Milan 1, Inter 2: Sweep It Under the Carpet

As expected, Milan lost another Derby 2-1 to the organized crime family known as Inter. And while the Curva Sud Milano always impresses with their coreografia, this one may have actually been their most clever one yet. Copying a famous Banksy piece noted for its commentary on the problems we never talk about, the Curva entitled this one "Nothing Changes." The commentary the Curva were making was Inter's claiming 20 Scudetti, after infamously awarding themselves a "paper Scudetto" in 2006, the same year this Banksy work first appeared. They used cardboard stars to represent the two stars Inter will now wear on their kits, and the rats seemed to be a direct response to Inter's lame coreo from the September Derby in which they accused Milanisti of being rodents who crawled out of a manhole. And the coreo was just the tip of the iceberg as Milan fans aimed to remind everyone of Inter's many wrongs, while the Nerazzurri attempted to sweep it under the carpet. 

Nothing changes.

The match was painful. Because in spite of Pioli's panic button tactics and lineups, Milan really did nearly manage to contain the Biscione. Not that it was pretty, because it absolutely was not. But it also was not the mindnumbing, soul-stealing loss we saw last February, or the mentally mortally wounding 5-1 loss we suffered in September. I would explain Pioli's tactics to you, but I'm not sure even he actually understood them, much less the players. We are definitely in the Giampaolo phase of his tenure. The football was so awful, it made a young Milan fan burst into heartwrenching tears. Whatever it was that Pioli did here, his Derby record will forever live in infamy, even if it was partially impacted by the scheduling of five Derby encounters in a calendar year. 

This actually means something to fans, and Milan fans have suffered due to management for too long.

The graduates of the ISAD (Inter School of Acting and Diving)™ were on full display from early on and throughout the night, with Barella looking for the award for Best Actor in a Tragic Comedy after an encounter with Theo Hernández. Even Pioli had a word with the Inter thespian as he neared the Milan bench. The referee, Colombo, also had a little chat with Adli and Mkhitaryan, who were looking to start the earliest and most vicious fight in Derby history in just the ninth minute, but were wisely stopped. Adli was fired up about whatever had been said or done. If the rest of the team had even half his passion, Milan could have easily taken this match.

Maignan had a big save in the 17th, but then his goal was breached by a header from "I'm not a racist" Acerbi. 1-0 Milan Inter. Nevermind that he should not have even been playing this match, because he should have been serving a ban for racial abuse, the former Milan player and self-proclaimed lifetime Milanista had zero qualms about celebrating his goal in front of the Milan home crowd, a sold out San Siro stadium of more than 75,000 fans. I hope his late father, also a lifetime Milanista, haunts him the rest of his days. And not just because his son is a racist.

Reijnders is clearly as confused by Pioli's choices as all of us.

A few minutes later, something happened that gave me some hope: Colombo gave Barella a yellow card. Referees rarely actually reprimand Inter, and it was an indication of some decent refereeing for once. Well, there was the Lautaro Martinez call in the 32nd, where he kicked Tomori in the face and was only shown a yellow card. Milan players have been sent off for so much less. In fact, Colombo would do just that later. But for the most part, Colombo did an excellent job in a fiery match, and did not even seem to be on the Inter payroll.

Theo was shown a yellow card for a challenge on Barella in the 36th, although it looked like he got to the ball first. All that ISAD™ training really does pay off, maybe Milan should invest in similar training for our players. Chances for both teams were few, but dramatic, like "I grab opponents' genitals" Thuram's shot that was just wide in the 38th. Thuram's father, who infamously played for Juve, was there at the game. I wonder if he also had the same fetish for his opponents' groins?

Someone left some trash on the pitch, and Leão had to jump over it.

After Sommer had saved Leão's shot earlier, Calabria unleashed a rocket in the 40th minute that forced him into another great save. There were arguments for a penalty on that play, but apparently VAR found nothing. Mkhitaryan also had a great shot at the other end moments later, forcing Maignan into a fantastic save as well. But the half ended with just the one goal.

Unfortunately, that changed right away after halftime. "I grab opponents' genitals" Thuram scored a goal in the 49th. 2-0 Inter. People have made light of Thuram's unpunished assault on Savić when Inter were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, but there is nothing funny about male on male sexual violence. While football is a contact sport, there needs to be a harsh punishment for intentional unwanted sexual contact like that. The irony of both of Inter's goals being scored by players who had literally committed criminal offenses on the pitch this season was not lost on me. When I say that Inter are an organized crime family, it is not a joke. The lack of morals and character seem to be a prerequisite for being part of the team, from the owner to the players to the fans.

