Milan 1-1 Reggina: Not Even Beckham Can Save Milan as Amaranto Create Stupor (Serie A Matchday 23)

The build-up to the Derby della Madonnina next week-end could not have taken a worse turn for the Rossoneri. Well, in truth Milan could have lost today, that would have probably been worse. But in a night of creativity draught and already fairly damaged back-lines, the prospect of playing against Inter without Kaká (injured) and Bonera (suspended) must not bring happy thoughts to Carlo Ancelotti. Not even if Galliani announces Beckham is dumping the Galaxy this week.

As for Reggina, what can you say about a team who in the span of two weeks managed to steal a point first from AS Roma and then AC Milan? Maybe that their relegation battle isn’t a lost cause.

Tactically, Ancelotti applied squad rotation for this one: Ronaldinho resurfaced from oblivion and occupied the playmaker position behind Pato/Kaká. Yes, it was “Ka-Pa-Ro” all over again, with Flamini dictating the pace of the game (in an improbable vice-Pirlo role) and David Beckham super-confirmee on the right side. On the other end Orlandi put Reggina in 3-5-2 “defensive counter-attack” mode, an expected choice when you’re playing at the San Siro but one which proved surprisingly effective today.

Indeed, with their players constantly closing down their opponents in midfield, the Amaranto were quite content to leave ball possession to Milan and then hit them on the counter, something which Corradi and Di Gennaro were feeling particularly in form for today. In fact, to the (rare & isolated) long-range efforts of Flamini and Jankulovski, Reggina responded in the best possible way: by taking everyone by surprise as well as first lead. Abbiati had one warning shot through Carmona, and that already should have told him something was coming: play continued, the ball eventually circulated to Krajcik-Corradi-Di Gennaro, and the latter fired a left-footed finish from the spot that left the Milan keeper no chance. 1-0 Reggina. San Siro silent.

The Rossoneri tried to react as best they could but it rapidly became obvious this wasn’t their day. Firstly, because Kaká was like a broken bulb. Normally required to shine brightly and lead his troops to the charge with fine touches & accelerations, the Brazilian midfielder was largely uninspired today much like his buddy Alexandre Pato up front. Secondly, because the San Siro grass (what else is new?) was in its usual pitiful state, making it impossible for technical players to shine. And thirdly (but dare we even mention him?).. Ronaldinho. Aside from a good run forward and a few step-overs (followed by a shot off the mark), the 2005 Ballon d’Or winner has seemingly traded the role of Blaugrana inappropriateness for some red & black colours. San Siro couldn’t believe their eyes but the score was 1-0 Reggina at the half.

The second half meant changes for Ancelotti. Forced changes, if the Milan coach wanted to have any hope of turning this game around. Exit Ambrosini & Ronaldinho, enter Seedorf & Inzaghi. The Dutch midfielder immediately left his mark on the game, probably controversially because his winning short-range tap-in was immediately preceded by an (involuntary?) handball call. Karma obviously wasn’t on Milan’s side today, Kaká seeing his first effort leading to Seedorf’s non-goal denied by the woodwork.

Fortunately for the Rossoneri, luck finally smiled on them a bit when a run by Pato inside the Reggina box resulted in Krajcik tackle-from-behind. Cue penalty, cue Kaká from 12 yards, cue goal for Milan. 1-1, and not a minute too soon.

Alas, karma’s really a bitch because good news rapidly turned into bad ones: with 12 minutes left (and just as he was finally picking up pace) Kaká was forced off the field injured, and that was the end of the game right there. For not even Pippo Inzaghi could turn Beckham’s never-ending provision of crosses into goals today, and the Rossoneri were forced to a home draw again (a mere two weeks after their tie to Genoa). In fact Reggina even came close to a 95th minute slap-in-the-face victory goal, a curiling left-footed effort by Bernardo Corradi that shaved the post. Even on a day like today, that would have really been too much for the San Siro faithful.


 AC Milan
[Match Highlights]
Reggina Calcio
GOALSCORERS: 33’ Di Gennaro (R), 67’ pen. Kaká (M).
MILAN (4-3-1-2): Abbiati – Zambrotta, Bonera, Maldini, Jankulovski – Beckham, Flamini, Ambrosini (56’ Seedorf) – Ronaldinho (65’ F.Inzaghi) – Pato, Kaká (78’ Antonini). (bench: Dida, Senderos, Kaladze, Cardacio). Coach: Ancelotti.
REGGINA (3-5-2): Campagnolo – Lanzaro, Valdez, Santos – Krajcik, Carmona, Cozza (90’ Cirillo), Barillà, Costa – Di Gennaro (58’ Sestu), Corradi. (bench: Puggioni, Halfredsson, Rakic, Alvarez, Viola). Coach: Orlandi.


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Posted in Milan, Reggina, Serie A |

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