Friday, November 27, 2009

europa league?

Didier Deschamps

AC Milan 1 Olympique de Marseille 1

Call me a pessimist. No, seriously. I am suggesting that we are headed into the Europa League where we would be meeting our favorite finalists Liverpool in the finals, at HSH Nordbank Arena at Hamburg on the 12th of May. Why do I say that? Its not because I believe Marseille will beat Madrid (which they can). But its because I think Milan will find it really hard against Zurich. Lets not forget that the Swiss minnows beat us on our own hunting ground. Deschamps had suggested that we have the best attack in Europe. I was confused if he actually meant that or was it merely mind games. Now, I know and so does he, that it was simply a mind game, and a good one.

After having witnessed an explosive match in the weekend, I was expecting a similar spectacle in midweek. But it was far from a spectacle. We took the lead after Borriello showed some skill to get past the French defense. But Deschamps men weren't going to wait for too long to strike back. Niange made a mockery of Oddo on the right side of the pitch before his effort was palmed by Dida on to the path of Lucho, who blasted the ball into the back of the net while the Milan defenders were resembling mannequins . Borriello wasn't fit, but was still played. Take the goal away and you find a mess made of several opportunities. I am sorry, but I have to say this. If Huntelaar was in those positions, you would have bet your money on him bagging a brace, if not a hat-trick. Just saying. Marseille would go on to dominate the game, which they did. They bossed around in midfield and were threatening in attack. Oddo left the pitch due to an injury caused to his left thigh muscle and was replaced by Abate, which was a stroke of good luck. The former Lazio skipper is out for the next 2 months and I don't wish him a speedy recovery. Nesta just couldn't cope up to the pace or the physicality that was being thrown in his direction. If we survived conceding another, it was partially because of the remarkable presence of Silva. Pirlo also had decided that this wasn't one of the select games of the season where he would put in a decent performance, so Silva took on the play-making duties. His long ball strategies were causing a nuisance to Diawara and Heinze. AC Milan had their chances, but none of them had any danger written at the end of them. They weren't dealt with well, just the finishing was hopeless. Brandao missed a sitter, and his side were presented with a penalty by Abate, but the referee was having none of it. Borriello continued to waste glorious opportunities, and Pato continued to cause Mandanda problems. Ronaldinho was putting up a show with his flicks and cutters, but the men responsible for the final act were not living up to the expectation. Cisse almost snatched the points at the death, but his header hit the upright.

A few points were made clear at the end of the game. If a team need to beat us, they need to be fast and physical. Actually either will do the job, but the combination would be lethal. Second, since Gattuso wants to leave,, gift wrapping Pirlo as a take-away present would be a good idea to increase the interest. Thirdly, Nesta should start chalking out his retirement plans, and Leonardo should start looking for a right-back in the market, instead of asking a winger to slot into that position. Finally, we could be headed out of this competition.

Scorers -
AC Milan - Borriello 10'
Marseille - Lucho Gonzalez 16'

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