Keep your hands to yourself, you creepy Interista.

Theo took a dangerous shot that was saved, and Loftus-Cheek's rebound attempt was blocked. Then Pioli began his bizarre substitutions. He removed Reijnders, who has been one of the most important players in the middle of the pitch for our season, to bring on Giroud in the 52nd minute. Then he brought on Chukwueze and Bennacer, but removed Adli and Loftus-Cheek in the 69th minute. Pulisic fired a shot that went over the bar, and then Pioli made his fourth and final change by sending Okafor on for Musah in the 77th. Whether it was the subs, the fans, or the clock, it was around this time that a sense of urgency finally seemed to develop for Milan.

Theo sent a rocket from distance that was saved, and then finally, in the 80th minute, Milan was able to pull a goal back. Leão sent a great cross in that Gabbia headed toward goal. Sommer tried to palm it away, but the ball deflected onto the post and rebounded into the path of Tomori, who headed it home. Not only are Tomori's goals always fantastic, his celebrations are absolutely epic. Now it was 2-1 in favor of Inter, and Milan were really committed to scoring again. 

Epic celebration, even if the goal was only a consolation.

With the stadium in full voice, Milan had Inter on the ropes. Pulisic took a shot that Sommer came out to save, and it seemed as though Okafor's rebound would be a certain goal, but Pavard made a goal line clearance. The tension was winding up, and the Other Inzaghi sent Dumfries in, which is notable, before the Inter manager was shown a yellow card of his own in the 88th minute for running and screaming out of his technical area toward the Milan technical area.

Stoppage time became a violent version of "Everybody Loves Lautaro," for which Gabbia was shown a yellow card in the 90th. Then Tomori also picked up a yellow card less than two minutes later. Unfortunately, Tomori was one card away from suspension, so will miss the Juventus match because of the love he showed Lautaro Martínez. 

Defenders just can't keep their hands off Lautaro Martínez.

Speaking of love, there is no love lost between Theo Hernández and Dumfries. In basically every Derby they've played, there have been physical altercations, but this time, they finally got the fight they've always wanted. It started when Frattesi had the ball and Leão was attempting to stop him. Theo came charging in on Frattesi, and Dumfries, not even on the pitch for 10 minutes yet, accepted that as an invitation for a fight to the death, which Theo readily accepted. 

It took virtually every player on the pitch from both teams to pry them apart, while Colombo stood back and allowed the players to police themselves, blowing his whistle and getting his red card ready for the eventual separation of bodies. Both Theo and Dumfries were sent off, of course, leaving both teams on ten men for the remaining few minutes of stoppage time. Theo, our vice captain, will also be suspended for Juventus, his third suspension of the season. Inidentally, that was Inter's very first and only red card of the season, a run they only bettered in the 2021-22 season by being the only Serie A team to not receive a red card during a match the entire season, also a fact that has been swept under the carpet. (But obviously, there has been no favoritism from the referees.)

Third time's a charm.

Milan had a couple of late corners, for which Maignan ran up to help. Just ahead of the second one, however, the whistle blew and another red card came out. Frattesi had been all over Calabria, and Calabria used his arm to shove him off, but his arm made contact with Frattesi's face, who then demonstrated his ISAD™ skills and went sprawling to get the referee's attention. Nevermind that Sommer and Mkhitaryan also took swings at Calabria before the referee could send him off, Calabria was sent to the showers in the 97th minute of five minutes of stoppage time. Truly, our players need to take some of those acting classes, apparently, so we can get some of those calls, too. Or maybe the referees are just trained to look for the Nerazzurri colors on the ground, who knows?

Not only will our captain be suspended for Juventus, he has actually been handed a two match ban, much the same way Jović was earlier this season for a similar incidental face contact incident. The irony is that Theo and Dumfries, who would have killed each other if allowed, only got a single match ban each. But obviously, that's only because an Inter player was involved. Theo alone would have definitely received a multiple match ban.

Captain – oh, my captain.

