Here we are again Rossoneri fans…Another game, another loss…
I can’t speak for anyone else, but it takes a while to recover from a Milan loss, and unfortunately, that is happening on an all too often regular basis for our club.
Yet again, it was a decent enough start by the boys, but they fell off as the match went on(stop me if you have heard us say this before). In a quite open game where both teams seemed to almost by-pass the midfield at times, the “2 P’s” Piatek & Paqueta missed good chances and Milan were punished as a result.
Italy striker Immobile has been in fantastic form and if it is one man that needs close attention to, it is him. However, just like Dzeko 2 games ago who was left wide open for a header, so was the Neapolitan, as he ghosted in to power a header past Gigio, who had no chance.
Our club equalised soon after, as Piatek guided a Theo cross that took a deflection off Bastos and went into the net. Rather fortunate, but it was well received, as our club are desperate for any “slice of luck” it can get.
Castillejo had to come off injured 10 minutes from the end of the first half, which was a shame, as he had been rather good up until that point.
The best chances for the rest of the half came from Rebic with a a header and a Hakan direct corner attempt that nearly beat our Strakosha in the Biancocelesti goal.
In the second half, il Diavolo never came out of the blocks and looked like a cohesive unit and were thoroughly outplayed by the capital based side, as Luis Alberto ran circles around our defense. It was no surprise it was the Spaniard that set up the decisive goal, as he sent through Correa and the Argentine made no mistake, as he hit a rasping shot into the roof of the net.
Donnarumma(8): Made some smart saves and continues to impressed, but cuts a frustrated figure in goal because of a lack of support.
Calabria(2): Mis-placed passes, poor crosses, mis-timed tackles and no tactical awareness whatsoever from the right back. The weakest link in the team.
Duarte(5): His inexperience showed when he allowed Immobile to score an open header and all-round looked nervous.
Romagnoli(5.5): Solid performance up until he allowed Correa to sprint by him for the winning goal. Hopefully, it is a one off, as the club can’t afford another such slip.
Theo(6): Been our best player in recent games, provided the cross for the equalising goal. However, was caught up the field as Lazzari caused problems on the right flank.
Bennacer(7.5): A very good performance from the Algerian. Moved the ball forward when possible, tracked back to make some brilliant tackles and his energy was a much needed positive for the team.
Krunic(6): Not spectacular, but no mistakes either. Did well enough to get more playing time.
Paqueta(4.5): Missed a golden opportunity to open the scoring, gave the ball away several times and has not taken his game to the next level. He can only go upwards from here, if we can look for a silver lining.
Castillejo(7.5): A constant threat for the Rossoneri going forward;provided energy, drive and created chances. Shame he had to be subbed off as we could have really used his dynamism.
Piatek(6): Scored the goal, but generally was not what the club needs right now. Did not press as much as he was needed too and his technique was mediocre throughout.
Calhanoglu(6.5): Good movement with and without the ball, almost scored from a corner and generally put in a good shift. More needed though.
Rebic(6.5):Tried his best, missing that open header was a stain on his performance.
Leao(7): Looked a bundle of energy when he came on and his pace & trickery will always cause defenders problems. How Pioli can’t see that is ridiculous.
Bonaventura: Not enough time to make an impact.
Pioli: “We still make a lot of mistakes, such as passing when we should keep it, and vice versa, but I saw these players looking anxious and afraid when I arrived. I don’t see that in them now.” This was picked out because of the fact, it seemed like an oxymoron, because if they players are not nervous anymore, what accounts for all the mistakes? The manager has too.
Bennacer:”We need courage in these games.” A club as Milan that are struggling with confidence of-course needs to find courage, but Pioli basically said they are not “anxious and afraid”, so who to believe here?
Big Talking Point:
Lack of chemistry in the team-
At times watching our club, it seemed there are 11 individuals out there and not a team of 11 players. There are moments of genuine cohesion, like the first half versus Torino, but that is really the only real example of a sustained period of play from our team. And even that match ended in a defeat, as the all too often “start well, finish badly” theme continued. Pioli has a full week to prepare for the next match and we must expect him and the players to improve that aspect of their game.
As things currently stand, the club are closer to the relegation zone(3 points) than we are too the Champions League places(11 points). That is a massive gap to make up and although there are 27 games to go, only a miraculous improvement in the team can have a chance to make a return to Europe’s most prestigious competition. In the build up to the Juve game, we need to observe very closely the preparation and words as we head to a rivalry game.
FORZA MILAN PER SEMPRE!
Sunday 10th November versus Juve at 8:45 pm Italian time at the Allianz Arena.
Good day to all AC Milan fans around the world! We trust that everyone is well during these times. Welcome to another article from La Rossonera and myself Vijay Rahaman.
Our beloved club ended the campaign with consecutive wins to keep the recent feel good nature going since football returned after the pandemic. In this piece we review the Sampdoria & Cagliari games and mention a few other tid-bits.
We start with the game at the Marassi…
Facing Samp, Bennacer & Theo made their return to the starting line-up after being suspended against Atalanta. It was the forward duo of Rebic & Ibra linking up again, as the Croatian beat his covering defender to cross to the Swede to power his header home. 1-0 & there was more to come!
Milan’s pressure on the home team was incessant with chances aplenty for Theo, Ibra & Rebic, but they ended the interval with a single goal lead.
Rebic was replaced by Leao probably as a pre-caution from Pioli as he had been booked & was feuding with Gaston Ramirez. Ibra played the role of set-up man, as he headed down a high cross which Hakan volleyed home. The Turk was initially called for a foul, but none was proven with the use of VAR.
Hakan returned the favour with a lovely weighted ball for Ibra to strike with his left foot past the near post. Kessie & Leao had good chances soon after. The home team had a great chance to cut the deficit from the penalty spot, with Donnarumma, making his 200th appearance in the red & black saved from Maroni’s effort!
WE AWAIT HIS CONTRACT RENEWAL!
The 21-year could not doing anything about a absolute stunner from Askildsen shot though and it was 1-3. With the rage of a dog hunting a bone, Milan rawed back & got a 4th goal with a brilliant curling effort from Leao set up by Bonaventura(more on him later).
And so back to the friendly confines of the San Siro for the final match of the season…wished we could have continued don’t we???
Leao was given a start and it was the Portuguese play that gave us the lead versus the Isolani. With fleet of foot dribbling, he opened up the opposition, his shot rebounded off the post and hit Klavan and went into the goal. He showed his penchant for the spectacular with an over-head kick that rattled the crossbar! We expect more of the same & improvements from the 21-year old next year.
Ibra had a great chance to get another goal from the penalty after a high arm from Walukiewics, but it was saved by Cragno comfortably. We knew that the striker would not be denied right? He was set up by Castillejo and with the ferocity of a bullet the ball bulged the net.
The Spaniard would then get a goal of his own after being set up by Jack with a spun and shot. There was time for Primavera players Maldini & Brescianini to get some valuable minutes and the game ended. We hope to see these two & others from the youth team come through as our team build for the future.
“The boys were exceptional, a fantastic return with excellent performances. Beyond the positive results, it was important to create a mentality. It must be the basis on which to build an even more satisfying future.”
Important words from the manager, praising the players as he should, mentioning an improved mental aspect at the club AND looking forward to the future.
