Torino-Milan Preview: Pioli's Penultimate Challenge

While Pioli has been hounded by questions all season about his future, and he has asked to be judged at the end of the season, all media reports point to this being his next to the last match for Milan. I mean he may get to take the team to Australia for the postseason friendly, but after the way Cardinale sacked Maldini last year, I think Pioli is expecting similar treatment. Which means this trip to Torino is also his last away match, as well as the final away match for Giroud, Kjaer, and possibly other players. With 74 points on the table but no trophies, the best case scenario is for Milan to win both of these final matches and finish on 80 points, a decent second place finish for the season. So expect the match vs. Torino to be about closing out the season well and honoring the players and the manager who will likely be leaving after next week. Earning 80 points this season is Pioli's penultimate challenge.

Strange to think this could be his last away match for Milan.

Torino come into this match in tenth position on the table, on 50 points, with nothing really to gain or lose. Perhaps there is an outside chance they could make the UEFA Conference League, but it would also involve other results from other teams to go their way in both of the final matchdays. However, this is their final home game of the season, so they will be playing for pride. This will also be coach Ivan Jurić's penultimate match in charge of il Toro, as he announced earlier this season he would be leaving at the end of the season. 

Also Ivan Jurić's penultimate match for Torino.

Torino's most recent match was a 2-1 win over Hellas Verona, who ended on ten men this past Sunday. for that match, Jurić lined up: Milinković-Savić; Vojvoda, Lovato, Masina; Bellanova, Tamèze, Ilić, former Milan player Ricardo Rodríguez; Samuele Ricci; Sanabria, and Zapata. The winning goal in that match was actually scored by our former loanee, Pietro Pellegri. For this matc, Jurić will be missing Schuurs and Vlasić to injury, with Djidji and Gineitis recovering from injuries and still in doubt as of this writing.

Pioli will be missing Gabbia to suspension for yellow card accumulation. Additionally, Chukwueze, Loftus-Cheek, and Kjaer are all injured and will not make the trip. However, Maignan did return to training this week. There are plenty of rumors that Leão will start on the bench again, but with Chukwueze out, that would mean Okafor would most likely start instead. It is difficult to know how much Pioli will want to give some time to those who haven't played as much, or give time to those who are expected to leave. Also unknown is how much he values these final points, considering that his fate is all but sealed.

Maignan is fit again, but both he and Giroud could be leaving this summer, if reports are to be believed.

What will truly be telling is how much the fans are invested in this match. After three straight weeks of protests, they made themselves look quite foolish with last week's 5-1 slaughter of Cagliari. Giroud this week also turned to begging for them to send him out of Milan by singing and supporting the team, so we will see if they listened. These last two matches will be interesting to see how people react, knowing that they are likely Pioli's last matches. With all of the harsh criticism of him, will they pause for reflection and show him some gratitude for all he has done? Or will they continue their toxicity and send him off like villains? Either way, I am sure Pioli will show more decorum than his colleague, Allegri, who has been sacked by Juve after some very unprofessional behavior. Despite what I am sure will be a very emotional time, going out on a high note will be Pioli's penultimate challenge.

This post inspired by the music of The Cure's "Last Dance"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 37
Torino vs. Milan
Saturday, May 18, 2024 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Serie A provider elsewhere
For example, sign up for BeIN Sports in Australia or SuperSport in South Africa,
they both use the World Feed commentary for Serie A, which is fantastic
(*and they also do not sponsor Inter's kits)

Torino-Milan Preview: Pioli's Penultimate Challenge Torino-Milan Preview: Pioli's Penultimate Challenge Reviewed by Elaine on 2:10 PM Rating: 5
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