MILAN FAILED to get the all important 3 points for the 3rd straight match under new coach Inzaghi after a dismal 1-1 draw at Cesena.
The game started with Milan on the front foot and it would be unlucky for Milan not to open the scoring after midfielder Keisuke Honda found the head of 30-year-old Spainish forward Fernando Torres who’s deflection was not strong enough to beat the Cesena keeper.
The Rossoneri would be punished for this missed opportunity one minute later as Davide Succi puts the host on top. Splitting two defenders, Coppola’s initial shot is parried by keeper Christian Abbiati who spills the ball and Succi follows up from close range. Milan’s defensive woes continue unfortunately.
The 17th minute saw Milan appear to draw level only for forward Jeremy Menez to be ruled offside and the goal wiped off the books. 2 minutes later defender Adil Rami would bring the visitors levels legally from a corner that Honda swung in. Rami used his strength to fight off his marker and head home for the equalizer.
Back and forth from there on out and Milan’s next good chance came in the 31st minute after Menez found teammate Giacomo Bonaventura in the box who should’ve put Milan ahead but instead blazed over the bar from close range. 8 minutes later defender Mattia De Sciglio tore up the left flank and delivered a beautiful cross to Torres who lunged but was unlucky not to make contact and the ball rolled out for a goal kick. Had Torres connected it would have surely been Milan’s second of the afternoon.
Going into the break Milan had been the better team in the first half, attacking methodically and creating a few great chances that should have been converted. Out of the break was the same story as Milan’s quality is too much for Cesena to handle. The 62nd minute saw another opportunity for Torres as Bonaventura finds the forward unmarked in the box but the header is off the mark and over the bar.
Coach Inzaghi decided to roll the dice and substitute Torres for Giampaolo Pazzini in the 71st minute and Michael Essien with Andrea Poli. One minute later Milan would be seeing red as defender Cristian Zapata is unfairly sent off for a challenge in which he made very minimal contact with the attacking player but was certainly the last defender. Inzaghi decided to sacrifice Honda for Brazilian defender Alex to solidify the back four.
Even with 10 men, Milan were still able to get forward and in the 81st minute Bonaventura again tees up a teammate, this time Pazzini, but the striker heads over the bar. That was the clearest cut opportunity for the go-ahead goal all afternoon. The game wound down with no goals from either side and yet another under-achieving performance by Milan this season.
One point of discussion this game is the substitutions that Inzaghi chose to make. Late in the game, with Milan having all of the attacking rhythm that substitution should have been an attacking minded one. Similarly taking off Torres and replacing him with Pazzini who has not had a convincing career at Milan at all is something baffling. How Pazzini is still a Milan player is beyond me.
There are some deep rooted problems in Milan at the moment, some of which are coaching related, others of which are simply hunger of the player’s to do well. It just doesn’t show to me that these players play for each other and for the shirt which they represent.
As always, Forza Milan!