Thursday, October 22, 2009

derby d'Europa

Massimo Oddo

Real Madrid CF 2 AC Milan 3
Huge. That was what the media was touting this game to be. And for a change, neither of the two clubs involved were English. So that was a mighty relief. AC Milan were severe underdogs going into this game. I am beginning to think that we play best when that happens. Many predicted a thrashing of the Italians. Destiny had other plans, however.

Leonardo's boldness was out there for everyone's viewing as he decided to take up an attacking approach. He went ahead with Seedorf, Ronaldinho, Pato and Inzaghi in the same team. What's more, he had Borrielo and Hunterlaar awaiting the nod on the bench. Such a positive approach was new for a coach of an Italian side, and I bet that took Madrid by surprise. For over an hour, Milan just sat back and soaked in the pressure. Madrid used the width of the pitch extensively. They had a more dynamic approach, while Milan decided to attack through the centre. AC Milan were defending deeper than they usually do. Zambrotta continues to exhibit signs of retardation, both mentally and physically. He brought down Benzema in the box, and a stonewall penalty was turned down by the referee. Not much later, Madrid had their due. Classic Dida keeping. fumbles a dead ball onto the path of Raul. The predator isn't known for showing mercy and tucks the ball into the back of the net, like he so often has done in the past. Raul was going to prove to the world, that he is the better centre forward in comparison to Fillipo, and he dint leave any questions asked. Milan decided to up their tempo, and played a little more aggressively. There was more bite in their play. The Milan forwards were constantly lost in a sea of white shirts. Isolated, and unattended to.

In the second half, Madrid decided to take shots on target instead of only being pretty and fancy with the ball. They got quite a few on target and tested Dida very often. Inzaghi put in a pathetic performance, which gives me the understanding, now more than ever before, that he is only capable of being a super sub and should never start games. Pirlo's long distance curler left the world stunned. Casillas, they say could have stopped it, but in terms of anticipation, he clearly lacked any of it. He wasn't tested all night, and then came Pirlo. Ambrosini was aimlessly floating around the midfield throughout the game. But he did what he had to when required, i.e. intercept the ball, and deliver a delicious long ball to Pato, who took advantage of Casillas' stupidity, to give Milan the lead. Oddo played his part admirably. He is questioned on quality time and again, and I did think that Kaka would run rings around him, but Oddo put in a very fine performance, leaving me impressed..amazed if I might add. But the veteran fullback hasn't yet received praise for his performance. After Drenthe's equalizer, I knew the game would only get hotter. It did. Seedorf, who had been shooting into the stars all night long, received the ball from Ronaldinho before delivering a magical assist to Pato, two minutes from time. Seedorf waits, Seedorf applies and Pato finishes. End result, Milan create history by winning for the first time at the Bernebeu.

This could be a critical point in our season. We have achieved two awesome results over the last 5 days. This team lacked character, but now we are seeing signs of it being birthed. Though our team lacks the quality of Chelsea or Barcelona, we could develop the grit of Liverpool and sail through this season, leaving our critics (including me) spellbound. Cheers to a new Milan. Lets go face the flying donkeys.

Scorers -
Madrid - Raul 18', Drenthe 76'
Milan - Pirlo 62', Pato 66' 88'

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