That makes three of our most important starting defenders all suspended for Saturday's game away to Juventus. The good news is that at least Pioli will have an excuse for making panic changes to his lineups and tactics. Additionally, that is Milan's staggering eighth red card of the season, so at least we are winning the Red Card Scudetto. Call it the Cardinale Effect or Redbird DNA, but it is a sadly unique attribute for this season.

The full time whistle blew, and Milan had not done enough to delay the inevitable. Inter won the Scudetto, with the help of many referees making result-changing calls both for them and against their opponents all season long. Again. And they dragged out all of their banners with the number 20 on them, but it seems that they also have a math deficiency. Which the Curva Sud had no problem reminding them of all night long. 

The Curva Sud schooling Inter.

In addition to a banner that read "Math is not an opinion: Only 19 championships on the pitch," and their absolutely brilliant coreo, the Curva distributed fliers and stickers advertising the "Cardboard Star Party Program" with the Juventus logo in Inter's colors and a star with the equation "18+1=20." Included in the programming was:

11:30 Film of 3 years of favorable referee calls '21-'24
12:00 Refreshments in the VAR room
15:00 Party sponsored by AIA and Gazzetta (La Gazzetta dello Sport is owned by an Interista)

Curva Sud helps Inter understand how to celebrate something you didn't actually win.

The ingenious program even included an open bus tour of Milano to visit all of the lovers of the wife of a certain former Milan player known as the Turkish Traitor.™ Of course, their actual Derby plans included burning an Ibrahimović jersey, because they are Neanderthals who just discovered fire. Milan fans actually know how to plan a party. The Curva Sud also rolled out a banner with the Inter colored Juve logo that read, "You lose finals, steal leagues. You've become everything you always hated," a reference to Inter's constant accusations and attempts at trolling of Juventus over the years. 

Not only were Inter the engineers, wiretappers, and puppeteers of the Calciopoli scandal in 2006, they were later revealed to be the most guilty of attempting to interfere with the referees, but never received any punishment. In fact, they benefitted from the punishments handed to their direct rivals, not only with their 14th paper Scudetto, but the ones they earned by dominating their weakened rivals for the next several years. In reality, this Scudetto would at best be their 15th, not their 20th. 

The last minute push for an equalizer.

But it is not just their conditioning of the referees for over 25 years now, and the paper Scudetto. Inter have also cheated financially, with over €800 million in long term debt now, the highest ever in Serie A. Of that, a €375 million loan is due by May 20th, or Suning will lose the club to an American hedge fund. The Suning of which the Zhang family is no longer a majority stakeholder in. The Zhang family, of which Steven Zhang, Inter's chairman, owes China Construction Bank over €300 million. He has been found liable for this debt in Hong Kong, and now Milano, with a case pending in the U.S. as well. This ruling in Milano prevented him from even attending his club's Scudetto winning match and celebrations.

All of this has been swept under the carpet, as Inter have continued to somehow find favor with UEFA and Serie A and be allowed to compete. They have violated UEFA's financial responsibility rules/FFP consistently over the years, and are under sanctions yet again for this. In between sanctions, they spent wildly and bought players they could not afford to buy, let alone pay wages for, and when that all caught up to them, they simply accepted the relatively minor sanctions from UEFA and started off selling the players they had essentially purchased on credit to fund their transfers for several years now. Their entire success has been paid for by other people's money, and yet they deflect from all of this by having their direct rivals investigated and punished instead

Giroud probably pointing out the ridiculous hypocrisy of Inter calling themselves champions.

The Curva Sud Milano's coreo could not have been more perfect. Everyone is ignoring the fact that Inter never accept responsibility for their actions, but are always willing to accept the credit for things they did not actually earn. Including a paper Scudetto, and now a cardboard star, amongst so many other things. Everyone pretends that they are some top club. Yet they are the only team to win a Scudetto while simultaneously on the verge of bankruptcy and about to lose their club, an organization carrying a debt load that is nearly two-thirds the value of their entire club. I would congratulate the Inter organized crime family on their cardboard star, but I think I will just take a page out of their playbook and just sweep it under the carpet.

This post inspired by the music of The Housemartin's "The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 34
Juventus vs. Milan
Saturday, April 27, 2024 • 18:00 CEST (12noon EDT)

Milan 1, Inter 2: Sweep It Under the Carpet Milan 1, Inter 2: Sweep It Under the Carpet Reviewed by Elaine on 4:00 AM Rating: 5
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