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Lecce 1 Milan 1

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I have been very patient this season, calmly waiting for Milan to shake out of this pattern of late goals and skin of the teeth victories. By the time Ronaldinho scored I was relieved and wildly celebrating the goal forgetting to consider that the ref is not going to blow the whistle in the next five minutes and there is still a game to continue playing.

Kudos to Carletto for making one really intelligent swap, albeit a bit late, the inclusion of Pato proved the straw that broke Lecce’s back. The rest of the subs, well Pippo and Old Man Emerson to be exact, proved pivotal for Lecce when the game mattered most. Emerson’s foul was both unnecessary and inappropriate for a man with more experience than most of the Lecce squad. With the Rossoneri defender closed in very neatly the heel clip from behind was the beginning of the end for the Milan defense who did well despite not being all that tested for most of the match. Emerson gave up the foul, but it was Pippo whose lack of defensive cost the match. Despite Abbiati cries to keep the defensive line high, the line inevitably collapsed back leaving Pippo to cover, and his effort was so poor that Esposito had an unadulterated b-line to the right of the goal.

It is easy to place the blame squarely where I just have. It directly led to the Lecce equalizer and kept the Rossoneri out of first place for two straight weeks. But if we look past the stoppage time nightmare, and earlier, much earlier into the match, it is easy to see that this match was lost in the first half on wasted chances. For much of last season we watched Gila struggle to find the back of the net, and shaking our heads at the half wondering how on Earth this team didn’t have a lead. Today, those feelings came back like a bad case of déjà vu; replace Gila with Borriello, but the rest of the cast was very much the same. The poor touches, too many dribbles, and balls skied over the cross bar. Everything that was wrong with last season was all mirrored in the first 45 minutes and left me wondering why on Earth this team was not better than this.

Kaka, Borriello, Seedorf, and Dinho were all very very guilty. Kaka at times looked miserable, and Seedorf might as well have stood in the corner pouting because he clearly was not happy with his role on the left flank. To have that much attacking prowess, and an impeccable performance from Rino Gattuso, the wasteful of this team got them exactly what they deserved, a draw. Gattuso continues to play well, but how long before he erupts at Kaka for dribbling to much, or bites off Borriello’s head for missing a third straight sitter. For the love of god, guys don’t make Rino mad…

Today was not a must win game, and certainly not pivotal to the season, but these types of games need to be won, no excuses. The team created chances, but the decisive finish was not there today, and when it was, it was wasted in a terrible stoppage time. I have to say I am not even all that frustrated with the XMAS tree or even the personnel, I am frustrated that with all these players capable of scoring can all go absolutely cold all at once. I learned one more simple thing today about the XMAS tree, if your lone striker can’t score you are screwed, at least if there are two the other guy might find a nut…