What should have been a routine match for Milan proved to be a nightmare, as the 10-men Rossoneri fell on the road to Genoa 1-0 Sunday.
Genoa controlled the possession and had the better of the chances (early on, at least) from the start. Belgium Dzemali's deflected free-kick goal was enough to get the struggling hosts the three points.
What in the world was Milan's first half performance? The first half against Fiorentina was awful, but Sunday's may have been worse. Genoa is one of Serie A's worst sides this season, yet it made a mockery of Milan. The hosts dominated possession and were the more creative team going forward. They got the reward of a deflected goal off a free kick 10 minutes in. It was unfortunate for Milan, but the Rossoneri dug their own grave early.
Things went from bad to worse after the goal. Milan looked like it shut down. There was no indication the squad was trying to rectify the situation. Alessio Romagnoli was sent off in the 42nd minute, forcing Sinisa Mihajlovic to deploy Rodrigo Ely before halftime.
Nigel De Jong was the player sacrificed for Ely, which was another curious decision by Mihajlovic. His substitutions have been puzzling at times, and while Ely's entrance was necessary, why would De Jong replace his most reliable midfield? Riccardo Montolivo was off in his own little world for most of the match. His departure would have been less of a hit for Milan.
Milan looked better in the second half, but could not take advantage of its chances. No chance was better in the first 25 minutes of the half than Andrea Bertolacci's point-blank followup, which deflected off a Genoa player about six yards away from a potentially-open goal. Mario Balotelli pressed the issue, and Luiz Adriano was dangerous, on a couple of his runs.
As the second half wore on, Milan tried to do too much. The chances dried up, the foul count rose and Genoa was able to maintain steady possession of the football. When Carols Bacca came in and made an interception in the midfield, he turned to start a counter attack, only to see the next highest player was Juraj Kucka. Balotelli and Adriano had to track more after Romagnoli's red card, but they need to be in better possessions to get out on the break when down a goal with seven minutes to play.
The golden chance of the game presented itself to Milan four minutes from time, when Kucka made an uncontested run into the box. He collected the ball on a layoff and had all the room in the world to shoot from 15 yards out, but the former Genoa man put the ball over the crossbar. The finishing has to be better, especially in that situation. Chuck had plenty of space for another touch and most of the goal to shoot at. There is no excuse for that miss not being an equalizing goal.
The early-season struggles continue for Milan. Even in victory, the Rossoneri have looked questionable at best. With the additions Milan made this summer, there is no reason Milan should be sitting on nine points through six matches.