On the one hand: Yay, we won!
On the other: Valentina Giacinti had to be carried off the grounds on a stretcher around the 78th minute, and then carted away in an ambulance to a nearby hospital.
The fact of which, cast a dark cloud over our celebrations, and left us all very upset and worried (and justifiably so).
Other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
Milan actually started off the game pretty brightly, and from the get go. They pretty much camped out in the Tavagnacco half, and launched wave after wave of attack against the gialloblu side. However, they couldn’t convert their many chances, and that was best personified by Bergamaschi, whose shot on goal looked like it was clearly going in ... until it bounced off of the pole.
She was frustrated, and we were all frustrated too (evident by the scream that emitted from my throat when I saw this).
The breakthrough would finally come at the 34th minute, and it would not come from any of the Milan players, but thanks to an own goal by Kunisawa, who was generous enough to turn in Valentina Giacinti’s (assist?) shot on goal, into the back of her own net.
Milan would carry that advantage into the second half, but unfortunately, left their intensity behind in the first. The second half was characterized by slower play, and Milan overhitting their passes, as corner kicks and crosses into the box flew over the heads of the Rossonere, as the players would hit those balls a little too hard.
And it was then that one of the weaknesses of this Milan side had become apparent, as they have no designated corner taker, or someone who can hit those accurate free kicks. Oh, how I wish there was a Valentina Cernoia for this Milan side (or, better yet, now I kind of wish that Manuela had never left us).
I wish I could say that Milan being underwhelming in the second half was the worst of it, but it wasn’t.
At around the 76th minute, Valentina Giacinti went down after an apparently, brutal fall where she bent her neck, and landed on her head. Her squadmate, Linda Tucceri Cimeni, ran onto the field with a medical bag and tried her best to help the situation, despite having no background in medicine whatsoever. It was a touching moment as she tried her best to help her friend and teammate, even if she really couldn’t do much.
She was just as helpless in the situation as the rest of us.
However, Linda’s actions were understandable, as the initial ambulance called onto the scene was for some odd reason, under equipped, and the ambulance that did have the proper equipment took too long to get there. The players and the staff were all justifiably upset, and all crowded onto the pitch in an attempt to get them to hurry up.
This was simply inexcusable, and we’re all very fortunate that no serious injuries occurred as a result of this.
Valentina was later carried off the field on a stretcher, and driven to a nearby hospital in an ambulance.
The rest of the second half was a blur, but I do remember being irritated that Milan couldn’t capitalize on their 10 women advantage, as Tavagnacco’s Veritti had been expelled from the game, prior to this event (at the 41st minute). Fortunately, the irritation would eventually be soothed by the balm of a late goal, thanks to Marta Carissimi, who turned in Tucceri’s cross at the 93rd minute.
(And it should be noted, that Marta also came on as a replacement for the injured Valentina Giacinti as well.)
So, Milan finished the game with all three points, and are still on top of the Serie A table thanks to a 10+ goal differential. They were unconvincing during this game, but one must take into account how the derby against Inter must have left them spent, both physically and emotionally, and it showed.
Inter will once again, be in action as they take on Juve this Sunday, in what will be the first ever Derby d’Italia between the women. The results of that game will determine whether or not Milan will remain at the top of the table.
Milan, on the other hand, won’t be in action until Saturday, November 2nd. They’ll take on Fiorentina then, including their temperamental and talented talisman, Alia Guagni. The only comfort I get from this, is that Fiorentina hasn’t been in great form either, as they barely beat Sassuolo 2-1 today (and that’s on top of a loss to Roma earlier in the season as well).
As I noted before, there’s a real prospect of Milan dropping points at this stage of the season, and their upcoming, tough set of fixtures (against Fiorentina and Juve respectively), might make this a real possibility. However, they should find strength in the fact that they’ve passed their two toughest challenges so far - in Inter and Roma respectively - and came out clearly on top of both of them. This victory over Tavagnacco should also give them the extra boost of confidence they’ll need, as this win has ensured that they currently remain undefeated in the league. And most importantly, this should remind them that they have the ability to face whatever challenges will come their way head on, and to beat them too.
But for now, let’s just enjoy the moment and revel in this victory, and the fact that one of the Milan sides is currently getting it right.
And most importantly, let’s all be thankful that our Capitano appears to be fine after that initial scare.
Valentina Giacinti sta meglio e gli esami hanno dato esito negativo. Il capitano delle rossonere ringrazia tutti i tifosi per la loro vicinanza! ⚫— AC Milan (@acmilan) October 19, 2019
Thank whatever deities you pray to for this, and supplicate yourselves in hopes that we take all three points against Fiorentina too.