Some words for Bonaventura:
Giacomo “Jack” Bonaventura joined us during a difficult period for our beloved club. He came & provided guile, creativity, work ethic & gave everything he could whenever he was on the field. After 6 years, he announced he will be leaving Milan and his tears when all-alone on the San Siro pitch will stay with us tifosi for a long time. We will ALWAYS remember his header vs Juve in the 2016 SuperCoppaItaliana to tie the game which we eventually won on penalties! It was the last trophy our club has won & the only one during Bona’s time with us. We THANK YOU Bonaventura for playing for this club called AC Milan that we hold dear to our hearts & wish you the best in your future.
OK, so we’ve finished the season with a positive vibes…we are all optimistic, even if cautiously so about the future of Milan…We have some & we stress some stability at the moment…What we need now is to go forward with tranquility, serenity & calmness. It’s why we used the new Milan shirt as the featured picture. As we enter the summer transfer window, there will be lots & lots of rumors about who will be signed & who will leave. What we hope is that there is 100% communication & co-operation between the owners, management & coaching staff. Pioli needs to make his suggestion on players he needs and those in the board room MUST back him! It’s no point in giving him a new 2-year contract & half-assing it. Fully forward Milan must move.
A happy weekend to all…It should be right Rossoneri fans? This past week our beloved club faced tough games, had a number of issues both on & off the field, but in true Milan spirit, came through it positively.
In this piece, we review the past couple of matches versus Sassuolo and Atalanta. Both clubs, we’d had our struggles in the recent past, and both the Neroverdi and La Dea have been in great form since Calcio resumed.
On Tuesday, the boys headed to the Mapei stadium to face De Zerbi’s men who had recently held Juve to a 3-3 draw, so no easy task here.
Our boy wonder Gigio Donnarumma made his 200th appearance in Milan’s colours and we hope for many, many more to come. The home side dominated the early proceedings and Berardi forced Donna into a save. Despite that, Milan took the lead after a horrendous mistake from Sassuolo. Kessie collected the ball, passed off to Ibra who spread the ball to Hakan, the Turk found the Swede who powered his header home!
The Malmo man has such confidence from his teammates that Rebic was celebrating even BEFORE the ball hit the net! LOL…
He had another header to double our advantage but his attempt after a pin point Bennacer cross was straight at Consigli in the Sassuolo goal. The home side levelled matters after the use of a VAR, had adjudged that Hakan had handled the ball from a free-kick and Caputo gave Gigio no chance.
Significantly though, we re-took the lead and again it was the Hakan-Ibra combo!
On a quick counter the Number 10 led the charge, Rebic made an intelligent decoy run, Hakan threaded the ball through to Ibra, who duly rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball home. Ibra said recently that he is only getting started, so…Watch this space!
Bourabia made a horrific challenge on Rebic on the stroke on half-time and was duly sent off! Milan dominated the 2nd half being a man up, but failed to convert on several solid chances to take a 2 goal advantage through Hakan, Bennacer & Ibra, but thankfully, those missed chances did not haunt us and we saw through to 3 points.
Unfortunately, due to yellow card accumulation, Theo and Bennacer would miss the Atalanta game and captain Romagnoli suffered a strain and his season is almost certainly over. GET WELL SOON IL CAPITANO!
During the actual Sassuolo game, rumors were abound that AC Milan had made the decision to NOT hire Ralf Rangick and keep faith with Stefano Pioli! Well, yes…NEVER a dull moment supporting il Diavolo is it fellow Milanisti?! The official announcement came after the victory in Emilia-Romagna and fortunately it was indeed a win, otherwise our mood had we dropped points would not have been so calm.
A LOT has been said by all & sundry as to why the German won’t be joining us next season. Rangnick wanted full control…Him and Pioli/Maldini could not co-exist together…The club deemed stability more valuable than revolution at THIS point in the time…
Whatever the true & main reason is, EVERYONE must now go forward in the same direction for the good of club which before, now and forever, will be greater than any 1 individual!
And so onto the game versus regional rivals Atalanta.
In the previous game against the Bergamo based club, we were humiliated 0-5! We NEEDED to step up especially as we were at the San Siro, even given the absentees due to suspensions and injuries.
Pioli’s options were limited as he basically employed the only defenders he had at his disposal. So in came Laxalt & Gabbia for Theo & Romagnoli respectively, while Biglia replaced Bennacer. There were no changes up front though, as the the trio of Hakan-Rebic-Ibra kept their places.
As in the Sassuolo game, Milan were forced to defend early on in the game, as Atalanta’s attack which has thrilled fans around the world came at us in waves. However, just as on Tuesday night, it was our team who took the lead and again it was that man Hakan!
From a seemingly acute angle, the Turk took a direct free-kick that flew into the upper left hand corner of Gollini’s net. Hakan had come to Milan known as a “free-kick specialist” but has not shown that part of his game. Given his recent upturn in form, it probably should come as no surprise of that brilliant strike.
10 minutes later and the away side had a real chance to equalise, after Biglia made a nasty challenge on Malinovskiy in the penalty area and with the use of the VAR, the ref pointed to the spot. Let’s be honest, the Argentine was FORTUNATE not to have been sent off for that foul! This should be his LAST season with us!
However, we had the saviour in Donnarumma…as the 21-year old who was wearing the captain’s armband saved the Ukrainian’s effort. Just after the half hour mark, La Dea did eventually tie up the game after the defense failed to clear the ball and Zapata scored.
Sensing the need to change, Pioli made a triple sub as Bonaventura, Leao & Krunic were brought on for Biglia, Rebic & Hakan…
Atalanta continued to press and came close with the likes of Zapata and Papu Gomez having right footed shots go inches wide…Whew…Leao’s pace proved a bother for the opposition as he led a good counter, which saw “Jack”‘s shot hit the post! So close for us taking the lead…
There however would be no winner and so ended an absorbing contest between the Lombardia rivals.
“I am delighted with this renewal but I have always been calm, I have always thought about working well and will do it until 2nd August and later.” The manager mentioned also the “confidence” and “awareness” around the squad.
We hope that continues for the last 2 games of this current campaign versus Samp away and Cagliari at home AND importantly looking ahead to next season. Milan have officially qualified for the Europa League, however the fight for 5th still continues and direct place in the group stage. It’s be tough with Roma & Napoli in good form as well, but we’ll fight till the end & NEVER give in!
A good Sunday to all Rossoneri fans around the world!
What a performance from the boys on Saturday night, eh?! It justs keep the feel good nature that our beloved Milan have given us since they returned to play after Calcio resumed a month ago.
In this piece, we look back at the last couple of weeks of the team’s play and analyse it’s performance.
In our last article, we discussed the three tough clashes that we were about to embark on, i.e. Lazio, Juve and Napoli. We knew that there were nine points up for grabs and even the most optimistic fan could not have imagined, the club would garner seven points. This is a different team though…
Firstly, the match in Rome versus the Biancocelesti was a thoroughly professional performance.
At times some fortune is required and thankfully, we got just that, as a Hakan shot took a deflection to loop over Lazio goalkeeper and Ibra’s spot kick was nearly saved by Strakosha. The third though was superb vision from Bonaventura and finished off by Rebic who’s stock continues to rise. More on him later.
Alright, so full points from the trip to the capital.
Back at home to face our arch-rivals Juve and the Bianconeri have stuttered a bit since the return.
We can go into the game, the goals, the tactics…but this game means so much to us fans that the emotions of what happened on the 7-7-2020 will live long in the memory.
La Vecchia Signora took a 2-0 advantage and every one of us tifosi would have been saying: OH FFS! NOT AGAIN! However, we state again, this is a different mentality flowing through our team where no matter the score or the run of play, they fight! They chose an opportune time to fight.
