May 242015

Milan Torino

Abbiati, Zaccardo and Pazzini all got somewhat surprising starts, perhaps two were playing their last home games in a Milan shirt. Whatever the true reason seeing Pazzini in a captain’s role and again little sign of youth players – except on the bench – was frustrating to some fans. The visitors had the early edge in play but Milan opened the score. Zaccardo’s accurate cross found El Shaarawy in the top of box, the latter took the ball well, turned and beat Daniele Padelli in Torino’s goal. The half prodded along with little danger, El Shaarawy shot a half chance wide and Torino ran and threatened a few times. There was to be more drama however, not long before the half Zaccardo was sent off for putting a foot in on the edge of the box and bringing down the on rushing Cristian Molinaro. Whether or not that red was merited was debatable but just moments before it in the same sequence of play Amauri was offside.

Torino players Offside In the Leadup to Zaccardo's Red

Torino players Offside In the Leadup to Zaccardo’s Red

Pippo Inzaghi was expelled and banished to the stands and Mexes came on for Alex to start the second. An early free kick wasn’t far from producing a second but it was diverted out for a corner. An improved start to the second paid dividends, Pazzini and van Ginkel were involved in a nice one two and the Dutch was brought down clumsily. The aforementioned was Molinaro was red carded and Pazzini converted the penalty. Honda seemed more comfortable in a more central attacking role. Another nice one two this time between van Ginkel and El Shaarawy lead to Milan’s third. The ball was moving better than any time in recent games. Zapata replaced El Shaarawy soon after. A beaming Alessandro Mastalli – 19 year old primavera player – replaced Poli a few minutes later. Abbiati’s stretched leg denied Omar El Kaddouri a goal. The game finished with a welcome clean sheet.

More on the game as it happened.

May 172015

Sassuolo Milan

Stephan El Shaarawy made a return to the bench. Bonera started in place of Antonelli. The game proved entertaining if not a happy one for Milan. Juventus owned Domenico Berardi followed up his 4 goal performance against Milan last season by scoring a hattrick in this game. Berardi’s first was a speculative dropping shot which was uncharacteristically dropped by Lopez, the goal was given although it seemed that the ball did not fully cross the line. The goal line referee may have wrong in this case. For the second Berardi may have been just offside when he took on the ball near the half way line and finished a solo effort. The young Italian’s third however was the end result of good passing and movement. Milan’s first was scored after good individual work by Bonaventura who then finished into the far corner. Alex headed in Milan’s second after a corner and cross. The Sassuolo players were unhappy and claimed that the Brazilian had bumped into Andrea Consigli in the Sassuolo goal. Milan finished the game with 9 men after Bonaventura received two yellows and Suso – on for Abate at half time – a red late. Pippo Inzaghi will have selection problems for the game vs Torino on the 37th matchday.
For more about the game as it happened click here.

May 092015

Milan Roma

Antonelli made a welcome return to the starting lineup, otherwise the line up was predictable with Menez still serving his suspension. Suso made it to the bench with a trio of primavera players – Mastalli (36), Felicioli (37), Modic (42) – available as well. Honda seemed an improved player in the first half, his run down the right provided the assist for van Ginkel’s goal from close range. Roma continued to be a different, much poorer version of their first half of the season.
The second half’s start was mostly uneventful and slow. But it was Milan who doubled their lead with another Honda cross this time finding Destro. The Roma loanee jumped and leaned on the defender to head the ball in. Roma’s defence wasn’t distinguishing itself. Moments later a cross was a bit too far for a stretched Poli, it fell to Bonavetura’s feet, he somehow too easily beat the Roma defender but shot wide. Poli was screaming to have the ball back but Bonaventura didn’t see or use him. Later a Seydou Doumbia shot injured Antonelli and he was replaced by Bocchetti. Francesco Totti replaced Miralem Pjanic for Roma’s final sub – after earlier subs of Juan Manuel Iturbe for Victor Ibarbo and Adem Ljajic for Gervinho in the first half. The controversial moment of the match arrived in the 72nd minute when Iturbe was seemingly brought down in the box. Replays showed minimum contact with Alex and the referee himself took his time to point to the spot. Totti barely beat Lopez to get his team on the scoresheet and Alex was given a yellow and would miss the week 36 Sassuolo game. Pazzini replaced Destro and had a half chance soon after. Roma seemed to be getting into the match, testing the Milan defense deep for some nervy occasions. Mexes replaced the apparently injured Alex for the third and final sub. Just before the end Pippo was ejected from the sideline and Milan had done enough to overcome the Roma team in the midst of an extended collapse.
The match as it happened.

