and Reijnders in the 79th minute. 

Things heated up in the 86th with a dangerous shot on target from Vlahović, but Mirante was up for it, and tipped it over the net. Mirante also made a massive double save on Cambiaso and Vlahović in stoppage time, the second of which was point blank. I am not sure if even our pro goalkeeper Giroud could have done that. And he made yet another save just two minutes after that to keep the scoreline down. After having played only seven or eight minutes competitively in Milan's final match last season, it was nice to see Mirante step in with a great performance. Particularly with Sportiello due to be out for a while.

Florenzi brings heart and experience, but only half the speed of the suspended Theo Hernández.

Allegri, meanwhile, was getting himself worked up, ripping off his jacket, then his tie. Then, in the final minute of stoppage time, he earned himself a yellow card for just being absolutely incensed at his players, storming around, screaming, kicking water bottles, eating babies. (I may have embellished the part about the babies, but he was very, very angry.) A very strange way to behave when your team is about to win against a team they have not beaten in the league for over two years. Maybe he, too was involved in illegal betting and needed another goal to win his bet? Nothing would surprise me at Juve, honestly. 

The Curva Sud used their coreo to protest for uniform ticket prices for away stands throughout the league.

The loss hurts, because Inter are now one point ahead of us, and now Juventus are just one point behind us. Sure, we lost to Juventus in Los Angeles in a friendly this summer on penalties. I should know, I was there. But the mentality of losing a big match in this week where we play three huge matches in just eight days, when we already have so many players out is far more important than a dumb friendly or even the table at this point in the season. This is a match we should have won, and by the looks of things, we could have won had we stayed on eleven men. But instead, we gave up all three points due to naive errors and missing players, or growing pains.

This post inspired by the music of The Cranberries' "Catch Me If You Can"

Our next Primavera match is 
UEFA Youth League Group Stage
Paris Saint-Germain FC U19 vs. AC Milan Primavera 
Wednesday, October 25, 2023 • 14:00 CEST (8am EDT)

Our next match is 
Champions League Group Stage
Paris Saint-Germain FC vs. AC Milan 
Wednesday, October 25, 2023 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)

Milan 0, Juventus 1: Growing Pains Milan 0, Juventus 1: Growing Pains Reviewed by Elaine on 6:30 AM Rating: 5
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