Stefano Pioli who is seemingly on borrowed time with Ralf Rangnick ever closer to taking over did not stay and wait, as he threw on Hakan and yet again the Turk turned things around. It was his pass that led to the penalty goal that allowed Milan to score the first goal…It was the number 10’s pass to Ibra inside the penalty area that was eventually finished off by another vastly improved player, Kessie. It was his pass that led to Leao scoring the go-ahead goal. It was his pass from errant Juve play to Rebic that made it 4-2.
THIS is the Hakan Milan bought!
Beating the Bianconeri is always a special occasion and given how much we have struggled against the Piedmont club in recent times, it makes that victory all the more sweeter.
Onto Campania and a match-up with Napoli managed by OUR legend Gattuso!
This match fully encapsulated our fighting spirit in recent times…Milan were outplayed for large portions of that game and yet, we managed to grab a point, despite being 1-2 down and playing with 10 men with almost 10 minutes remaining. Theo Hernandez continued to raise the bar at left back with a well taken goal after nice build up between Bennacer & Rebic.
Gigio Donnarumma was criticised in the aftermath when the Partenopei took the lead, and while he could, and stress could have done better, the close proximity of the goals conceded, means for us he gets a pass. Kessie converted a penalty with 20 minutes remaining and the boys held on for a hard fought, blood, sweat & tears point.
We now had back to back games at the friendly confines of the San Siro to gain more ground in the race for Europe, facing Emilia-Romagna duo Parma and Bologna.
The Crociati gave us a shock as they took the lead! Fair play to them, it was a well worked goal as Gervinho showed his worth again and Kurtic scored the opener. Were the wheels coming off? Was the Rossoneri revival just temporary? Would our team wilt under the pressure of expectation?
A Kessie screamer, a Romagnoli header and a Hakan daisy cutter completed the comeback! A special mention to Bona for his fantastic run to set up Hakan for his strike! If Jack really as it looks leave at the end of the campaign, we can only say: THANK YOU!
And now, onto Saturday night.
Facing Bologna managed by former coach Mihajlovic, we start by saying, it is GREAT to see him doing well and back doing what he loves doing! Let’s remember, it was the Serb that gave Gigio his debut as a 16-year old five years ago, which all Milan fans should be grateful for…
Basically from start to finish il Diavolo dominated the match!
Both Rebic and Theo tested the Rossoblu goalkeeper with shots and it was a sign of things to come. On the 10th minute the goal finally came and it was debut goal at that. Another pressing run from Theo combined with Rebic, the Frenchman’s cross was dummied by Ibra and Saelmaekers scored his first goal with us! He is the first Belgium player for 37 years to score for Milan, how much of us were even around the last time? LOL.
Hakan doubled our advantage after what has to be said was woeful defending from the away side. Their keeper Skorupsi cleared the ball straight to the Turk who fired into the net. There say luck favours the brave and he did well to find himself in the right place at the right time. True Trequartista now?
What has been a real joy to see from THIS version of our team is that they don’t stop playing! They continue for the most part to press the opposition, try to create chances and score goals. It could and should have been a bigger advantage heading towards the interval, but it was the Emilia-Romagna team that pulled one back.
A Tomiyasu thunderbolt into the roof of the net left Donna with no chance! However, it should be noted the Romagnoli allowed the Japanese player to waltz past him quite easily and it’s something our captain has done on an occasion or two recently.
Significantly, the boys came out in the second half and continued to press and were rewarded. It was another first, as Algerian Bennacer strolled through the center of Bologna’s defense to score HIS debut strike for Milan. After all his tactical play and forward movement, it was a joy to see the midfielder grab a goal of his own.
A Milan game these days is not one without a Rebic goal and the Croatian duly obliged soon after, powering a left footed strike after a slide rule pass by Ibra. Pioli showed his in-game management by making a triple change surely with the Sassuolo game in mind in just three days time.
Despite the changes, the boys continued to attack keeping in with the traditions of the club. With 10 minutes left, our Primavera player Lorenzo Colombo came on for Rebic and the player born in 2002 is one for the future for sure. It was another former youth player Calabria that completed the rout finishing off a well worked move down the right side.
Between him and Conti, our right back is a position that needs strengthening and it’s no secret the club are, thankfully, looking. Fair play to Cala for the finish though. The victory was completed.
In his post match interview, Pioli heaped praise on his troops, saying “The team is having fun, it is what shines through from the training and from all the moments in which we are together.” Needless to say, us Milanisti are having FUN as well watching our team not only win, but win well. It’s in our DNA right?
Milan have inched closer to Europe and the next four matches are Sassuolo, Atalanta, Sampdoria and Cagliari. Honestly, all of those are in solid form, especially of-course La Dea, which is a regional Derby in itself.
Ciao a tutti…We firstly will like to send our love and support to all our fellow Milan fans around world. The last few months have been a tough time for our planet, but as our feature picture illustrates, we must “Keep Calm And Always Fight.”
In this piece, we are going to take time to look ahead to our club’s next three matches that can make or break our campaign. Currently, Milan are seventh in the standings, five points behind Roma and two behind Napoli in the race for the Europa League. However, we must be very wary of Verona as well, as they have had a brilliant campaign and they are by far the best team that was promoted from Serie B last year.
Obviously, the goal this year was a return to the Champions League, of which we don’t have to remind you all we have won seven times, the second most in history. However, as we look to regain our past glory, we must build slowly and steadily and a place in next season’s second tier competition is a solid way to start.
Over the next nine days, il Diavolo clash with Lazio, Juventus and Napoli…A tough task as ever! If the club are going to make it back to continental competition, it will have to be done the hard way, but that might just make us appreciate more, right?
Milan of-course missed a golden opportunity in the mid-week match versus Spal…A lackluster display ended in a 2-2 draw against Gli Estensi, which needed a stoppage time own goal for us to not leave in defeat. Having said that, there was a potential penalty that could have been given right at the end, but we’ll let that go.
Hand-sight is always 20-20, but given that both the Giallorossi & Partenopei lost, Milan could have gained ground on both. Let’s look forward though.
This Saturday, Milan travel to the Stadio Olympico to face Scudetto chasing Lazio.
The Biancocelesti are four points off league leaders Juventus and will no doubt be going all guns blazing for the victory, as they can’t afford to slip up any further behind the Bianconerri. The capital side however, will be without top strikers Ciro Immobile and Felipe Caicedo. However, given Simone Inzaghi’s increased tactical nous, expect him to come up with a plan to alleviate those absentees.
Manager Stefano Pioli will also have to manage his squad, as Samu Castillejo suffered a hamstring strain in Ferrara and his status for the Juve and Napoli games are 50-50 at best. The Spaniard has shown steady progress this year and his quick feet, dribbling and eye for a pass will be missed. On the positive side, Ibra is back!
The Swede’s future with the club is still very much up in the air, but he will no doubt be a welcome return for Pioli. The question is now, what starting line-up does Pioli use? Ante Rebic who has been on fire in 2020, including since play resumed, had an off-day versus Spal. Does the manager decide to put back Rebic out wide to replace Castillejo and return Ibra to his customary Number 9 role?
It makes the most sense.
Another question is of the status of Lucas Paqueta. The Brazilian was arguably our best player in Spal. He was everywhere on Wednesday;He had almost 90 touches, completed four of five dribbles(including a sumptuous rolley-polley in the first half) & had a couple shots on goal that tested the opponents goalkeeper. He was played in his best position as the Number 10 & performed better, imagine that?!
