Midweek matches, specifically Coppa matches, are always interesting. Fighting with streams, trying to not have results spoiled, and simply interacting with all of you here. The match get's disjointed and sadly so do my thoughts and notes. So here comes the rambling of a disjointed match viewing...
-It only took six minutes for El Sharaawy to put his mark on the match. It only took six minutes for Milan to concede that lead and the foothold gained in the match slowly diminished. To make matters worse, it was the Atomic Ant and a set-piece. I hate conceding goals, despise it even, and the rate which Milan concede is simply not the mark of top caliber team. Blame whoever you want, but at some point those guys have to score, and take it upon themselves to do everything in their power to make sure their opponent doesn't!
-Urby got the start, CAM/pseudo RW, it was hard to tell as the match wore on. What he did do though was reinforce his place as a fringe player and why he may not be playing as much as some expect. Disappointing performance and while I give Bojo the Clown a lot of flack you can see the difference when he got introduced.
-Niang continues to impress when given chances. His work rate and movement are all excellent and he doesn't lack any confidence. With consistent integration he will continue to improve but with results being paramount playing youngsters may not be as effective as expected.
-Case in point, Acerbi's start. He seems to start each and every match nervy and takes time to settle in, the lack of decent midfield pressure was very clear as often times he and Mexes were left to pressure the ball and this is a recipe for disaster. To prevent goals, your defenders simply cover and clean up messes, with this current Milan squad, and specifically today Ambro was on an island in the midfield pressuring the ball and held his ground, but it didn't hold. Mexes didn't do himself any favors, but without an established CB pair and cover, this is what happens. I will say it once again, Astori anyone!?
-Like last season a midfielder was given a golden opportunity to draw level in extra time, this time it was Traore and it was oh so close. The maligned midfielder put in a decent shift today, but like last year Milan conceded early in the extra time and never recovered. With that Milan says goodbye to the Coppa Italia yet again, and now CL qualification becomes the goal for next season with Barcelona looming.
A solid and proud performance and a loss not without positives, but a loss nonetheless and what started with promise once again leaves us disappointed...