Wednesday July 8 2020
Unbelievable Milan

It seemed hard to believe Milan would be the pivot of the Scudetto race, but after beating Lazio and Juventus, Vijay Rahaman welcomes the sleeping giant back to centre-stage.

Milan have gone from irrelevance to centre-stage in the Scudetto fight, as in the space of three days they beat both the top two and kept the title race alive. Perhaps even more importantly, they showed just what Stefano Pioli’s team are capable of, even in troubled times.

In three of their last four games, they have come up against Roma, Lazio and on Tuesday night the mighty Juventus, all teams that are much further up the standings than them. Even if two of those games were at San Siro, given the lack of the fans to cheer on their beloved club, whatever ‘home advantage’ would’ve affected proceedings were thrown out the window. Very few gave the sleeping giants a chance to garner any points facing the top two in the league, but they did better than that, they got maximum rewards. It leaves many scratching their heads as to how they needed a stoppage-time own goal versus SPAL to even get a point in Ferrara.

A major reason why the seven times European champions have come back to play with such intensity and drive during these hot summer months in Italy is down to the central midfield duo of Franck Kessie and Ismael Bennacer. The pair seemingly worked on their tactics while in lockdown, as they now move in unison. When one carries the ball forward, the other switches their movement and position on the field to provide an option. When they faced the Bianconeri attackers, they gave a double pivot of protection to the back four.

Ironically, both players have been linked to moves elsewhere during this period which is usually reserved for transfers, but of course play rages on. It seems both midfield generals have found a sense of calm during this time when rumours of a number of aspects of the club have been rife. They kept the away side at bay for the most part in the first half, with the only real threat when Juve had a neat interchange of play which saw former Milan player Gonzalo Higuain force Gigio Donnarumma into a comfortable enough save.

The eight-time defending champions struck twice in the space of a few minutes to at that point take command of this fixture they have dominated over their rivals for years now. Adrien Rabiot, who has almost been the forgotten man of Maurizio Sarri's outfit, rampaged through the home team's defence and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed effort, then Cristiano Ronaldo continued his phenomenal goal-scoring streak with his 21st in 17 games.

The first goal was pure quality, while the second was calamitous defending... No matter how the goals came, Juve were 2-0 up and usually that means it's game over for teams in Italy. Rossoneri fans must have been thinking, here we go again! Let's not forget they have not overcome their rivals from Turin in the league since a Manuel Locatelli screamer back in October 2016.

However, this is a Milan team that in coach Stefano Pioli's words have shown "incredible spirit." At least for now in what seems to be his final month managing the club, the Parma-born coach has improved the mentality of the squad, with them not willing to just lie down and be sacrificial lambs even when faced with the Juventus juggernaut.

On the hour mark, a strange set of events took place which allowed Milan to mount a comeback.

Theo Hernandez’s cross was deflected wide by in-form Ante Rebic, the Croatian was booked for handball, the referee was alerted by the VAR for a possible handball on Juventus captain Leonardo Bonucci. As the replays were being shown Pioli took off Alexis Saelemaekers and brought on Rafael Leao and soon after a penalty was given, which Zlatan Ibrahimovic promptly dispatched.

OK, so maybe just a consolation, right? I mean this is Juventus after all.

What was noticeable was that despite going two goals down, the home side did not panic, did not let their heads drop and most significantly, kept to their game plan that has served them well in recent matches, and it eventually paid off. A pair of quick-fire goals in under two minutes incredibly gave them the lead.

Old fashioned centre-forward play from Ibra to hold up the ball was finished off by Kessie. The Ivorian may not score many goals, but it seems to come at the most opportune time. The go-ahead goal came courtesy of the awareness of Leao to carry on the play after Rebic was fouled and he scored with a deflected effort.

It must be stated in all three goals a certain Hakan Calhanoglu was involved and the Turk's influence just continues to grow and grow on this team. He is finally starting to meet those expectations of wearing the legendary Number 10 shirt of the club.

While Milan’s substitutes provided such positive contributions, Maurizio Sarri took Alex Sandro off the bench and his awful back-pass promptly gifted a fourth goal.

Fans of both clubs and neutrals alike must have been pinching themselves. Did Juve relinquish a two-goal lead? Did Milan score four goals in under 30 minutes? Is Sarri under pressure yet again? Does Pioli deserve more respect? The answer to all those questions is yes, it really happened. Football, it’s a funny old game.

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Have your say...

You deserve every bit of lambasting you received. Irrelevant what The Sun quotes, because it's a trashy tabloid where you read about latest fashion trends and celebrity hookups. A "Page 3 gossip tabloid" shouldn't be your source for footballing news.

As for the pink newspaper, what is their source based on? Their world-class speculation? LOL they change editions as quickly as burgers get flipped during a BBQ.