We can only hope it’s a sign of things to come from the former Flamengo schemer.
Interestingly though, Pioli quelled whatever enthusiasm us fans would have gained after his performance. The Parma born coach stated “A positive overall performance where he showcased his impressive skillset early on, but as the match wore on and Spal committed more and more defending, his frustrating decision making, appeared again, resulting in some awful shots taken.”
NOW, we can take those quotes two ways; either that Pioli was trying to motivate the player(we hope that was the case) or he was not to impressed. We await to see…
Another issue of concern versus Spal and of no doubt something Le Aquile will try to exploit is Milan’s central defense. Simon Kjaer has been an able partner for captain Alessio Romagnoli since joining in January. He was missed and given the poor attempt at a clearance by Matteo Gabbia that eventually led to the first concession of a goal, the Dane will be a welcome return.
However, let’s not throw our Primevera player out the window and be too harsh on him as we seen a number of our fellow Milanisti do. He needs to be given every opportunity to succeed.
The way we conceded that first goal was a combination of a number of issues and the entire defense must take responsibility. Nothing could have been done about the second strike though, as Sergio Floccari fantastic finish was unstoppable and we give credit where due.
Milan must travel to Rome with the heads held high with a willingness to sacrifice everything for a win.
Three days later and it’s back to the friendly confines of the San Siro to take on arch-rivals Juve!
This is an encounter that needs no hyping up at all…It’s a rivalry game, at home, with a win desperately required. These are the games us Milanisti look forward to every season and together with the matches versus Inter, there are unlike no other.
Yes, it’s just one match…Yes, it’s still the same three points…however, it’s about more than that, as bragging rights and pride are up for grabs. We don’t forget all the unfair incidents that we have suffered when facing the “Old Lady”…the Muntari goal not being given in 2012, the penalties not being given in the SupperCoppa Italiana in 2018 and Serie A and just in 2020 the penalty given against Milan in the Coppa Italia semis.
That is just to name a few.
Obviously due to the ongoing pandemic, there will be no fans at the San Siro, but we hope the spirit of all us Milanisti watching from our homes, or bars, restaurants etc… will resonate to the players.
Next Sunday, it’s a trip to face a Rino Gattuso managed Napoli side.
In that spirit we send our congratulations to him and his team on their well deserved Coppa Italia win! However, past history and the love Rino feels for Milan and that Milan feels for him will be put aside, at least for 90 minutes. Our former two time European champion had a real go at his players following their defeat to Atalanta last Wednesday, so you know he will be expecting a reaction and for them to finish the campaign strong.
Many of our current players would have played under Gattuso and in the case of Ibra, played with, so emotions will have to be managed. We should expect a bit of team rotation where possible. Football was away for three months due to the Corona Virus and with so many games in such a short space of time, it is inevitable, that some will need to rest here and there.
We try to be as positive as possible in this scenario and with nine points up for grabs over the next nine days, we can say even three draws with three points garnered is a realistic possibility. To stay on the positive train of thought, four of Milan’s last six games will be at home. Those will be against Parma & Bologna (back to back), as well as Atalanta and to end the season versus Cagliari, sandwiched in-between are away trips to Sassuolo & Sampdoria.
That is 18 points that our beloved club can get if we pull in the same direction.
Milan’s race for European football is reaching the business end & we must believe until the end!
Ciao a tutti Milan tifosi…Here we are again…Another match, another occasion that the result at the end was not what we would have wanted. There has been so much to process from the clash with La Viola from Saturday night Italian time, that we needed to take that bit longer to take it all in before writing this article.
Both teams spared with each other while trying to get the upper hand early on. The home team gave as got as they got and had two decent efforts through the impressive defender Milinkovic and Castrovilli, a definite warning for the Rossoneri.
It came as no surprise when inform Rebic had the best chances for Milan, as he had a header from a right sided cross forced Dragowski into a solid save. Donnarumma then had to save from a Fiorentina header, this time from Lirola.
Less than 10 minutes from the interval, we thought the team had taken the lead…Ibra won the ball from Dalbert, went past a defender & rode another to score with a right footed effort! WHAT A GOAL! But wait…The referee Calvarese was alerted to an infraction by the VAR, and after taking a look for all of 5 seconds, he deemed it a handball on the Swede.
Under the new rules, whenever a player gains possession of the ball OR scores a goal after the ball hits his or her arm, it is ruled out. It is clear that the Swede’s handball was UN-INTENTIONAL, however, according to the 2020 football, it was the correct call.
Bennacer who has become one of the key cogs in our team then had a good chance after being set up by an Ibra pass which was intelligently left by Kessie, but he shot over. Pioli was forced into a change after Gigio had to be replaced after suffering an ankle injury and Beovic replaced him for his debut between the sticks.
The Bosnian saved brilliantly within half a minute of coming on from a Chiesa header! He had no time to “get warm into the game” as the case maybe.
Just before the hour mark, il Diavolo took the lead after a mistake from the Tuscan defense. A cross from the left was chested down by Caceres which was intended for Viola captain Pezzella who was completely unaware that Rebic was lurking and the Croat pounced on the loose ball to bury it into the net.
Soon after, the home team went down a man after Dalbert fouled Ibra on a counter-attack just on the edge of the penalty area. Initially he was given a yellow card, but after the intervention of VAR, he was deemed to be the last man and was shown a red card.
With less than 30 minutes to go, the Rossoneri were up a goal AND man & would have hoped that they would have pressed home the advantage…That did not materialise. Our team sat back, allowed La Viola to have the ball & tried to conjure up something on the counter, THAT IS NOT THE MENTALITY OF A WINNING TEAM!
Our former player Cutrone was brought on soon after…More on that later.
Fiorentina nearly scored on the counter, when somehow Milan found ourselves on a 3 vs 4 scenario, but Vlahovic shot just went past the far post. Debutant Gabbia, who had been solid up until that point was taken off for Musacchio, apparently for the “experience” factor.
In the 85th minute and with our team’s backs against the walls THAT controversy took place! Cutrone was sent through by a well weighted ball by Vlahovic and in a race with Romagnoli, the Milan skipper got a CLEAR part of the ball, our former youth player fell to ground, flapped his arms, the crowd groaned & the ref pointed to the penalty spot!
The main photo of this article is a snapshot of Roma getting the ball and even with several replayes, it was 100% obvious that the ball had made a movement, so why was the VAR NOT alerted Calvarese on that occasion?! They were quick on the Ibra goal in the 1st half, but not here?! RUBBISH!
Let’s not forget also the FARCICAL penalty given to Juve in the Coppa Italia semis just over a week ago…Something is not right here! Fiorentina’s penalty was converted promptly by Pulgar despite the best efforts of Begovic. Our team did not respond after the tying goal and Caceres had a a close call for a Viola winning goal that was stopped by the Bosnian.
Donnarumma(6): Was slightly off his game on Saturday night and almost made a mistake that almost led to a goal for the opposition. Despite that, we must hope his injury is not serious.
Theo(6.5): Made a couple of decent runs forward and seemed to sat back a bit more than usual, but defensively was decent.
Romagnoli(7): Commanded his area well enough, won most of the duals in the air & on the ground and even if it was his “foul” that gave the penalty, it was NEVER one in the first place. Also stood up for Milan whenever the need arose.
Gabbia(6.5): A breath of fresh air for Milan, with his confidence both on the ball and clearing it away. Always great when a Primavera player comes through!