May 032015

Napoli Milan

Abate and Mexes were suspended after accumulating yellow cards. Menez was also suspended for his two yellow in the match against Genoa, but for four games total! Additionally all of Rami, Antonelli, Suso, El Shaarawy, Montolivo and Essien remained unavailable. Therefore the starting line was yet again different with Bocchetti getting a game. Nigel de Jong was the captain. The start was another reminder of the disastrous season as De Sciglio was red carded and penalty given. Diego Lopez saved from Gonzalo Higuain to save the team once more. Not many chances in the first half and Napoli only dominated in possession but did little else, Bonaventura had a half chance header in the 39th minute and Napoli made several speculative passes into Milan’s box with little end product. The first half ended with a small sign of how Milan are not managed properly. The referee added one minute, Milan got a throw in and Bocchetti was not even remotely in a hurry to throw the ball back into play before the half runs out.
The second half had Napoli take advantage of the man advantage and spot left empty by De Sciglio’s red but Jose Maria Callejon and his teams mates missed or poorly executed numerous chances. Surprisingly – or perhaps not – it was Napoli who made the fist substitution. Manolo Gabbiadini replaced Jorginho shortly before Pazzini replaced Destro. Minutes later Bonera replaced Bocchetti. Napoli’s possession percentage remained around 77%. Just as it seemed Napoli may never finish a chance Marek Hamsik shot inside the near post and beat a diving Lopez. The flood gates opened, Higuain added a second a bit later and Gabbiadini a third. Poor marking and poor play was always going to collapse sooner or later. In the final minutes Gian Filippo Felicioli (17 year old primavera midfielder) made what is a rare appearance by a youth player replacing Bonaventura. Lopez kept the score 3-0 just before the referee whistled for full time.
For more on the match as it happened click here.

Apr 292015

Milan Genoa

The game featured a new look lineup, occurring in the shadow of another Curva Sud protest and a meeting between Berlusconi and Thai businessman Bee Taechaubol in regards to a possible and soon to be completed sale. Suso was not even on the bench, ostensibly due to fatigue, and Antonelli missed out as well, apparently injured. De Sciglio made a return to the starting eleven and Cerci played a kind of center forward or false 9 role while Destro and Pazzini sat on the bench. Early action was all Genoa as the visitors had three corners inside the four minutes, a bit later Niang forced Lopez into making a good save. Cerci headed at Matia Perin for a rare Milan action inside the visitor’s box. A someone soft Menez yellow in the 30th minute meant that the Frenchman would miss the Napoli match on the weekend. Horrible defending including a missed Rami sliding tackle allowed Andrea Bertolacci to run at and easily beat Lopez. An all too common poor half ended 0-1 for the visitors.
Little changed at the start of the second, a Milan half chance missed was followed by Tino Costa doing well to keep the ball well inside the Milan box, he then cut back and found an open M’Baye Niang. Too many Milan players were caught ball watching. Soon after Pazzini replaced Honda. A goal finally arrived after Perin saved well, the ensuing short corner found its way to Mexes outside of the box, his one time shot curled in off crossbar. In the 74th minute Menez was given a second yellow for a foul on Edenilson. Replays showed there was no contact. Perhaps the Brazilian was fouled by Mexes moments before but this was a clearly a wrong yellow by Piero Giacomelli. Having little choice but to go for it De Sciglio was replaced by Destro. Genoa continued to have the better of the chances and Lopez – notably a double save in the 89th minute – saved the team further damage. The hurt was not over however, a Mexes tackle on Juraj Kucka on the top edge of the box was judged to be a penalty and Iago Falque made it 1-3 with the last shot of the game. It was Genoa’s first win at the San Siro since 1957!
More about the match in its match thread.

Apr 252015

Udinese Milan

The line up was tweaked with Pazzini starting up front and Bonaventura moving back to midfield. The first half was one of the most disorganized performances in an already poor season. Nothing resembling cohesion or tactics to be seen. There were no shots on target. Late in the half a goal was disallowed apparently for an Antonelli foul on  Silvan Widmer. The half ended with only that highlight, not that Udinese were great or spectacular either.
Rami replaced an injured Paletta at half time. The inevitable goal arrived, for Udinese of course. A corner was not cleared well and Giampiero Pinzi shot in through a crowd. Suso had Milan’s first shot on goal in the 62nd minute. His reward was to be replaced by Cerci moments later. Moments after Destro replaced Bonaventura Udinese doubled their lead. Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu poked in Guilherme’s cross after Lopez had palmed a shot away. It was impossible to blame one player only and the responsibility lay at everybody’s feet, including Pippo and his arguably wrong substitutions. Milan finally managed to score. Cerci’s high cross found Pazzini’s head and he found the back of the net. It was far too little however.
More about the match in the forum.

