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Frank Tigani On December - 19 - 2010

Milan 0 Roma 1: An Avoidable and Painful Loss

Against Bologna last weekend Milan were rampant as they strolled to a convincing victory. In the match before against Brescia, it was much of the same. In fact, it was almost the same as all three of Milan’s goals against Brescia were scored by the same players that put Bologna to rest too in another rampant display.

But following these two comprehensive victories coach Max Allegri decided to play largely the same team for the dead rubber encounter with Ajax during midweek. This was a mistake.

Milan’s capitulation by the Dutch came not as any great surprise. The likes of Clarence Seedorf, Massimo Ambrosini and Gennaro Gattuso no longer have the legs to play week in week out let alone playing twice a week.

Regardless of Allegri’s instructions prior to the match, these players along with the rest of the side took it upon themselves to have a rest against Ajax. The result made for a mockery of a match. From the outset it was clear Milan had no intention of winning or even making a match of it. Ajax duly took the cue and recorded an impressive victory.

For this match, Allegri should have fielded a team of youth players, who would have taken to the match like it was their chance at the big time as indeed it would have been. Such players would have ensured a much more determined Milan outfit rather than the pathetic display that was witnessed.

More importantly, however, Milan’s first team players that had been so convincing in their previous two outings would have been given a much needed rest ahead of the big match with Roma.

In addition, these players would have been in better shape mentally. A string of positive results and improving performances came to an end against Ajax. The momentum and the confidence of the team was cut short and against a tricky Roma side would Allegri’s men have to try and pick it up again.

Being in first place comes at a cost. Other sides are always that little more motivated to cause an upset. For a Roma side that struggled greatly in the earlier stages of the season, this was a match that presented them with the chance to make a statement about their return to form.

Allegri would have had his team better prepared for the tie with the Romans had he not sent out the same of players against Ajax. Consequently, Milan’s performance may have been a much better, the timing of the player’s runs may have been timelier, and the sharpness of the whole team in general may have been better.

Instead, it was a performance characterised by sloppy passes, wasteful shooting and lack of the cohesion that was so brilliantly evident against Brescia and Bologna.

This said, Roma are a much more formidable outfit than the aforementioned teams, however, this does not absolve Allegri from such criticism.

The one positive that came from this match was that having lost the final match before the winter break, the Milan hierarchy may become more determined to bring in a player or two or even three during the January transfer window. Because despite sitting atop of the standings still and having secured qualification to the next round, this Milan outfit still requires the addition of two or three quality players before they can be regarded as complete.

To finish on an aside, what most painful about this loss was the fact that Marco Borriello scored the winner, though he knew little about it himself. Nonetheless, the Italian will take the plaudits for a strike that was extraordinarily lucky and that sank his former club. Still, it is much better that Borriello is in Rome and not Milan. He is quite possibly the most overrated Italian striker today and if this were 1998, or any other year during the great 1990’s of Italian football, Borriello would hardly be warming the bench of a top side and most likely plying his trade for a lesser club.

  • Jay

    I’ll admit that Borriello’s goal was lucky but a goal is a goal. At least he had enough sense to get into the box and create the chance. He has been one of the few players on Roma who is consistent. I would like to see him score more than one goal every once in a while, but give him time. Milan had so many chances in the first half against Roma’s 3rd choice keeper. Robinho and Ibra underestimated Roma and thought the game was over before it started and they paid for it. Ibra couldn’t even stay onside for one pass. Who was really overrated?

    • Frank Tigani

      I think Ibra has done enough so far this season to prove that he is not overrated. His presence in the side is a major reason why Milan are doing so well. I would not begin to compare him with Borriello who is half the player that Ibra is.

  • Julian

    I really liked the article up until the final paragraph. I feel the assessment of Borriello is rather harsh. Overrated? He has 7 goals for Roma this season in the league alone, only 2 behind the likes of Ibra. Many of his goals have been crucial- this one, his PK against Lazio, his goal against Bayern- all three of which came in big games. Sure he’s no Baggio, Villa, or even Rooney from last season but he is incredibly important to Roma. His workrate is second to none and he’s scored incredible goals of all kinds this seasons- volleys in the CL, from the ground like against the aforementioned Bayern, PKs, etc.

    • Frank

      He is overrated. Like I said, if it was 1999 he would be plying his trade for a lesser side. I will however concede that he has done well this season, though he has not been outstanding. But this concession is only made in light of his limitations rather than his abilities.

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