ANOTFHER GAME, another draw. I’ve gotten used to dropping points, so this match neither saddens nor joys me.
It is what it is. Allegri’s tactics cost us yet another priceless victory. Only some Balotelli magic saved the Rossoneri from yet another embarrassing loss. The 2-2 result puts them tied for 2nd most draws in Serie A, with 6. Still in 8th, they could possibly slip all the way to 12th should results fall a certain way. So without further ado, here is my take on the match!
The first half started out promising. Milan looked threatening, and in the 7th minute, Kaka sent in a pinpoint pass to Mario Balotelli from the edge of the box. The pass itself had a good chance of finding the net, but Balotelli connected and bundled it in for a 1-0 lead. After that however, Milan went back to their old ways, sitting back after scoring. This allowed Livorno to exert pressure. Gabriel was forced into some great saves as one by one Livorno players tried their luck.
Eventually, Livorno’s pressure and Milan’s complacency paid off. After some terrible defending by our center defenturds, Luca Siligardi got to the top of the box, and unleashed a terrific strike that beat Gabriel and tied the game up. Milan sort of woke up after that, and attempted to change the scoreline in their favor. However, Livorno still played on, and the half finished 1-1.
Stephan El Shaarawy was brought in towards the end of the half for the ineffective Valter Birsa. Linked up decently with Balotelli, but was not able to produce anything to write home about. Speaking of Balotelli, he was the subject of many Livorno fouls, some of which were in the penalty box. But due to Balotelli’s acquired reputation of flopping to get penalties, they were not called.
The second half started out like the first one ended. Milan had some chances, Livorno had some chances. Neither team were able to convert, however Livorno looked more threatening. El Shaarawy received a yellow for pulling down a Livorno play near the edge of the box. Then came minute 58. After yet more terrible defending from Christian Zapata, Paulinho was released, and made no mistake firing home at the near post to give Livorno a 2-1 lead. Although Gabriel could and probably should have saved that, blame goes to the incapable defense for allowing Paulinho space. A few minutes later, Niang came on for the disappointing Nocerino.
But still, Milan kept playing as if they were not a goal down against a provincial Serie A side. There were some opportunities for Milan notably a chance for Niang to score his first Serie A goal, but he inexplicably was unable to convert. Around the 80′ mark, Milan started to wake up. Maybe it was the introduction of De Sciglio, but they looked more threatening, and in the 83rd minute, it paid off.
A free kick was won about 30 yards from goal, and Balotelli stepped up to blast a missile of a shot into the back of the net to tie the match up 2-2. After this, Milan started playing a lot better. They pressured Livorno endlessly. Balotelli almost got a hat trick after unleashing a wicked strike that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and bounced back into play. Bardi was absolutely helpless, and had the strike been a bit lower, he would have been unable to do anything about it going into the net. The Rossoneri kept pressing on, but were unable to get the third goal, and the match finished 2-2.
Things to note
Goals: 26′ Siligardi (Sciattarella), 58′ Paulinho (Siligardi) – 7′ Balotelli (Kaka), 83′ Balotelli.
Yellow Cards: 9′ Biagianti, 20′ Coda, 31′ Emerson, 70′ Paulinho, 77′ Mbaye – 53′ El Shaarawy, 90′ Mexes.
Substitutions: 75′ (Siligardi-Greco), 90′ (Duncan-Rinaudo), 90′ (Mbaye-Lambrughi) – 38′ (Birsa-El Shaarawy), 60′ (Nocerino-Niang), 75′ (Poli-de Sciglio).
Man of the Match: Balotelli.
Goal of the Match: Balotelli free kick (goal #2).
Next match: Milan-Roma, December 16, 7:45 pm GMT (2:45 pm Eastern US).
What did you guys think of the match?