Milan 3, Frosinone 1: Liberated

Little was talked about this match ahead of time, because there was so much more to talk about after Maldini gave an interview to La Repubblica this week. Some felt it would be a distraction for the players, but actually, it distracted the toxic Italian media from pre-analyzing and destroying the confidence of the squad before they ever stepped onto the pitch. In fact, the media were more silent than usual, having themselves been guilty of hypercriticizing Maldini and speculating and falsely reporting the sequence of events surrounding his departure. This allowed Pioli and the team to focus on the match at hand, and despite missing nine players, they managed a 3-1 win over Di Francesco's Frosinone. Instead of the interview being a distraction for the team, they were liberated.

Free the Jović.

Of course, Milan still struggled for most of the first half to break Frosinone down. With only one center back available, Pioli had called up additional defenders from the Primavera side. (That may have cost them, too, as they lost their match earlier in the day without the five players who were with the first team.) However, Pioli chose to move Theo Hernández to center back, something he himself had suggested, according to Pioli. And it actually worked out, including Theo not even getting a yellow card.

The match started with Milan on the attack, but Frosinone were well prepared and did not allow them many chances. Loftus-Cheek gave a scare when he went down in the 25th after a collision and needed treatment on his shoulder, but he was able to continue on. Frosinone also took their chances, but none were really on target. However, both sides were getting closer to opening the scoring.


In the 35th minute, Musah took a wicked shot, but it hit the post. Then Maignan was forced into a 1v1 with Çuni in the 42nd minute, but he saved it point blank with his face again. Then, in the 43rd minute, it happened. Jović finally got his first goal in a Milan shirt. 1-0 Milan. His shot hit the woodwork on Tuesday, and Pioli spoke of fitness issues earlier in the season that prevented him from gaining form right away. But he is here now, and it was beautiful.

At the half, Di Francesco subbed on former Milan youth player Brescianini. And he looked hungry. However, Milan were still determined to get more goals. in the 50th, Maignan sent a long ball forward, Pulisic took it masterfully, dribbled around the defenders, took the shot, and scored. 2-0 Milan. It was brilliant all the way around. Maignan's assist, his third in as many years, was amazing, as were Pulisic's masterful skills to get the goal. 

A salute to those who scored goals two and three.

In the 64th, Pioli subbed on Adli for Chukwueze. I cannot tell if Pioli is angry at Maldini or grateful, but he was a different manager in this match, managing his players and their playing time very well. Very unlike what he has done lately. It was as if Maldini's words reminded him of who he was again.

Then, in the 74th minute, our singular true center back, Tomori, got his goal, with a Jović assist. 3-0 Milan. The fans almost woke up at this point, as they were particularly subdued after Tuesday's failure and Maldini's confessions. Pioli took the opportunity to bring on the young Chaka Traorè for Pulisic, Pobega for Loftus-Cheek, and the one we had all been waiting for... Bennacer's triumphant return, replacing Reijnders. Bennacer had been out since May, when Calhanoglu broke him.

The moment we had all been waiting 7 months for...

Jović completed his own special brand of tripletta by earning a yellow card in the 80th minute for fouling Gelli. Then, a momentary lapse of concentration, and of course it was the young Brescianini who got the goal for Frosinone. 3-1 Milan. Speaking of young, Camarda replaced Jović in the 85th, his second straight league appearance. And Pioli was awarded a yellow card for dissent when Camarda was pulled back in stoppage time and the ref did not give him the call.

But when the whistle blew at the end of the match, Milan had the win and all three points. The Curva Sud were finally appeased and singing at their normal volume, and the team were very, very happy. Two successive wins in Serie A again, this one better than last week's, an important way to start rebuilding that mentality ahead of a couple of bigger matches. It was all very liberating.


Given the news of the week, this match could have weighed very heavily on the players. Whether they are angered or relieved by Maldini's interview or the revelations in it, we cannot know, but they certainly were not negatively impacted. They worked well together as a team, Bennacer returned, Jović got a goal and an assist, Maignan got an assist, and Pulisic and Tomori scored as well. And the best part was that there were no new major injuries that we know of, the best victory of all for this team right now. Frosinone may not be a top club, but they did challenge Milan, and for once, since September and early October, Milan rose to that challenge. It was almost as if they had been liberated.

This post inspired by the music of Julian Cope's "World Shut Your Mouth"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 15
Atalanta vs. Milan
Saturday, December 9, 2023 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)

Milan 3, Frosinone 1: Liberated Milan 3, Frosinone 1: Liberated Reviewed by Elaine on 11:54 PM Rating: 5
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