Sampdoria 2-1 Milan: Cassano & Pazzini Sink the Rossoneri Boat (Serie A Matchday 26)

Sampdoria 2-1 Milan: Cassano & Pazzini Sink the Rossoneri Boat (Serie A Matchday 26)

February just isn’t AC Milan‘s month. With the exception of a (valuable, but unconvincing) victory obtained against Cagliari, the Rossoneri’s performances since their 3-0 thumping of Lazio have been punctuated by mediocrity. They tied to Reggina, lost the Derby della Madonnina to Inter, and got eliminated from the UEFA Cup. Sunday’s match against Sampdoria marks the latest day of a very rainy month for Carlo Ancelotti, his team decimated by injuries and persecuted by fate.

As for the Blucerchiati, perhaps getting rid of European cup engagements was not such a bad thing. Well rested after skipping their mid-week fixture, Cassano & Pazzini were in fine form to provide the winning goals for their team today.

Serie A 2008-09 - Sampdoria vs. Milan

Serie A 2008-09 - Day 26 - Sampdoria 2-1 Milan

Before the match started, there are rumours “thumping noises” could be heard from the AC Milan changing room. My guess? That was Ancelotti’s head banging against the wall, asking himself who on Earth he should field today. In addition to Kaká, Gattuso, Nesta, Borriello, Kaladze and Ronaldinho, the Rossoneri’s latest arrival to the “injured” category was Massimo Ambrosini, courtesy of Werder Bremen mid-week. And with Clarence Seedorf already in precarious condition, the prospect of losing any more players closely resembled the “nightmare scenario”.

Sampdoria's Paolo Sammarco (L) skips past Milan's Daniele Bonera. March 1, 2009.

Thus, was it really so surprising to see the home team struggling in the first 45 minutes? Ancelotti had chosen to field Alexandre Pato lone striker: a common tactic at Milanello but which is usually coupled with the presence of complementing players (read: Kaká). Indeed without adequate support, Pato’s plays simply emphasized the “lone” part of his field position, especially given than Lucchini & Accardi were following the young Brazilian everywhere he went. As a result even Beckham’s usual supply of crosses was ineffective today, with the only actual chance Milan could muster being an isolated Mathieu Flamini effort (saved).

And need we mention the Rossoneri’s customary inability to defend dead-ball situations? On one such play the ball was sent forward towards Raggi, whose re-directed deflection found the header of Antonio Cassano for the winning touch. Abbiati seemingly saved the ball on the line (replays showed that he didn’t), the goal stood despite Milan protests and it was 1-0 Sampdoria at the half.

Sampdoria's Giampaolo Pazzini (L) shoots to score in front of Milan's Philippe Senderos and Daniele Bonera (R). March 1, 2009.

Milan’s reaction in the second half was raging, more in the intention than the results however. Ancelotti decided for the upteenth time to play the Pippo Inzaghi card (thus reverting to a 4-3-1-2 formation, Jankulovski dropping back to left-back) but even that changed little to the match’s equation. In fact just 6 minutes had passed when Cassano found a penetrating pass for Giampaolo Pazzini, who then proceeded to make a fool out of Bonera (fake-shot) before slamming the ball into the far corner of the goal. 2-0 Sampdoria in style.

It seemed as this match was as good as buried for Milan. Instead, the eternal personal effort of Pato (headed goal on a Favalli left-wing cross, 2-1) opened the possibilities for a dramatic last-minute come-back. Which promptly arrived five minutes later through Emerson (on for Beckham), skilled to deflect a long-range Pirlo free-kick into the side netting. The problem? Offside, and thus no cigar for the Rossoneri. Who just can’t seem to get a break lately.

AC Milan English midfielder David Beckham reacts during a Serie A soccer match between Sampdoria and AC Milan, at the Luigi Ferraris stadium, in Genoa, Italy, Sunday, March 1, 2009.  (AP Photo)


 U.C. Sampdoria
[Match Highlights]
 AC Milan
GOALSCORERS: 33’ Cassano (S), 51’ Pazzini (S), 80’ Pato (M).
SAMPDORIA (3-5-2): Castellazzi – Raggi (71’ Gastaldello), Lucchini, Accardi – Stankevicius (84’ Ma.Padalino), Sammarco, Palombo, Franceschini, Pieri – Pazzini, Cassano (87’ Marilungo) (bench: Mirante, Ziegler, Da Costa, Dessena). Coach: Mazzarri
MILAN (4-4-1-1): Abbiati – Antonini (46’ F.Inzaghi ), Bonera, Senderos, Zambrotta – Beckham (68’ Emerson), Flamini, Pirlo, Jankulovski (55’ Favalli) – Seedorf – Pato (bench: Dida, Maldini, Cardacio, Shevchenko). Coach: Ancelotti.


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Posted in Milan, Sampdoria, Serie A |

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