Conti(5): Was anonymous for most of the match on both ends of the pitch & it is fair to say, he has a crisis of confidence.
Bennacer(6.5): Brilliant in the middle as usual, moved the ball forward quickly, even getting on the end of a couple of goal-scoring opportunities & protected the defense well. ONLY issue, is his penchant to pick up yellow cards.
Kessie(7): Has shown a marked improvement in 2020! Won back the ball & stopped attacks several times and has continued to make much better & quicker decisions with the ball in attack. THIS is the Franck Kessie Milan bought from Atalanta.
Castillejo(6): A somewhat up & down game from the Spaniard. Had a couple of threatening crosses, was a constant cog on the right side of the attack & tracked back well. However, maybe partly due to the injury he suffered dropped off as the game went on.
Calhanoglu(4): Hard to know if he was even in the game…Did nothing to contribute to the team & this is a throw back to his play from the past, hopefully it is temporary!
Rebic(7): Scored the goal, but besides that, was a constant cog going forward & was always available to support his team. We must buy him outright!
Ibra(6.5): Scored a brilliant goal that was chalked off, but always there both on a physical level with the ball & encouraging the team.
Begovic(7.5): Very good debut! Saved spectacularly just 30 seconds in, got a hand on the penalty and made a couple of other good saves that kept the Viola at bay from scoring the winning goal.
Musacchio & Salaemakers(6): Both did not have had much time to make the impact.
Coach- Pioli(6.5): Set the stall out for the team well enough, but after Milan scored the goal, the team sat back & the manager needed to address that. Stood up for the club as well regarding the penalty & that earns respect.
Big Talking Point:
The response from the club’s hierarchy in the aftermath of the match-
For way too long, us fans have been upset with the upper management of our beloved club for NOT standing up when we felt we were on the wrong end of injustice…Well, that is why we waited a bit longer to post the article, to watch & observe how they would react. Our former captain Maldini, who virtually NEVER talk about officials did so & stated “I’ve never seen a penalty like that, you can see that there is no penalty.” FINALLY! That is truth & nothing more to add…They must carry on & fight the ridiculousness of recent matches.
Pioli: “We have to take full responsibility, as we had the game in hand, did everything we needed to do but then stopped playing once Fiorentina went down to 10 men and assumed the game was over.” On the penalty: “There are no doubts, there was no penalty. You could tell from the bench that the ball moved when Romagnoli went in.”
We are angry, we are hurt & we are disappointed! This is not only about the game versus La Viola, but what has happened in recent times to Milan…The referee was poor throughout the encounter, quite frankly for both sides. Reports have surfaced that Maldini spoke to the referee after the farce of the penalty & the answers he got was NOT convincing! Our management could take further action in the coming days so watch this space…MAYBE, we are seeing the club stand up for the club the way we expect & they should always do in the face on these injustices?! Better late than never.
On Cutrone: We always considered him an “Uno di noi”, “One of us”…Following his dive, over the top celebration & begging to take the penalty, we have been hurt by it. We NEVER wanted him to leave & we all know, he was forced out of the club, but for him to react the way he did, was heartbreaking to witness. He said “he would never have celebrated” had he scored, but the damage was done.
Versus Genoa at home on Sunday 1st of March at 12:30 pm Italian time.
Ciao a tutti e buona giornata…Our boys are back to winning ways, but it was not easy by any means.
Following back to back matches versus rivals Inter & Juve, where Milan played well for large parts, but ultimately came up without a win, victory was achieved by a single goal against a tough & tactical Torino team.
The first real chance of the match was for the away side, as Berenguer shot well over the bar after a nice run down the right from Di Silvestri. The Rossoneri created a chance for the returning Paqueta, but the Brazilian’s low shot was well saved by Sirigu.
The only goal of the game came when Milan pressed the Granata, won the ball, Paqueta played through Castillejo who’s inch perfect pass was met by Rebic and the Croatian’s 1st time shot flew into the right side of the goal. THANKFULLY HE DID NOT LEAVE IN JANUARY!
Worrying for us fans, our team then sat back and allowed the Piedmont side to take control of the ball and they started to grow into the game. Primavera player Gabbia came on for his Serie A debut, replacing the injured Kjaer, with Musacchio having an apparent calf problem and unable to come on. Watch this space…
Into the 2nd half and il Diavolo missed two guilt edge chances to put the game away and put our blood pressure & anxiety at ease!
Both occurred on the counter; Theo involved as usual passed to Castillejo, his vision evident as he found Ibra all alone, but the Swede’s inside out shot with his right boot flew just wide of the goal. Secondly, it was the aforementioned Castillejo who missed, as he had the freedom of the penalty area, but instead of going to the far post, he went to the near and his shot was off.
With all Milan tifosi hearts in hand, Toro started gaining momentum and they started crossing the ball incessantly into the box, but thankfully our captain Romagnoli, new boy Gabbia & the rest of the defense held on for the clean sheet.
Donnarumma(6.5): Had really only 1 real save to make from a Belotti header, did it solidly as per usual, but was quiet for most of the night.
Theo(6): Had a few lapses in his possession of the ball, but his constant forward threat & his improved tactical awareness means he is a mainstay.
Romagnoli(7.5): Our captain put in a real top performance. Brought the ball out whenever possibly, won the duels both on the ground & especially in the air & yet AGAIN his leadership by standing up for the club was evident.
Kjaer(6): A composed & good display from the Dane and hopefully his injury is not serious, as he appears to be at the moment at least, bit better than Musacchio.
Calabria(6): Not a bad performance considering his recent displays…Mainly stayed back & tucked in to allow Theo to bomb forward & covered & cleared when needed.
Bennacer(7): The leader of Milan’s midfield! Won back the ball, kept it moving at all times & even been given out the off advice here and there. Only draw back is his picking up of yellow cards could hurt in future games.
Kessie(6.5): Has shown a marked improvement in the last month; constantly ran about stopping opposition attacks, moved the ball that bit quicker & although he gave it away a couple times, becoming a constant in the team.
Castillejo(6.5): Energetic, enthusiasm & creative as in the recent past. Set up the goal, could and should have gotten one himself, but his 2 way play is making the team that much better.
Paqueta(5.5): Contributed to the goal, pressed the Torino team whenever possible & although he gave away the ball a few times, considering it was his 1st real chance of 2020, it’s something to build on.
Rebic(7): Grabbed a well taken goal, contributed to any & all that was good about Milan’s attack & showed himself the player that was bought in the summer. Fell off a bit after the interval.
Ibra(6): Involved in most of Milan’s build up, came close to scoring himself & that he has played 3 games fully in the space of 8 days is a testimony to his impact since re-joining.
Gabbia(6): Solid start to his carear in the league & we can only hope that another of our youth players can make that step up.
Bonaventura(6): Has struggled in recent times, but was a breath of fresh air on Monday night. Moved the ball constantly & his energy when pressing up the field was necessary to keeping Toro at bay.
Coach: Pioli(6.5): Kept faith in the team that played well versus Inter & Juve, was rewarded with a better result. Gave Paqueta a chance which hopefully will see him back as a protagonist. However, we still need to see more of Leao & he needs to resolve any *potential* Musacchio “problem.”
Big Talking Point:
Continued player improvement & Ibra’s influence:
Whether it’s the players themselves, the coaching, the return of Ibra or a combination of all 3, there has been a clear constant of the team doing better. Rebic obviously grabs the headlines for his goals, but Bennacer, Kessie, Castillejo have all showed signs of of just why they were scouted & recruited for Milan. In terms of Ibra’s impact, his constant giving out of instructions & at times berating of his teammates has also seemingly had a positive play on the team.
