Milan 1, Fiorentina 0: When Push Comes to Shove

For all the quality this management supposedly brought in this summer, their shortsightedness and the deficiencies in the squad have been impacting the team when things were less than ideal. First the shortage in defense, now the lack of a proper backup at center forward. Of course, that led to 15 year-old Francesco Camarda making history by being the youngest player ever to debut in Serie A. Which is great, but what will the consequences be for him? Will the media destroy him like it has others? What was the benefit to the team? This match proved that whatever quality was brought in, this team is still dependent upon the core players that the previous management built this team on. And when they are missing, the performances suffer. Just like all of the fans suffered through this match. In the end, Milan took the 1-0 victory over Fiorentina because of a penalty they conceded. Literally, when push comes to shove.

United in mediocrity.

The first half was almost a respectable performance. Terracciano was forced into a few saves, the biggest one on Pobega's header in the 44th. One minute into stoppage time, Parisi fouled Theo Hernández in the box. Di Bello awarded a penalty and a yellow card for his efforts. After a VAR review, Theo converted the penalty. 1-0 Milan. 

Theo's penalty was all we needed.

There is a lot of talk about how the foul should have been a red card because Theo was pushed or shoved as well. Okay, maybe. But as dangerous as Fiorentina were in the second half, being on ten men may have actually fueled their fire, who knows? It's not as if Milan put in a dominant performance. They were held to only nine shots, even if six of those were on target. They had some plausibly valid complaints about calls that might have gone their way, too, let's just take the win.

Is Jović actually trying to get transferred?

The second half was quite different. Fiorentina started to test Maignan, who seemed a bit off, making unusual errors in judgment. However, he would step it up with some massive saves and be the Man of the Match. He had to. Fiorentina took 21 shots. Tomori was shown Milan's first yellow card, giving former Milan favorite Bonaventura a little too much love. Pioli earned the other yellow card, for dissent in the 73rd minute. The discipline is definitely different this season at Milan from the top down.

The timing of Pioli's subs still questionable, but to be fair, he didn't have many subs to draw from.

Pioli talked ahead of the match about having analyzed the injury issues, but his management of players in this match was still questionable. He brought on Loftus-Cheek in the 60th minute for Pulisic. Then no other subs until the 84th, when the young Primavera player, Camarda, made his debut, who not only was the youngest Serie A player to debut, he also obviously broke Maldini's record as the youngest Milan player to play in Serie A. He also brought on Krunić to replace Pobega. Finally, he brought on Florenzi in stoppage time, apparently to earn his 50th appearance for Milan.

Camarda is seen with Primavera players Bartesaghi, Nava, and Chaka Traorè, but only one made history.

Fiorentina wanted a handball call on Loftus-Cheek in the 73rd minute, but the VAR review denied it. Shortly thereafter, Jović visually put in his transfer request by missing a perfectly set up 1v1 with Terracciano against his former club. We needed that goal so desperately, too. New Papa Thiaw made an excellent deflection just after that to clear the ball away. But it was Maignan's desire to rise to the occasion that saved this match. Save after save, including the heartstopping point-blank save on Mandragora that he saved with is face.

The Italian press called Maignan "inhuman."

In the end, it was just the penalty that determined the match. Of course, there was also the spectacle of the lipstick on everyone's cheeks. That, of course is the twice annual campaign about violence against women, "Un Rossa alla Violenza" (A red against violence.) Which unfortunately, is not working at all. In Italy, in 2018, 73 women were killed, with over half of them being killed by a current or former partner. This year, there are already more than 100 femicides in Italy. Milan produced a far more compelling ad this year to create awareness ahead of the match, while Roma simply listed the names of those who had been killed so far this year.

The lipstick on the cheeks hasn't helped, but it does have a dramatic effect on the pitch.

While they looked a bit like warriors with the red marks on their cheeks, Milan played more timidly than usual. However, as Pioli noted, they did play as a team. The defended as a team, which was necessary when they allowed Fiorentina to have so much possession and take so many shots, particularly in the second half. At the beginning of the season, when everyone was healthy, the quality was enough to make up for the lack of grinta and unity Milan has built its success on. Now, that unity is slowly being rebuilt, largely because of the myriad injuries, so perhaps we will see better days ahead. This time, at least, we proved we could pull off the three points and the clean sheet, even when push comes to shove.

This post inspired by the music of Käärijä's "Cha Cha Cha"

Our next Primavera match is 
UEFA Youth League Group Stage
AC Milan Primavera vs. Borussia Dortmund U19
Tuesday, November 28, 2023 • 14:30 CET (8:30am EST)
Match available to stream on AC Milan app

Our next match is 
Champions League Group Stage
AC Milan vs. Borussia Dortmund 
Tuesday, November 28, 2023 • 21:00 CET (3pm EST)
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Champions League provider elsewhere*
(*one that does not also sponsor Inter's kits)

Milan 1, Fiorentina 0: When Push Comes to Shove Milan 1, Fiorentina 0: When Push Comes to Shove Reviewed by Elaine on 9:30 AM Rating: 5
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