Apr 192015

Inter Milan

In the build up to the game it was briefly feared that Lopez might not make it due to a sprained finger but he did start. Honda made a return but had to start on the bench, as did Destro, as Inzaghi decided to give Suso a start. A minor surprise was Alex taking Paletta’s spot in defence. The best early chance fell to Hernanes as his shot from outside the box was palmed into a corner. Milan appeared lacklustre and barely threatened and often ceded possession easily. Suso forced a Samir Handanovic save in the 20th minute but little else until the half hour mark. Suso’s freekick, after a Gary Medel undeserved yellow for a foul on Abate, ended in the Inter goal but was called back for a questionable offside. The half fizzled out with little passion.
Early in the second Inter had a goal called off correctly for offside. Milan’s possession was improved but lacking a true and recognized striker meant little danger in Inter’s box. Perhaps Destro or Pazzini would need to come on. In the 57th minute Rodrigo Palacio had a chance to give Inter the lead but Lopez managed to collect the ball. Inter started to retake the initiative. A bit later Inter had a case for an Antonelli hand ball in the box but by current interpretations it would have been harsh. In the 70th minute Paletta replaced an injured Alex. Moments later an Inter counter had the ball in the back of the net but it was called back due to a foul. Destro and Cerci came on for Suso and Poli. Lopez made the most important contributions by controlling one good and few not so good chances.
This derby will be most remembered for the disallowed goals and it highlighting the new mediocre status of the Milan teams.
More about the match in its forum thread.

Apr 122015

Milan Sampdoria
Mid week injury fears were unfounded as both van Ginkel and Bonaventura started. The Curva Sud’s campaign of using the #saveacmilan hashtag on any paper or banner seemed a limited success, all amid growing reports of a team sale nearing. The closest early action came in the 14th minute when van Ginkel forced Emiliano Viviano to palm his shot out for a corner. Milan enjoyed more of the ball. On the other side Samuel Eto’o shot just wide in the 22nd minute. Destro was at the end of a couple of half chances and headers and van Ginkel seemed to be growing in stature. Cerci had a lot of the ball but rarely created more than a half chance and missed a relative easy chance late in the first too. The half ended 0-0.
Right after the restart Sampdoria had a chance from a counter. Soon after an Antonelli cross was not handled properly and the Sampdoria goalie almost handed Milan a chance to take the lead. The game stumbled along with little of note. In the 58th minute shortly after a Sampdoria counter had gone nowhere Samuel Eto’o found Roberto Soriano open behind Mexes, the latter easily scored. Suso came on for Cerci. The visitors seemed improved or Milan seemed to be going in the opposite direction. De Sciglio came on for Abate shortly before the equalizer. Nigel de Jong shot from a corner and his shot was deflected in by Alfred Duncan. The Ghanaian had come on earlier for the visitors’ goal scorer. The last Milan sub featured Pazzini coming on for the injured Destro. The latter seemed hurt after leg to leg collision. Later Suso hit the far post from a curled shot and the game ended with lots of possession but little else. Getting one point from a team higher in the standings was perhaps a cause for celebration.
More about the game in its forum thread.

Apr 042015

Palermo MilanThe game was almost overshadowed by growing stories of the team being sold to Far Eastern interests. On the pitch there was relative stability however. Bonaventura made a welcome return to the line up but the injury news of the week was Honda’s sprained ankle. The injury would keep the Japanese international out for a few weeks. A poor start to the match didn’t provide much hope. Franco Vazquez missed an unmissable chance to give Palermo the lead but Milan netted first via a lucky or fluke goal off of Cerci, a van Ginkel cross was diverted in by the winger. There were cases for a penalty and a handball on each side but the half time score remained 0-1.
More very close calls followed in the second half, Destro barely offside in one instance. The hosts got the tying goal, Paletta’s trailing leg brought down Andrea Belotti. Paulo Dybala converted the penalty. A bit later Suso made a first Serie A appearance in place of Cerci. As fears grew that more dropped points were coming Menez ran and beat all of Palermo’s defense for the winning goal. The performance was never noteworthy but the three points very welcome.
More about the match in its match thread.

Mar 222015

Milan Cagliari

Bonaventura was a late injury scratch that meant Poli got the start. Nigel de Jong made a welcome return in an otherwise relatively rare stable lineup. Perhaps the bigger news of the week was Curva Sud’s strongly worded letter in the wake out this terrible season. The group demanded that Berlusconi and team management be more transparent and honest. A walk out and boycott was planned that left the San Siro almost deserted.

Curva Sud called for a walkout protest leaving the San Siro almost deserted

Curva Sud called for a walkout protest leaving the San Siro almost deserted

Marco Sau had an early good chance for the visitors but it was Menez who scored first. A well taken shot curled in to the far corner beating Zeljko Brkic in the Cagliari goal. Menez’s celebration was muted and almost non existent. Zdenek Zeman back for another spell in Sardinia was often his trademark attack at all cost self.
The second half almost immediately featured a Cagliari counter, Mexes was turned around by Diego Farias and badly beaten for the tying goal. The Mexes criticism was almost immediately interrupted when the Frenchman restored Milan’s lead. He volleyed well, from a Menez corner and through a crowd. Later after Cerci and Pazzini had come on for Honda and Destro the ref whistled for a Milan penalty. The foul seemed well out of the box however. Menez converted the penalty. Cerci and Pazzini missed very late chances but the three points were already assured.
More about the match in its forum thread.

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