Salernitana 2, Milan 2: Underwhelming

After winning two matches in a row away to Newcastle and then against Monza at home, Milan traveled to Salerno on Friday with high hopes, facing the 20th place Salernitana. Pippo Inzaghi's side, however, came to play, and despite taking an early lead, Milan conceded two, had another center back go off with a muscle injury, and had to fight until the bitter end just to grab an equalizer to make it 2-2 and take a point home. Their performance was underwhelming to say the least.

When scoring a 90th minute goal is not enough for a win...

After an early error from the Salernitana captain that was almost an own goal and was also VAR reviewed for a potential handball, shots were traded. But it was Tomori who drew first blood in the 17th minute, making it 1-0 Milan. 

When playing against Pippo, celebrate like Pippo.

Things got a little rough, and for some reason, Doveri was not giving any cards. But the end to end chances forced some great blocks and saves, like the double block from our viking, Kjaer in the 29th minute. Maignan and Costil both made a couple of impressive saves in this one, as well.

The first yellow card actually went to Pippo for dissent, his passion is still there. Then, as if Doveri suddenly remembered that he had cards, he showed Leão a yellow for a shirt pull on Mazzocchi, despite much more violent and dangerous fouls not being cautioned earlier. 

Pippo still likes to be involved, even if it is only to get carded.

In the 42nd minute was when things really started to go south for Milan, when Fazio put an impressive header past Maignan for the equalizer. 1-1 all. Near the end of stoppage time, Kjaer took a ball to the face point blank, and was down for a while for treatment. He was subbed off at the half, and his condition is unknown as of this writing.

The young Simić replaced him after halftime, and although Milan controlled the ball through much of the game, Salernitana made the most of their chances. That unfortunately included a goal from the ex-Inter player, Candreva in the 63rd minute to put the home side ahead, 2-1. 

Simić did well enough, but it is frightening to think he may be our starting CB for a while.

It was shortly after that goal that Tomori went down injured and was replaced by Florenzi. Mind you, at this point, we had zero healthy center backs in the first team. Theo had to move to the center and pair with Simić. If you look at how many different players and pairings have played at the central defensive position so far this season due to injury, it is no wonder we have been conceding goals.

Maignan tipped it over to make a massive save, then Pioli brought on Chukwueze and Jović for Pulisic and Bennacer in the 70th minute. Salernitana earned a couple of yellows, including a card for Gyömber for a studs up foul on Jović that could have been a different color.

Jović salvaged a point with his third goal of the season.

Jović took his revenge at the other end, forcing Costil into a double save in the 85th, and eventually scoring right at the 90th minute with an assist from Giroud 2-2 all. Calabria had a header that was on target in stoppage time, but saved by Costil. 

Then there was some sort of altercation on the sidelines involving the Salernitana bench and Milan players. Somewhere in there, their backup keeper, Fiorillo, shoved Florenzi, and was shown a straight red card. Following all of the madness, play continued, but Milan were upset when Doveri blew his whistle seemingly too soon after all of the stoppage for the discipline issues. However, at the final whistle, it was 2-2, and felt more like a loss for Milan, even if Salernitana were also disappointed not to get the win.

Not even the presence of Ibrahimović could help Milan's fortunes.

Just like the performance, Pioli's press conference was also very underwhelming. Reports are that his job is under scrutiny more intensely than ever now after that match, especially after Cardinale made his lame "Best wishes" statement to the Rossoneri fans ahead of the match on Friday talking about not performing well enough and discussing where they could improve over the Christmas "break" (if you call seven days a break.) With Tomori's injury making number 30 this season, it is clear that something needs to change. Yet the response to this crisis from management has been even more underwhelming than Milan's performances. Best wishes, everyone.

This post inspired by the music of Dave Brubeck's "'Farewell' Jingle Bells"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 18
Milan vs. Sassuolo
Saturday, December 30, 2023 • 18:00 CET (12noon EST)

Salernitana 2, Milan 2: Underwhelming Salernitana 2, Milan 2: Underwhelming Reviewed by Elaine on 11:53 PM Rating: 5
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