Pioli:”I made clear choices right away and got good answers.” THESE words are so crucial! Any team that has ambitions to do well, MUST, I stress, MUST, have a clear plan to move forward & it’s great that the coach has one & got the result against Torini.
Gabbia:”I will enjoy tonight, but then I will go back to the hard work tomorrow.” Brilliant words from the youth product! Yes, the players should revel in a win, but it is great to see at such a young age, he recognises the need to move on & focus on the next match.
It was not pretty…It was not entertaining…it was not free-flowing…BUT, it was a win, 3 points & upward movement in the table & right now that was the most important! We are tied with Verona & Parma on 35 points for the final Europa League spot which is a MUST for this campaign and although 10 points off the final CL place seems extremely difficult, Milan must continue to fight for it.
Versus Fiorentina away on Saturday 22nd February at 8:45 pm Italian time.
Let us start by saying that we feel the pain of all our fellow Milan fans today…Losing any rivalry game is painful, especially the way the defeat to Inter happened.
Now to the match…
Our team began brightly and dominated the first half as manager Pioli changed the formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-4-1-1 and worked like a charm. In the 10th minute Calhanoglu had a daisy cutter hit the post, as he looked comfortable in the free role behind Ibra.
Donnarumma was called into action soon after, when he saved from Vecino after Lukaku burst down the right side of the Nerazzurri attack to set up the Uruguayan. In the last 5 minutes of the 1st half, we took the lead that our play deserved with a quick double strike.
Castillejo crossed into the box which met the head of Ibra who leapt high to knock the ball down for Rebic, the Croatian was able to tap in as Padelli missed the ball completely. The Swede got 1 for himself, as he was left all alone from a corner at the far post to head home. The whistle blew for the interval and Milan were in complete control.
What happened to our team during the 15 minutes of that break has us dumbfounded…
Credit to our city rivals, who came out and took the game to Milan and the pressure they created on our club was incessant and we could not cope.
Just 6 minutes after the re-start il Biscione’s skipper on the night Brozovic cracked a volley from just outside the penalty area that gave Gigio no chance. Our team seemed to panic and soon after the game was all tied up, as Vecino scored into an empty net after Donna tried to stop Alexis who was all alone in the box.
It was disappointing that Pioli just stood there and made no changes to the team and it was no surprise that our rivals took the lead!
From a corner De Vrij some how stooped down low to head the ball that looped into the far corner and there was a feeling from that type of goal, it was not going to be our Derby…Erksen hit a scorching free-kick that cannoned off the post. Il Diavolo nearly tied the game as an Ibra header came off the uprights! So close for us…
Gigio then saved from Azzurri teammate Barella from point blank range, but Inter did eventually get that decisive 4th goal with a Lukaku header. Game Over!
Donnarumma(7): Could not be faulted for any of Inter’s goals and stopped from Vecino & Barella well.
Theo(6): Combined well with Rebic in the 1st half and was phenomenal, however, fell off in the 2nd when Milan were under pressure.
Romagnoli(6.5): Won the battle with Lukaku in the 1st half, was slightly slow covering De Vrij as he scored the Nerazzurri go ahead goal. However stood up for the team when needed.
Kjaer(5.5): In the 1st half at least showed a great combination& understanding with Romagnoli, however his lack of pace was evident in the 2nd & could have done a bit better on the Lukaku goal.
Conti(5.5): Similar to Kjaer looked well tuned into the occasion in the 1st half, but the same deficiencies reared it’s ugly head in the 2nd. Did not move up with the rest of the back 4 on Inter’s 2nd goal.
Bennacer(7): Continued his brilliant general form, with his ball handling, protection of the defense and composure throughout. Only thing is, like the rest of the team, dropped off after the break.
Kessie(6): Played his best 45 minutes of football in the 1st half…Combined with Bennacer, tracked back to snuff off danger & even moved the ball quicker than recent times. 2nd half though, complete opposite.
Castillejo(6.5): Always a threat going forward with his movement, dribbling and vision, but could not find himself in the 2nd.
Rebic(6.5): Scored the 1st goal, was always troubling Inter with his movement on the left & is a bright spot going forward.
Calhanoglu(6): Looked fantastic in the 1st half with the free role was given, almost scored a brilliant goal and maybe his best role has been found.
Ibra(7.5): Involved in both of our goals and almost scored the tying 1 with a header and was involved throughout the match.
Leao(5.5): Looked lively when he came on with his pace & dribbling ability, but ultimately did not have an end product.
Paqueta(6): Not bad a play considering he has been shun from the team for 2020 and it was his cross that Ibra his the post with late on.
Coach: Pioli(6): The man on the bench got all these 6 points due to the fantastic 1st half of football Milan played, however lost the other 4 due to his lack of match awareness when Inter took control. Needed to make changes for the LATEST after our rivals equalised, but did nothing.
Big Talking Point:
Milan froze under pressure & our mentality was damaged.
In a game of 2 halves, Milan owned the 1st and Inter owned the 2nd…Of that there can be no doubt, HOWEVER, and this is significant, while our rivals made full use of their advantage, we did NOT! Meaning…Milan seemed to come out in the 2nd half either thinking the game was won or when the expected Nerazzurri reaction came, our team could not handle it. Teams are judged when things are not going well & unfortunately, we failed badly in that regard.
Pioli: “I have to be angry, I have to be upset, because I need to get into the minds of the players that they are capable of great things if they avoid their errors.” These words are appreciated by the manager, because we as fans are also angry & quite frankly disappointed & upset!
Ibrahimovic: “We stopped playing, the team stopped believing, we stopped pressing, did not pass it around enough. From the equaliser, everything collapsed.” NOTHING TO ADD TO THIS!!!
We are hurting, we are sad & we feel the pain…As in the start of this article, we commiserate with all our fellow Milanisti. HOWEVER, we must move forward, we must stay strong & we must see our team respond. Our next game is against our other arch-rival, Juventus in the Coppa Italia! The caption photo used was the choreography displayed by our fans at the final in 2018, a final we lost by 4-0. However, we still continued to support our club as we are “ALL IN.” ALL connected with our beloved Rossoneri must continue to believe in our team, because they are in our hearts past, present & in the future.
Versus Juve at home in the Coppa Italia semi-final on Thursday 13th February at 8:45 pm Italian time.
Buon giornata a tutti…Well, unfortunately our beloved Rossoneri run of 5 consecutive wins were halted on Sunday evening.
It must be stated that Verona were the better team in the 1st half and constantly put the defense under pressure. It was no surprise that the away side struck 1st, as Faraoni caught the defense lapsing and finished off a cross from the right first time. Yet again Milan conceded the opening goal at home…
Thankfully the fortune favoured us as a Calhanoglu free-kick took a wicked deflection and wrong footed Silvestri in goal. For the remaining of the opening half, the home team began to assert some pressure with Rebic and Leao having decent chances for us to take the lead.
Into the second and the game opened up more, but yet again it was the Veronese who came closest to scoring. Theo(who was not having his best game), gave the ball away and a cross floated in was headed onto the post by Pessina…Too close for comfort.
Just after the hour mark, yet again, it was our team that was under severe pressure! After a failure of the defense to clear the ball, Zaccagni hit his shot that cannoned onto the post…Another close call for the Rossoneri.
