It was the slightest little turn from Diamanti in the 80th minute, just enough to get the ball onto his right foot, and send in a curling shot that looked destined to hit the top right corner of the back of the net. So subtle, so simple, and could have been so devastating as it was the difference between 3 points or 1, but out of nowhere, Abbiati comes flying across for a game defining save and an image to remember if and when Milan lift the scudetto. Diamanti was excellent on the day and not but a few moments earlier he hit the crossbar on a free kick, but Brescia as a whole played their hearts out and forced Milan to do what they have done so often this season, grind out a win, the mark of a Champion. No shame in that and with the 17th clean sheet of the season the old adage defense wins Championships is going to ring true yet again. You can have all the strikers in the World but at the end day if you keep the other team from scoring you always find a chance to win.
All the teams’ new daddies were wasteful on the day, but instead of getting frustrated as the team has done in the past, they kept working. Movement off the ball was stellar, and the quick passing between Cassano and Robinho was exciting to watch, and the goal had to come, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, or with a better passing combo to slip Robinho in and bury the goal that may very well make all the difference in the World. Eight points clear at the top, and a superb performance from Abbiati further exemplifies how truly great a season it has been for Milan, Allegri and its keeper.
As good as the result was there was still some sloppy and tired play on the pitch after an exertion of effort midweek against Palermo. Prince was guilty of a bad performance, but he looked sluggish and Allegri’s inclusion of Urby who seemed to have zero tactical direction and popping up everywhere in the attacking third. This worked in Milan’s favor as Brescia were consistently forced to chase, can't really figure out why Allegri didn't move Urby to LM and Seedorf to CAM but this is hindsight and clearly it worked Max's favor. With Robinho closer to goal, and the out and out striker, his work rate was missed in the middle of the park, giving Brescia some space to attack. Still Milan did well to contain, and you can see the drop off in balance with Flamini’s tactical deficiencies, but Allegri didn’t hesitate to add Ambro to the mix and lock down the middle. Just a shame the team is getting healthy so close to the end of the season, but leaves a fair bit of promise for next season.
Next week a visit from a Bologna and if all goes according to plan, a celebration may be in order, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves already. I am an eternal skeptic, and probably always will be, and until this Title is mathematically sealed I won’t be jinxing anything, but man this thing is so close I am can almost feel it! The buzz is mounting and our patient wait may finally be over.
For those of you who can’t get enough Milan, check out the guest post today from our very own mlisi39 at Jovan and Elaine's Milan Obsession Blog.