The AC Milan Women played Hellas Verona to a draw this Sunday. The match ended in a 2-2 tie. The game was a chance for Maurizio Ganz to experiment with his line-up, with Champions League qualification being secured and the Coppa Italia Final in mind. One of the ways he did so, was by fielding a team that was largely comprised of reserves.
Highlights of the match are below.
As was noted before, Ganz fielded a team that was largely comprised of reserves. Starters Valentina Giacinti, Refiloe Jane, and Laura Fusetti were out, with Giorgia Spinelli, Claudia Mauri, and Deborah Salvatore Rinaldi taking their place. In the first five minutes of the match, Yui Hasegawa had a shot on target. Unfortunately, she failed to score the first goal of the game. Instead, it was Hellas Verona who took the lead through Ana Jelenčić (12’), who fired an absolute rocket of a goal from 30 meters out.
And we ain’t even mad. After all, it was a good goal.
The Rossonere, however, did not give in. They clenched their fists and dug their heels in. Natasha Dowie then came close to scoring in the 26th minute. Unfortunately, her header was saved by Francesca Durante with the help of her assistant, the crossbar.
Hasegawa would also be denied by the formidable duo just two minutes later. An equalizer finally arrived in the 38th minute, and it happened after the ball - I kid you not - ping-ponged off of keeper Francesca Durante’s legs. Dowie then pounced on it like a lion on a wildebeest and slotted it home.
It was a rather haphazard goal but I’m sure Natasha isn’t complaining. After all, it was her twelfth goal of the season.
The second half began at a slower pace, with Ganz making two changes at halftime. Alessia Piazza replaced Selena Babb between the sticks and Sara Tamborini replaced the goal-scoring heroine, Dowie. The changes did not affect the Rossonere too much, as they were still in control of the game. After a long spell of possession for Milan, the guests took the lead through Susanna after a swift counter-attack (67’). They did so against the run of play. The score was then 2-1 to Hellas Verona.
Milan, however, did not give up. At around the 70th-minute mark, Vero shifted the ball upfield through the middle, passed it to Yui, who then made a brilliant dummy play for Tamborini. Sara then slotted it home for her second goal of the campaign (73’).
The Rossonere would then see the game through, as Ganz decided to give a few minutes to Julia Šimić, Anita Coda, and Miriam Longo. Longo was a sight for sore eyes, as she had been out for several months and had just returned after recovering from an injury.
And with this game ending in a tie, Milan were able to end the season in second place. They finished with 51 points compared to their nearest competitor, Sassuolo, who finished with 50. They have also dropped points during their last three matches in the league. Though it’s not fun to watch your team drop points, one shouldn’t be alarmed by this. After all, it was the final game of the season after they secured qualification for Europe. The Rossonere were in full senioritis mode here and were ready to play ‘Slow Ride’ while riding off into the sunset.
Instead, one should celebrate the fact that they have done just enough to make this season a successful one.
One must also keep in mind that they have one more game to go, and they can make up for this in a big way by winning that one.
AC Milan decided to be their old selves again as they had the majority of possession. They had 62% of it while Verona had 38%. They also had thirteen shots to the Gialloblu’s seven.
The stats just prove that Milan were the dominant side, despite fielding a group of reserves.
AC Milan will play AS Roma in the Coppa Italia Final on Sunday, May 30th. Kick-off is at 20:30 CET (11:30 am PST / 2:30 PM EST).
A lead-up to the all-important final will be posted within the upcoming days. The game will be a chance for Milan to win their first-ever set of silverware, and they’ll do everything in their power to make it happen.
In the meanwhile, can watch the full replay of the match on the team’s Dailymotion page.
This was a good season, Milanisti, and let us rejoice in the fact that our team did so well.