Gino De Blasio was like most fans last night, fearing the worst for his beloved AC Milan team against Barcelona. He also jinxed a young man who could have won a million. He’s a little apologetic this morning.
By Gino De Blasio – @ginodb
“I have something to show you,” said Steve. It was fifteen minutes before the big kick off yesterday evening.
“Look at this!” as he held up his iPhone and showed me a picture of his Twitter account. A man had played a free bet; until yesterday evening he had predicted 6 out of 8 results correctly. “All he needs is the Schalke result to finish 1 – 1 and Milan to lose 2 – 0 and he wins £1 million pounds”.
“I hope that doesn’t happen.” was all I could muster. Deep down inside though, I was convinced that young man was going to be a millionaire and I was going to be weeping in my beer.
History and form has dictated to me that Barcelona are currently the best team in club football; Milan are anything but. Don’t forget, this was “year 0″ for Milan. 13 massive departures in the summer, a lack of major experience in the squad and now they had to face a team that in the last eight games had scored 20 goals.
Seeking refugee in Twitter, fellow Milanisti weren’t confident. “Let’s throw this and focus on the derby game,” was the rallying cry of most if not all. I’m glad Max Allegri doesn’t read my Twitter feed, prozac sales may have increased exponentially.
Last night was a combination of positive thinking, game planning and facing a poor Barcelona team – the first two variables which the manager and players can control. The later, excuses about the pitch or game tactics could potentially be used to explain performance.
But Barcelona were subdued, Lionel Messi was a shadow of anything we’ve become accustomed to. Pundits and plaudits would be quick to analyse how he wasn’t man marked but pack marked, rarely ever escaping the persistent chasing of three red and black shirts. Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets, ineffective for most of the match, not being allowed close to the 25-yard line to execute those silky passes. Pique was rattled after the first goal, getting booked for protesting an inadvertent hand ball and Puyol a bleeding hero seemed out of sorts as well.
Milan however could count on bad hair styles, and, effective game planning. Most of the credit must be given to Allegri for the latter though. He’s not only faced criticism from his club president saying “He doesn’t understand anything,” to “Milan should play with 2 up front and man mark Messi.” He apparently chose to ignore both recommendations. Messi, as discussed, was nullified by three players every time and Allegri continued with his three players up front, just a variation of the usual Serie A performances.
Allegri, if anything, needs to be praised for the mental preparation he brought to the squad. Milan were positive, the players looked focus, they were prepared. Muntari commented: “Allegri was the best player for us tonight. He laid out the perfect plan and instilled the discipline”.
The tie is far from over, Milan must not get carried away. As far as performances go, they should treasure that result and look to get that precious away goal. Don’t expect the same Barcelona performance at the Nou Camp, the Blaugrana know better than most how to win at home.
As for the young gentleman that I feel I kind of jinxed last night, an apology is due. It’s not every day you get to nearly become a millionaire, and I’m sorry that I cursed you before the game. But it’s not every day Milan get to beat one of the best teams the world has ever seen. Anyway, 7 out of 8 isn’t that bad, is it?
How many of you backed Milan last night? Or were you like the rest and fancied a Barcelona win? Tweet us @talkingbaws or comment below.