“We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” - Marcel Proust
Maybe so Mr. Proust, but wouldn’t it be nice to have been able to relax for one weekend?
Unfortunately, if you’re an AC Milan fan, then you don’t have the luxury of ‘relaxing’.
The AC Milan Women beat Orobica Bergamo 1-0, after what was a surprisingly hard-fought match.
Milan did what it, unfortunately, does in games against the ‘smaller’ Serie A teams: they made a complete meal of this game.
It didn’t help, of course, that coach Maurizio Ganz thought that this would be the perfect time to experiment with the Rossonere’s line-up.
#SerieAFemminile | #OrobicaMilan— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 25, 2020
La formazione ufficiale delle rossonere ⚫️#FollowTheRossonere #SempreMilan@BioscalinITA pic.twitter.com/LLgy5wVmg7
In particular, he chose to move Nora Heroum, who is normally a central midfielder, to left-back, in order to give Linda Tucceri Cimini, who normally occupies the position, a rest. In addition to this, he chose to rest starting centre-back Stine Hovland and play Francesca Vitale, who has been filling in as a make-shift right-back this season, in her place.
The experiment had mixed results.
Though Milan had the majority of possession and shots on target, they struggled to breakdown the lowly side from Bergamo. The previously mentioned experimentation with the line-up, along with starting Milan’s two newest signings (Berglind Björg Thorvaldsdóttir and Pamela Begič) meant that the players were not only having to deal with the awkwardness of being played out of position but also had to deal with adjusting to new teammates, and new teammates adjusting to the team.
The team still lacks the prescience and the chemistry needed to be dominant in the middle of the park.
Physical fitness was also an issue as once again, the team looked gassed after their victory against Roma. This was perhaps one of the many reasons why they were unable to score, despite the many chances they created out for themselves.
There weren’t many bright spots during the first half of the game, but Francesca Vitale deserves a special mention for being one of the few highlights. Francesca had a stormer of a match, as she was outstanding as a centre-back. Vitale proved to be formidable alongside stalwart defender Laura Fusetti, as she made quite a few crucial interceptions, contributed to the link-up play, and dribbled around her opponents with ease.
However, as good as Francesca was, it was someone else who ultimately saved the Rossonere.
Let Us Have A Grand Finale
The game itself just plodded along for over an hour or so and didn’t spring into life for the Rossonere, until Maurizio Ganz finally made a few key substitutions. The first of which, was when he substituted in Linda Tucceri Cimini for Marta Carissimi at the 63rd minute. It was this, coupled with the entrance of Sara Tamborini in place of Sandra Žigić at the 77th minute, that proved to be crucial for Milan. Tucceri’s speed and crossing ability, combined with Tamborini’s velocity and technical ability, allowed the game to be swung back in Milan’s favor. It would ultimately pay off at the 88th minute after captain Valentina Giacinti’s parried shot was turned in by none other than Dominika Čonč.
Dominika has repeatedly shown that she’s a big game player who will step up in the crucial matches. Just like in the matches against Juventus and in the derby against Inter, Dominika dominated and stepped up when we needed her the most.
Cue much celebration from the Milanisti afterward, along with the drive to build a statue in her honor.
Our hopes and dreams of making next season’s Champions League are still alive, and it’s all thanks to her.
Despite how arduous and unpleasant the game was, there were, fortunately, a few standouts from the team. First and foremost, there was the previously mentioned Francesca Vitale.
Though Francesca has been doing just fine as an improvised right-back, she absolutely shone as a centrale. It’s the position she originally played in before Ganz asked her to fill in for the injured Federica Rizza. With this performance, Francesca just reminded us of why she’s one of the best defenders in the country.
The way she dribbled around her opponents was hypnotic.
She also made a few crucial interventions too, including this vital header away from goal.
It was then followed up by another save less than a few seconds later.
Francesca was outstanding at the back as she complimented her fellow defender and mainstay, Laura Fusetti. Fusetti herself also had a wonderful game and made a few vital interceptions as well.
Milan TV’s match commentator made a strong declaration that Laura was actually the best centre-back in Italy. Though there are others who might disagree (especially if they’re fond of wearing black and white), given the way she’s performed during these past two games, it’s kind of hard to argue otherwise.
It should also be noted that Fusetti will, unfortunately, miss the first leg of the Coppa Italia tie against Fiorentina in February.
However, given the way Francesca Vitale has been playing as of late, the Milanisti will have a bit more confidence going into the tie, knowing that Francesca will be there in Laura’s place. She’s been the revelation of the season, and here’s to hoping she’ll continue her fine form.
The After Party
After this victory, Milan are currently third on the Serie A table. However, they do have a game in hand, and a chance to leapfrog past AS Roma in the standings.
Milan will play their previously postponed match against Pink Bari on Wednesday, January 29th at 12 p.m CEST.
You can watch the highlights of the match against Orobica down below (and relive all of the sufferings too).
Here’s to hoping their next match against Pink Bari will also be a bit better, and that we won’t have to suffer nearly as much for a win.
Andiamo a prendere i tre punti ragazze!