AS Roma 2-1 AC Milan: Three Minutes of Giallorossi Magic Sink the Best AC Milan of the Season (Serie A Matchday 28)

Roma vs. Milan (Serie A)

Serie ANow, don’t tell Roberto Mancini this but… his week just keeps getting worse. After derailing from the European highway on Tuesday (coupled with the embarassing “I quit” post-match moment, followed by the “Never mind, I’m staying” recanting just a day later), Mancio’ll be back driving his beautiful Porsche 911 Carrera on the Serie A interstate Sunday. Only, if he takes a closer look in his rear-view mirror, he’ll notice Luciano Spalletti‘s Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder is an awful lot closer. 3 car lengths to be exact, a distance which may very well signify “the race is back ON!” should the Inter motor run out of gas vs. Udinese today. But have I said too much already? :)

To go back to matters at hand here (you know, the AS Roma vs. AC Milan match report which I sort of brushed to the side, in order to offer you this sportscar-themed introduction), Roma were at a crossroads today (wait did I just write another automobile metaphor?), as these are the matches that count. On one side: glory, respect, concrete evidence that faced with a tough opponent (like AC Milan) the Giallorossi could step it up and bring home the victory, a victory which would keep this Scudetto race very much alive and put all the pressure on Inter for their match vs. Udinese on Sunday. On the other side: disappointment, momentum killer, and the end of the race once again.

Now despite playing inferiorly to their opponents for a large portion of the match, the Giallorossi took the right road today. AC Milan put in their best performance of the season, went ahead first through their talismanic star Kaká, but were then forced to raise the white flag 10 minutes from the end. Striking through Ludovic Giuly and Mirko Vucinic, a simple 3 minutes of Roma brilliance brought AC Milan down to their knees and re-ignited the Serie A race to glory.

Mirko Vucinic (left) and Daniele De Rossi celebrate the 2-1 scoreline

Serie A Matchday 28 - Roma 2-1 Milan

Note: given the limited time I have available this week-end, for this one I’ll offer you the freshly-baked match report from the English Gazzetta site (pasted below and slightly modified). Which is great, because the report’s well-written and it’s a good way to further publicize the launch of their new website. :) Enjoy.

The two captains of the night: Paolo Maldini (left) and Francesco TottiTactically, with Philippe Mexes forced out of action, Christian Panucci took the French center-back’s place at the heart of the Roma defence. Other changes for Spalletti included the more experienced David Pizarro and Amantino Mancini for Alberto Aquilani and Mirko Vucinic. The Giallorossi were up against an A.C. Milan side with an exceptional away record: 27 points this season, more than either Inter Milan or Roma. In addition, Rossoneri coach Carlo Ancelotti could once again call upon the services of Clarence Seedorf and Gennaro Gattuso, the beauty and the beast of a Milan side that started with only one change compared to expectations: Giuseppe Favalli for Daniele Bonera.

History will have little to say about a dull first half. For 45 minutes the match was a tactical stalemate, low in tempo and with few highlights. What little action there was mainly emanated from a Milan side showing a great deal more enterprise than their hosts: there were even occasional glimpses of the Rossoneri’s true class, something which sort of got lost during their last Champions League match.

Clarence Seedorf, age 31A summary of the half is necessarily brief: Mançini tried an acrobatic scissor-kick for Roma, Kaká replied with a weak header one-on-one with Doni, and Totti mis-hit a diagonal effort that he would usually put away with style. The visitors had problems delivering the ball in the final third, which partly goes to the merit of the Roma defenders, very quick in dealing with any kind danger presented itself. Christian Panucci in particular was unflinching: probably the best player on the pitch tonight, together with Clarence Seedorf, whose elegant skills are so essential to this AC Milan team (is it a coincidence that Milan played so badly vs. Arsenal while he was absent?).

Speaking of Seedorf, did I mention the Dutchman was at the heart of every good play Milan created? Taking men on, getting shots in and generally pulling the strings of playmaking (a task usually jointly shared with Kaká and Pirlo), the ex-Real Madrid midfielder played Kaká in on goal at the start of the second half, but Doni was up to the task to neutralize the danger. 3 minutes later, Seedorf took responsibility himself and forced the Roma keeper into a fine save, exploiting a good feed from Favalli. At this point, the game was all AC Milan.

