You know how at the beginning of a new season for a TV show, that the show will always recap what happened last season, then continue with the plot of last season’s finale?
Well, think of the AC Milan Women as being a television serial too. Or better yet, think of them as being a prime time drama, complete with all of the melodrama, incomprehensible plot twists, and all.
And whoever is writing the script for Milan has decided to pick up where the team left off. Consistency is good, I guess, but at the same time, can someone switch up the script?
Because I, for once, would like to not have to suffer so much while watching one of their games (please?!)
There was the match itself. Milan played virtually the same way for 90+ minutes: They dominated possession, got behind Florentia’s defense, had more corners and shots on target, yet couldn’t finish most of their chances.
Therefore, both halves were virtually the same, and all halves look alike too.
The only difference between the two was that Miriam Longo scored in the first half, while the introduction of Sara Tamborini changed the tempo of the second half (‘56). Tamborini’s entrance gave Milan the vital spark of life they needed to revitalize their attack, but alas, she might have come on too little too late.
In the end, Milan managed to win the game with a single, solitary goal. Most teams usually celebrate their first victory of the season. The fact that none of the Milan Women posted pics or vids of themselves celebrating after the match is quite telling.
They realized that they could do much better than this, and will strive to do so in upcoming games.
The Longo(est) Yard
While the team missed nineteen other shots, they did manage to convert the one, and it was converted by previously mentioned Longo.
The midfielder broke the deadlock with her goal and Milan also won the game with it.
Unfortunately, Longo’s victory may have been a Pyrrhic one. Shortly after she scored, she managed to injure herself while celebrating with her teammate, Caroline Rask.
The moment could best be encapsulated by the sweat emoji (and too bad I can’t use it here).
Longo had been recovering from a shoulder injury and may have acerbated it with a high five.
Caroline Rask (who may have caused Longo’s injury), was then substituted into the match in her place. If any good came out of this, it’s that it allowed Rask to make her debut.
Rask helped Milan see out the match and was one of the standout performers of the game as well.
The midfielder’s debut was one of the few silver linings in a stormy cloud.
The New Kids Have a Hard Time Fitting In
While some of Milan’s news players fared well during this match, others did not.
New signings Laura Agard and Caroline Rask both played great games and soundly demonstrated their quality and experience.
In contrast, fellow newcomer Christy Grimshaw struggled in the role of a trequartista. As a result, she was substituted out of the match at the 56th minute. She was then replaced by Sara Tamborini, whose entry changed the tempo for Milan on the pitch. The attack became more dynamic with Tamborini sitting behind the forwards.
Speaking of the forwards, newcomer Natasha Dowie struggled during this game. The interplay between her and Giacinti left much to be desired, as the two of them insisted on taking shots rather than passing the ball to one another.
This was part of the reason why Milan could only score one goal, despite the many chances that came their way.
It would be a folly to write the two of them off so quickly, however. This is the first time the team has played a competitive match together. They need time to build chemistry and understanding with one another as they try to build an effective strike partnership.
This is also the first time mainly of the players have played in Italy, and they’ll have to get used to playing in Serie A.
Things like this will come over time. For now, one must have patience and not write off the new signings so quickly.
As per Footystats, Milan had the majority of possession during this game, as they had the ball 60% of the time. They also had four corners and registered twenty shots.
And yet, they could only convert one shot on target. The team also committed fifteen fouls and had four offsides too.
These are things that need to be addressed and worked on within the next few days.
The Commendable Čonč
Dominika Čonč was one of Milan’s best players during this match. The midfielder was instrumental for Milan during this game as she made decisive passes and won the ball back in midfield.
Čonč’s only flaw was that she couldn’t convert her chances. Other than that, she was solid throughout this match and proved her worth for the team.
The Indomitable Fusetti
Laura Fusetti is one of Milan’s most important players and no more was that evident than during this match.
The defender made several crucial interventions for the team and allowed them to keep a clean sheet.
She is the glue that holds our backline together, and we should all be grateful she plays for us.
The Coach’s Words
In an interview with Milan TV, coach Maurizio Ganz didn’t mince words about the team’s performance.
“We know that the first match of the season is always the most difficult [one]. We saw a fairly slow game, with lots of inaccuracies, wrong moves, and the inability to finish in front of (the opposition’s) goalkeeper. We have to be able to play better and to play together because it seemed to me that everyone was just playing for themselves. There are still so many things to work on.”
“[...] Today’s performance was subdued in many ways. I feel sorry for Miriam Longo, who got hurt, but up until that moment she was having a great game. We have to work hard during the week, to try to change something, to try to play together, and to try to [learn to] finish off the game, without missing 7-8 chances.”
His words summed everything up perfectly.
The Takeaway From All This
This is Milan’s first competitive match of the season. Before this, they only had one game together as a side and it was a friendly with the Ajax Vrouwen. The team has not had much time to find the right chemistry together. Many of the players are also new to Italian football and will need time to adjust to the country and the league.
It is, however, understandable that people are worried about repeating the mistakes of the past. Nevertheless, let’s just wait a little bit longer before making pronounced judgments about the team.
We won’t be able to make a full assessment of the team until the season ends. Until then, there’s plenty of time for the team to gel together and improve as the season progresses.
We must note that before the match began, the Milan Women all took a knee before kickoff. They did so in support of Black Lives Matter.
The AC Milan men also showed their support for the movement by donning t-shirts with the phrase on them. Now, the women are also showing support for the cause.
Milan is also the first and only team in Italy to have taken a knee (in a match) for Black Lives Matter too.
Even if Milan frustrates us greatly, gestures like this are why we love them.
Milan will play San Marino this Sunday, August 30th.
Tune in to see what happens next on the same Bat-Time, and same Bat-Channel.