Have some decency and bring authenticity next time.
on the 11th July, 2020 at 4:38am
Pinturicchio, what is the second image you see on the article? Gazzetta dello Sport. They're quoting Gazzetta dello Sport. Do you see the title of the Gazzetta? That's 2 weeks ago. So Sarri has been under pressure for 6 months, more to my point. You're so concerned with authoritative sources and yet you're here commenting and insulting people. I'm done with these threads. Better a moderated site.
on the 10th July, 2020 at 4:52pm
I still consider milan mediocre there are 5 maybe 6 players who could find themselves in some of the biggest teams in europe. the team is showing character and belief which is what the majority of milan fans want.

it was a good display milan kind of lost they defensive shape early into the second half it was poor defending for ronaldo goal. But to come back the way they did was impressive. Juve still put out a full strength team they probably going to be champions again it was a good result.
on the 9th July, 2020 at 6:40pm
What a terribly managed team AC Milan is. Useless coaches like Filippo Inzaghi get the full season yet good coaches like Allegri, Gattuso and Pioli get let go. It's like the team says "that coach is doing good work and you know what that means, we gotta let him go. find me an ex-milanista that knows nothing about coaching for this job" REMEMBER: not one milan fan went to Casa Milan to greet Pioli - SHAME ON YOU ALL !!
on the 9th July, 2020 at 6:36pm

Both the links you provided - BleacherReport and The Sun fall horrendously short of corroborating your pathetic claims, because:

1) BleacherReport article is at least from before COVID-19, so 6 months old.

2) The Sun - at least try to link to a Football website, not a trashy tabloid which most sane people wouldn't even read when they're on the can.

Seriously, how dumb can you be?
on the 9th July, 2020 at 5:42pm
So, thank you and farewell to Boban, Maldini, Massara and Pioli. The only mistake was firing Gattuso, but Pioli was brought in and steadied the ship. He has earned his chance to start fresh next season, but he won't get it. Now Gazidis is going to bring in Rangnick. German coaches have 0 success in Serie A. I also see they're committed to bringing in Luka Jovic, a 60m flop at Madrid. Sweet. Here we go again. Here's to 6th place next season and without an AC Milan soul. Prost.
on the 9th July, 2020 at 5:00pm
Just cos AC MILAN beat LAZIO AND JUVENTUS it doesn't mean they will become a top team. Let's see next season who the current manager is etc. They will need maximum 3-4 years to challenge Scudetto unless they invest BIG soon etc
on the 9th July, 2020 at 4:55pm
on the 9th July, 2020 at 3:41pm

You can't even write properly yet you call people dumb. Oh the irony!

It's YOU"RE DUMB. Not your dumb. LMAO
on the 9th July, 2020 at 12:01pm
Juve made Milan look much better than they actually are. You can't go 2 up and then lose 4-2! What happend to that little thing called game management?? The howler from Sandro is just unforgiveable. For an international, he has terrible vision and awareness. He has done this kind of cra* in other games before, but was lucky enough to get away with it. Clearly, its a habit of his...Sarri says Juve were dominant for 60 minutes what, if your team then capitulates like that?
on the 9th July, 2020 at 10:11am
This was the first time i've watched a full 90 mins of a Milan game in a long time and the main reason for watching was to make my own mind up on Theo and Bennacer after reading good things and I was left thoroughly impressed with both of them! The way Bennacer receives and manipulates the ball in tight spaces is amazing and Theos pace and power towards the end of the game when he was still marauding down the left flank was impressive. Crucial Milan hold onto the pair of them
on the 9th July, 2020 at 9:44am
I've said this before & I'll say it again.Maldini & Boban have done a great job.They reacted quickly after the Giampaolo meltdown and hired Pioli.I had my doubts about him but he's been great & has improved the team tactically and mentally.Theo,Bennacer,Kjaer,Rebic,Ibra have been our best signings in years.It's a shame we'll restart again after the ship has been steadied.Gazidis has been disrespectful & unprofessional but he can redeem himself by at least keeping Maldini in an important role.
on the 9th July, 2020 at 8:47am
Dear FI

For the sake of this forum's integrity and entertaining engagement, I politely asked you once before to filter out waste and insults such as displayed by "anonymous" here but, it looks like it fell on deaf ears.
Thank you for your work and wish you good luck in the future but your standards are not in line with my expectations.
There are many more reputable media sources to chose from for sports information and forum discussions that take requests like mine more seriously.
on the 9th July, 2020 at 2:15am
Yes yes ac Milan fan whatever. The point is, the author made that Comment about sarri because he probably didn’t even know the result of the Lazio game lol. Also how the hell does he know if sarri is under pressure lolol. does he have a crystal ball ? He then answered his own question by saying yes, implying that he knows this for sure. It is a BS comment to make!! lol if I see a dumb comment I will laugh at it and simply let the person know - YOUR DUMB!
on the 8th July, 2020 at 11:39pm
Well dumitri, since you are on here. Yes we have.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 11:20pm
You ppl calling for respect must be new to these blogs hahahahaha
on the 8th July, 2020 at 11:15pm
"if anything Juve got lucky with a one ina life time goal by Rabiot and then a defending misstake"