Oddo was making inroads down the right, and it was he who created the visitors’ 56th minute goal when he found Kaká inside the area: the World Footballer of the Year made no mistake with a scorching left-footed finish that Doni could do nothing about. 1-0 Milan

Kaká scores the goal putting AC Milan in the leadJust 3 minutes after the game opener, Milan were back at it: Alexandre Pato found Seedorf free in the middle, but a wonderful opportunity to put his side two up went begging when Doni rushed out, and the Dutchman’s first touch let him down (allowing Cicinho to clear on the line). Kaká also had a chance in minute 65, but his shot was deflected wide by Doni. The home side were struggling: it was time to ring the changes.

Before that however, it was Ancelotti’s turn with a rather unhappy substitution: the Milan manager was forced to swap Emerson for Seedorf, as the Dutch midfielder was suffering from a slight muscle strain. Facing off against his old teammates, the Brazilian DM strengthened the visitors’ midfield, but the Rossoneri’s offensive motor began to sputter after Seedorf’s exit, since the Dutchman had had been their main attacking outlet for much of the night. As for Roma, Luciano Spalletti decided to bring in Vucinic and Giuly (on for Mancini and Pizarro), followed by Taddei for Aquilani. No changes would be end up being more spot-on.

Ludovic Giuly’s spectacular effort ties the game for RomaThe hosts began to ramp up the pressure and Spalletti’s substitutions were fully vindicated in a three-minute scoring spree: first Ludovic Giuly equalised after 78 minutes (exploiting a Perrotta cross after a Milan defensive mix-up, and finishing in style with a scissor-kick), then the irrepressible Mirko Vucinic found the net from a Daniele De Rossi through ball (catching the Milan back-line completely unprepared). 1-1 and 2-1 Roma in quick succession.

It was a fantastic comeback that demonstrated the Giallorossi’s mental strength, while Milan’s disappointment was compounded when they lost Kaká to a back problem. His substitute Alberto Paloschi just failed to earn his side a point at the death, from a pass deflected by Alberto Gilardino. For once however, Roma can proudly say (much like Inter many times this season): “We played badly, and we took home 3 points anyway“. Inter now have someone breathing down their necks… could the Serie A get really interesting now, once again?

Alexandre Pato shows his disappointment at the end of the match


A.S. Roma
[Match Highlights]
A.C. Milan
GOALSCORERS: 56’ Kaká (M), 78’ Giuly (R), 81’ Vucinic (R)
ROMA (4-2-3-1): Doni – Cicinho, Juan, Panucci, Tonetto – De Rossi, D.Pizarro (62’ Giuly) – Taddei (73’ Aquilani), Perrotta, Mancini (55’ Vucinic) – Totti. (bench: Curci, Ferrari, Brighi, Antunes). Coach: Spalletti.
MILAN (4-3-2-1): Kalac – Oddo, Maldini, Kaladze, Favalli – Gattuso, Pirlo, Ambrosini (85’ Gilardino) – Kaká (88’ Paloschi), Seedorf (73’ Emerson) – Pato. (bench: Fiori, Bonera, Simic, Brocchi.). Coach: Ancelotti.


Posted in Milan, Roma, Serie A |

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  • 3 Responses to “AS Roma 2-1 AC Milan: Three Minutes of Giallorossi Magic Sink the Best AC Milan of the Season (Serie A Matchday 28)”

    1. Anna Italia says:

      Ciao Marco! What should I say about Milan’s defeat? NOTHING. They don’t have any excuse. Once again it showed that Milan is relying mostly on KAKA, PIRLO, and Gattuso. Our strikers are not that sharp. Players are tired. Roma showed the drive at the end of the match in less than 5 minutes which reminded me of those tragic “6 minutes of follia” against Liverpool when losing at the end!

      By the way, I understand about having limited of time to keep a blog. I try my best with my blog too. Gee, would like to have more time to update. :)

      All the best!

    2. Well Anna, Milan are pretty much forced on relying on their midfielders, since their 4-3-2-1 formation involves only one striker and Kaká and Seedorf doing most of the work.

      On this one though, they really did the best they could. Like many outside media sources states, this was one of the best AC Milan games of the entire year. Obviously, they needed to maintain their concentration for the whole 90… they didn’t, and Roma punished them for it.

      For Serie A this is good though, because it keeps the Scudetto race alive. ;)

    3. Anna Italia says:

      Ciao Marco, I agree that for the Serie A it is good to keep the race for the Scudetto. However, I think Ancelotti should use more a 4-4-formation to create more chances. This Christmas tree formation 4-3-2-1 works but not always. Let’s see what happens on Wednesday… gee… gotta run to prepare my review :)