Sunday, December 6, 2009

the race is on

Ignazio Abate

AC Milan 3 Sampdoria 0

Sampdoria are no pushovers. This team was atop the league table during the first few weeks of the season. It was the only team (before yesterday) that managed to beat Inter. Sampdoria can also boast of possibly the most lethal striking partnership in the league. But a humbling wasn't something either of these teams expected. Fortunately it was an experience the visitors had to take home.

Catania was proof that Milan are a winning machine, and that we don't choke under pressure. But, playing one of the better teams would provide a clearer picture of the potency of this side. Honestly, we couldn't have asked for a better way to get the game rolling. In the very 1st minute, Ronaldinho floats a cross into the box, Borriello only had to meet the ball with his head. The rest is history. Pato too started brightly. However it was Seedorf who got the second for the home side. Leonardo's side played an expansive game, crisp passing to the feet. After a good build up, Seedorf shot from distance after Ronaldinho sent him a flat pass. There were no signs of complacency, as Milan pressed ahead for the third. And surely found it, courtesy Pato. We continued to keep the ball, and looked very comfortable on it. 30 minutes into the game, and Sampdoria start plotting their attacking moves. Abate replaced Ronaldinho, and the enthusiastic winger was on fire down the right. He set up Pato, but the starlet was lethargic with his finish. As the first half was drawing to a close, I glanced at the stats. We had 61% possession!

There was a lot of place to play in, but penetration become something of an issue in the second half. A lunge from Zambrotta prevented Ziegler from getting his name on the score-sheet. We continued to attack relentlessly, showing no signs of fatigue. Perhaps, we are a 'one game a week' team? The man in green had a lot of tidying up to do. Huntelaar received a hero's welcome from the Rossoneri faithful, as he replaced Borriello. Pato was pushed into the left to accommodate Abate on the right. He wasn't feeling at ease with his new position, and wasn't having the best of games in the second half. Huntelaar seemed isolated. He drowned in a sea of blue shirts. He simply isn't capable of playing as a lone striker. Its high team Leo realized that. We resorted to pacy counter attacks to score our fourth. Sampdoria were seeking to earn some respect as they pressed ahead for their first. Lets talk about Abate, who impressed me the most. Many have labeled him as a defensive winger. This lad runs his socks off every game, and looks dangerous whenever he pushes up. He is ever willing to attack and cause damage. Defensive winger? Huntelaar treated the fans to his dribbling skills, and later set up Seedorf. The veteran just had to sky the ball, characteristically. The team from Genoa saw more of the ball in the second half. Pato had a burst of energy out on the left, which had the visiting defense scrambling. It also brought a few smiles to the Presidency.

It wasn't really a demolition as many would like you to believe. It was so only for the initial 25 minutes. But after that, and for the rest of the game, it was domination. But I will hold on to my horses, because this could be a false alarm. After all, Del Neri had a few of his stars missing. Angelo Palombo and Marco Rossi had to sit out this game. After a 3-0 thrashing last week in the derby, I wouldn't fancy their confidence to be sky high. But its a fantastic result, especially after Inter lost to Juve right after. It throws the race for the crown wide open. One thing at a time, though. We need a lot of this form in Europe as we go to Switzerland. And its no holiday.

Scorers -
Milan - Borriello 1', Seedorf 21', Pato 23'
Sampdoria - /

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