All of Milan's goal came after defenders made mistake... So if anything Milan was lucky to be up against average Bonucci & timid Rugani.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 11:11pm
That back pass was more shocking than the result
on the 8th July, 2020 at 10:44pm
sleeping giant lol
on the 8th July, 2020 at 10:20pm
"Quote: St Ambrose

The upturn in form is certainly welcome, but it is far too soon to foster any optimism for Milan. For all the good work they are doing now, the club hierarchy are still very likely to undo any progress by switching coach and dismantling half of the squad before the next campaign. Which is very unfortunate, because what this team seems to need above all else is some stability – for the first time in almost a decade..."

Welcome to AS Roma friend!
on the 8th July, 2020 at 9:40pm
Furthermore, the title of the article is "Unbelievable Milan" not "Disappointing Juventus". This article is a tribute to the progress Milan is making under Pioli. And it's deserved recognition. The travesty here is that he is going to be replaced at the end of the season and not get a chance to see what he can do from day one, not the offhand QUESTION about Sarri POTENTIALLY being under pressure. The only stupid people are those who need to take a course on interpretation. Go back to school.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 7:30pm
It seems that some people here are so insecure that any criticism of Juventus is a personal insult. Juventus will win the title and Milan can not compete with Juventus for the title at the moment. I don't think that is in dispute here. If anything the author is illustrating how high the bar is and should be at Juventus. Point in case is the dismissal of Allegri, a manager that had taken them to 5 straight titles. Apparently not satisfied with the style of play they let him go.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 7:22pm
As to insulting commentators: that's not a new thing here and online in general. It's easy to be vulgar and aggressive when one never has to look the person being address in the eye. It's sad. A sign of poor parenting maybe, being raised in homes where parents regularly insult their kids. The writer has his right to an opinion. It's how all discussion occurs. People bring their opinions and they are discussed, not berated.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 7:16pm
Hahahaha! Just read that TOTAL IDIOT who calls himself The Grand Old Lady Rocks to JUVE (can you believe that name?) "rationalisation" of why his Rubentino team lost! "It's because no team from the upper half on the table is in a mood to play against Milan!"
What better understanding of a mind of the Rubentus' fans zombies!? Tell me! HONESTLY! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN, OR MET MORE PATHETIC FANS THAN THE ONES OF RUBENTUS?!
on the 8th July, 2020 at 6:16pm
Havin 10 midfielder and no right and left beck,but Sarri is moaning for his former napoli flop Jorginho.Sell sandro and danilo and bring in 2 worldclass fullbacks and 2 decent ones,why they moved spionazola and cancelo to be left whit danilo on sandro is ed woodward livel idiotism.
PS: This idiot paratici shoud stop ruining juventus whit his failed transfers,bring in fullback not midfilders that havent played competitive football last 6-9 months,and glass players getin injured after 1 game.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 6:11pm
Sarri once again showed why he floped so many times vs max alegri juve.I cant belive someone as dull as him is actuali coaching juventus.It was obvios to entire world that after 60 min mark most juve players had hard time catching their breath,but sarriout w8ed for it to go 3-2 before making any subs and then he subed in wrong players+alex sandro that dude haven had decend game since 2017 but they keep playin him lolz he never try to beat him man in oposition half only in oun half.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 5:59pm
Juve fans joy in the glory of the scudetto because that will be all that u will achieve. An over hyped over inflated and bloated payroll along with junk players like Ronaldo. You will achieve nothing other than a meaningless title at this point. You are not a giant of Europe and will never be.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 5:13pm
I fully understand that Juve currently are miles a head of Milan but the stuff I read here about milan were lucky. Milan has scored 9 goals in 3 games against Roma, Lazio, Juve...and conceded 2. Now I'm not saying Milan are nowhere near of being "back" but its certainly an improvement. We have one of the youngest teams in the league and it clearly show how much stamina and hunger they have as when other teams are running on fumes around 70-80th Milan look as it was the 20th minute of the game.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 5:10pm

"let's not pretend Milan was great or anything... They were just lucky they got a pent"

Are you aware that you got 2 pent and 2 red cards in Copa Italia when we played you? HOW IN HELL were we lucky yesterday? Milan did a stellar performance, if anything Juve got lucky with a one ina life time goal by Rabiot and then a defending misstake. Show some respect or gtfo
on the 8th July, 2020 at 5:03pm
Milan have a long way to go, but it was nice to see the club winning in such a manner against Juventus. Can't really brand it lucky since after many failures against top clubs Milan won against Roma, Lazio and Juventus. Luck is just a by-product of your play. Juve concede 4 goals and they were lucky not more!

Milan's first team has gelled nicely since Kjaer came in and Kessie-Bennacer hit the ground running.
on the 8th July, 2020 at 3:33pm

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