The away side went down to 10 men, when with the assistance of the VAR, it was deemed that a Amrabat foul on Castillejo was dangerous and he was sent off. One would think that we would take advantage of being a man up, but it never materialised.
Milan did however come inches to stealing the points as the end, as a Castillejo shot hit the post after Theo’s shot was saved into his path. That would be the final chance of the encounter.
Donnarumma(7): Stopped everything he could, but was unable to do anything about the goal.
Theo(5): Off the boil on Sunday. Failed to pick up Pessina on Verona’s goal and lacked that drive going forward. Hopefully it is a 1 off!
Romagnoli(7): Cool, calm & collected throughout the match as well as being a motivating factor for his teammates.
Musacchio(6): Decent game from the Argentine & with the acquisition of Kjaer should be extra motivated to fight for his place.
Calabria(4): Seemed to shy away from his responsibilities in the game, as he did not do much on either end of the pitch. Needs a boost of confidence.
Kessie(5.5): An up and down performance, as he seemed to have the purpose for the game with a couple nice runs & protection at the back. However, as is customary, made some basic errors.
Bonaventura(5): The mid-season slump continued and Jack seemed to be lost lately as to his role and abilities to contribute to Milan.
Calhanoglu(6): Got the game tying goal, but seemed to take a bit of a step back to his form of 2019. Strange too, as he was given a central role which is his natural position.
Castillejo(6.5): His enthusiasm has been a key cog in our recent revival, but his decision making was lacking. Having said that, he was arguably Milan’s best player going forward with his speed and control.
Rebic(5.5): Not a bad performance, but had some opportunities in the attacking third when his awareness & thought process let him down.
Leao(6): Has all the attributes of a forward for the future, but needs to work on the end product in the 18-yard box.
Paqueta(5): Passed forward in a couple of potentially dangerous situations, but may need some time to re-integrate into the team.
Saelemaekers(6): Looked full of drive & purpose when he came on & although he spurned a good chance, there is something there to work with.
Coach: Pioli(4.5)- Waited too long to makes changes, the tactics were still more or less the same when he did & WASTED a sub by bringing on Maldini with just a minute to go.
Big Talking Point:
Key players missing means poor performance?
In recent matches a number of players have stepped up their performance and showed what they can do. However yesterday’s encounter showed a mixed bag. Ibra & Bennacer were missing, who it can be argued are our most influential players(along with Gigio, Roma & Theo) and the team fell flat. The midfield was overan at times, the build up going forward lacked intensity and the finishing was poor. We all recognise that Ibra’s influence has been immense, but he is 38 now & our players CAN’T & MUST NOT only step up when he is there! In fact, they should know that they need to play even better when the likes of the Swede & Bennacer are not. Pioli needs to work on that.
Pioli:”We did not have the sharpness when we had the numerical advantage in the second half.” While this is a fair point and the players must take responsibility for that, the coach could have done more. Not making a change at half-time(after it was clear the team were struggling), not tinkering a bit with the system & AGAIN, will say, he WASTED a sub by bringing on young Maldini in stoppage time.
Maldini:”It was a dream come, just a pity about the result.” Solid words from the third generation of his family to wear our colours. Firstly, because he expressed his obvious joy at playing for Milan, but, also recognised the bigger picture of the whole team.
Milan did not start off the month of February, as we ended January…Players were missing, the performance was not in keeping with recent games and there were some concerning moments throughout the clash. However, let us stay on the positive aspect of things and say, at least a loss did not occur & we fought back from a losing position. A top 4 place is 7 points away, so there is still a distinct possibility of a return to Europe’s most prestigious competition. WE NEVER GIVE UP!
Versus Inter on Sunday 9th of February at 8:45 pm Italian time.
Upwards & onwards Rossoneri faithful…Our team gave us another heart pumping, hair raising anxious encounter to savour as we reached the last 4 to set up a mouth watering clash with arch-rivals Juventus.
Milan were the better team early on and struck in the 12th minute, as Rebic dribbled around his covering defender, sent a low cross that fizzed along the penalty box and Bonaventura was there to apply the finish.
There was a touching moment at the 24th minute the crowd rose to their feet as a tribute to long time Milanista Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away on Sunday. At that very same minute, Milan almost doubled the lead, but Castillejo’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was well saved by Sirigu in the Granata goal.
The home side continued to be the better team, but it was the side from Piedmont who scored the next goal. Defender Bremer brought the ball forward, exchanged a lovely 1-2 with Verdi and calmly slotted the ball home. Rebic had the ball in the net, but it was adjudged to have struck Piatek’s arm in the build up.
In the 2nd half the game became even more open, as both teams to their credit went for it in this knock-out tie.
Krunic had a header that went over from very close range and a free-kick from Torino caused all kinds of headaches for Milan’s defense, as the ball bounced around, but thankfully was cleared away to safety. Captain Romagnoli then also had a header that he could not keep down, as the match became end to end.
With less than 20 minutes remaining, we conceded a goal and it was Toro’s defender Bremer who again grabbed it. Aina played in a cross within the crowd and the Brazilian was left all alone to glance his header home…Pressure!!!
Ibra missed a chance to tie the game up, but fortunately it did not hurt us…as Calhanoglu had his say! The often criticised Turk stepped up big time. In stoppage time, Castillejo played the ball along the ground and the man who wears our famed number 10 shirt unleashed a shot that took a deflection and flew over Sirigu. 2-2 & it was game on again!
Leao came on and was making waves and the Portuguese created a a great chance for Ibra, which the Swede somehow spurned! Calhanoglu continued to cause havoc, as he had a shot & set up Theo in the space of just a few minutes in the extra-time period.
We would take the lead and it was the Turk again that provided the decisive blow! He was fed through by Kessie, he carried the ball about 15 yards and corked a left footed strike that Sirigu could not stop. 3-2!!! The tie was wrapped up late on, as Leao again proved his growing stature, as he played a brilliant one touch pass for Ibra to finally get his goal.
A 4-2 win and we start to count down to the clash with Juve from now.
Donnarumma(7): Solid throughout, did not make any of his now customary saves and could not do anything about either goal conceded.
Theo(6.5): Mauraded up and down the left side of Milan’s team, but lacked some tactical awareness at times.
Romagnoli(7): Continued his growth in the attack, by starting the build up play and was a leader at the back, barking out instructions & encouraging his teammates.
Kjaer(6): Started off slow off the blocks, but made a couple crucial stops at the back, but his lack of speed is a concern.
Conti(6): A decent enough game, as he was more instructed to stay back to allow Theo to push forward & it maybe a way forward for him.
Bennacer(7.5): Brilliant and his continued directing of the play from midfield on both defense & attack is a significant reason for our uptone in fortunes. His energy is also highly impressive.
Krunic(6): Contributed both in the protection of the back 4 & in our attacks during the build up. Just needs to improve on his composure in the final third.
Bonaventura(6): Scored the opening goal of the match, but faded away as it went on & seems to be in a bit of a slump in recent times. Still can have an impact for the rest of the campaign.
Castillejo(7.5): An impressive start to 2020 for the Spaniard continued on Tuesday night. Provided an outlet always, energy & pressing up front & continues to be a vital cog in the team.
Rebic(7): Created Bona’s goal, was a bundle of technical & tactical qualities & is definitely pushing for a starting spot.
Piatek(5): The Pole continued to disappoint again…Made a couple of decent enough runs, but there is something missing.
Ibra(5.5): Got a goal eventually, but missed a guilt edge chance to clinch the tie during regular time, but as stated before, his impact are “the intangibles”.
Leao(7): Brilliant off the bench, as his continued enthusiasm, willingness to drive at defenders & growing passing was a joy to witness.
Calhanoglu(8.5): Scored the goal that tied the game late on & the go ahead in extra-time. Seemed to play a bit more centrally which he reveled in his role.
Kessie(6.5): With his 1st touch, he sent Hakan on his way to score the decisive 3rd goal & also was solid in the defensive end of the game.
Coach: Pioli(8): As expected he started the game with several regulars given a rest, but fair dues to him for making the significant subs at the right time. All 4 of the players he brought on, made an impact in some way, shape or form.
Big Talking Point:
More players are feeling important.
In recent times at our beloved club, there have been a number of players who have failed to live up to expectations. It can be attributed to a number of factors, such as the manager, the players themselves & the weight of expectation. However, in recent times, a number of our squad have slowly but surely shown their worth. Among them are Rebic, Leao(being actually given the chance), Bennacer, Krunic & now Hakan. It gives us extra options & it also takes some of the load off the players who have been carrying us. Like within any other organisation, when everyone feels they can contribute & are part of it, that can only help the overall growth & Milan are reaping the rewards right now.
Pioli: “I believe in all the players I have available, it’s normal that a player won’t be at the optimal condition throughout the season.” This is just to add to the fact that what was mentioned about more of our players making an impact. The coach obviously has both faith in the players at his disposal & in return, it is seemingly a 2 way street, as the players have grown in respect & confidence in him. It augers well for us.
Romagnoli: “When you win, you get more energy.” Interesting quote from our captain…It’s not secret that a winning team is a happy team, which in turn, means the players are all willing to give that little bit extra, which can make all the difference at the end of the season.
The winning streak continued, but we had to suffer in the end. It has been a very good start to the new year & decade for our team, as there has been upward movement in the league & progression in the Coppa Italia. We should not set any expectations just yet, especially considering where the club was just a couple months ago. However, we can stay positive & believe in our club, because that is what we have always done! Lastly, we send our heartfelt condolences to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna & the rest of those that lost their lives on Sunday. May they Rest In Peace…
Versus Verona at home on Sunday 2nd of February at 3 pm Italian time.
What a way to start the weekend Milan fans! A win, three points and continued surge up the Serie A standings.
The opening exchanges was frantic, as both clubs sparred as they tried to gain the upper hand. Bennacer had a good opportunity with a half-volley that hit the side netting. Brescia were the better team and came close to opening the scoring when an Aye header was well saved by Donna(not the 1st time he saved us in that game).
il Diavolo did not really create that much in the 1st half, but should have taken the lead just a few minutes before the break. Theo made a penetrative run and crossed Ibra, but the striker miraculously missed from just 6 yards from goal! The Swede seemed as shocked as I am sure all Milan fans watching around the world would have been.
Truthfully, La Leonessa(who Milan Ultras are twinned with), were the better team for much of this match and had another great opportunity, as their man in form Torregrossa had a scissor kick go just wide. Gigio continued to come up trumps whenever called upon and saved solidly from a Bisoli shot, after he was fed from the ever impressive Tonali.
Our defense continued to be breached quite easily, as Donna saved twice from Torregrossa, firstly with a shot from 20 yards out and our youth product had to sprawl to his right to parry away a header. Calhanoglu who continued to frustrate had a low drive that went just past the post.
With less than 20 minutes to go, we got the one and only goal of the encounter…Ibra collected the ball on the right, played the ball across on the ground where 3 Milan players were racing into the box and after a mad scramble, it was that man again, Rebic who applied the finishing touch.
Milan almost doubled the lead as Theo had a picked up the ball in his own half, ran 3/4 of the field and cracked a shot that hit the crossbar so hard that it still was shaking a full minute after the fact. What a goal that would have been! We eventually saw out the game to make it 4 wins on the bounce.
Donnarumma(9):Continued to show his immense growth with Milan, as he saved us on several occasions and for the umpteenth time, we’d be out of the game without Gigio.
Theo(6.5):Created Ibra’s best chance and nearly scored a spectacular goal, but gave the ball away several times, that thankfully did not cost us.
Romagnoli(8.5):Our defense generally off on Friday night, but our captain backed up his teammates on those mistakes. In addition to which, he has continued to start attacks with his pin point passes.
Kjaer(4.5):Made a number of needless fouls, gave the ball away several times and was physically and tactically lacking throughout the game.Hopefully it’s a one off and not a sign of the norm.
Conti(5.5):Defensively decent for the most part, but lacked a cutting edge going forward.
Bennacer(6.5):Stared off the game very well with his intelligence on the ball and tracking back on defence, but dipped in form as the match went on.
Kessie(7): Much criticised, but was solid in this clash;calm and composed when he had the ball and re-gained possession back for the team on several occasions. THIS is the player we want to see more!
Calhanoglu(6):At times coasted during the match and offered nothing moving forward, but his pass did contribute to our goal.
Castillejo(5.5):Has had a good time of it lately, but was largely anonymous versus Brescia.
Leao(5):Was off his game…Did not hold onto the ball well enough, did not press the opposition as he needs to and looked dis-interested at times. Hopefully a one off!
Ibra(5):Not a good performance at all, as besides the miss, he looked a bit tired as there was a lack of movement. Again though, what he brings to us are the intangibles which has helped.
Rebic(7.5): Sparked the team into life with his energy, drive & movement, both with & without the ball. Scored the winner for the 2nd match in a row! Super-sub Rebic?
Coach: Pioli(6.5):The team seemed off the boil for large parts of that match, particularly in the 1st half and the manager must take part of the responsibility. Made the necessary change of bringing on Rebic that proved decisive. However, why he started him on the bench and why he did not use a 3rd sub to kill some time is mind boggling.
Big Talking Point:
Improved mentality means improved results.
This was a match that just a few months ago, we would have drawn or worse yet lost! Milan have a team of some great talents and those that are not up to the standard of our history, but what is pleasing to witness is that the players fight & there seemed to be a togetherness growing within the squad. Make no mistake about it, we suffered immensely against Brescia, but the fact that the win was gained despite that, showed a willingness from the boys to roll up their sleeves, dig in and at least right now, not succumb to the pressure.
Pioli:”It was a complicated game in which we did not express ourselves in the best possible waybut the team always remains in the game.” These words from the coach perfectly highlighted the “improved mentality” of the team. Despite the difficulties encountered and the team playing well below the standard required, the 3 points were gained and that was the main aim.
Donnarumma:”It’s a Milan that knows how to suffer, coming here was not easy.” It is important for players to recognise the “need to suffer”, as there are always going to be times during a campaign that the team will not play well. Our goalkeeper has come to our rescue on numerous occasions & we must be grateful & hopeful he STAYS with us!
That victory at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti was Milan’s 4th in a row, the 1st time that has been achieved this season. Ibra’s lift on the team, not only with his play, but his own mentality to succeed has had an immediate impact. The key aspect now is for us to continue along this path, so it is not just “a new player bounce”and needs to continue for the rest of the year. It’s been a truly up & down season for Milan & us fans have been through the ringer with ourteam, but our love NEVER lessens for this wonderful club we all love. Lastly, just want to send regards to HERBERT KILPIN! It would have been our founder’s 150th birthday on Friday & all us Milanisti MUST NEVER forget what he did all those years ago, as without him, there would be no AC Milan for us to support. RIP HERBERT KILPIN.
Torino at home in the Coppa Italia on Tuesday 28th of January at 8:45 pm Italian time.