The AC Milan Women have gotten back to their winning ways by beating Tavagnacco 4-0.
The game helped erase the stain of their loss to Fiorentina two weeks ago. Winning the match also gave Milan the vital three points they needed to keep their Champions League hopes alive as well.
The First Half
It wouldn’t be a Milan game unless they struggled through the first 45 minutes of a game. And true to form, they did just that.
The story of the half could best be summed up by the phrase ‘controlla male’, as in, the Milan players would control the ball badly once it came into their possession.
Chances came thick and fast for the Rossonere in front of goal but at each and every turn, Milan somehow managed to spurn them.
They either fluffed their lines or would make a bad last-minute decision that would prevent them from scoring.
The worst part of the half, however, came at the 37th minute, as Valentina Giacinti went down injured after a collision with one of Tavagnacco’s players. It was a frightening sight that brought back many vivid memories of the last time the two teams played each other.
Thankfully, unlike in the previous game, Giacinti was able to get up and resume play after a few minutes.
Milan also let Tavagnacco come close to scoring at times, with the Gialloblù’s best chances coming from Polli (‘16) and later on, Kunisawa. Thankfully, neither of those chances were converted.
The first half would end goalless between the two sides and once again, Milan would wait until the second half to turn up the pressure.
Milan, for reasons that are unknown, usually sleepwalk through the first half of their games. Then in the second half they – for reasons that are once again, unexplainable – usually find themselves coming alive in the second half of games. Whatever Mister Ganz says to them in the locker rooms must be working.
Fifteen minutes after the break had ended, Milan would find the breakthrough courtesy of their left-back, Linda Tucceri Cimini.
She scored the team’s first goal of the game in an ‘I totally meant to do that’ moment.
The Milan Women seem to have a habit of scoring these impossible crosses turned goals.
The goal was then followed up by a penalty that was won by Giacinti at the 60th minute. She would then convert it from the spot, thus breaking the penalty curse that had reared its ugly head in the previous game against Inter.
Not content to just be a part of the build-up play, Thorvaldsdottir would end up scoring a goal of her own at the 77th minute. She has now scored in all of the games she’s played for the Rossonere.
The best, however, was saved for last. Only two minutes after she was substituted into the game, Milan’s young debutante, Sara Tamborini, would score her first-ever goal in Serie A.
— Francesca Vitale (@FraaVitale) February 16, 2020
It was the crowning moment in what was a stellar performance from Milan, and a definite sight to behold.
To say the future is bright for this young one would be summing it up succinctly.
Milan won this match rather convincingly and more importantly, they are still in contention for next season’s Champions League.
Nora Heroum was a sight for sore eyes and a much welcome relief for the midfield, as her presence ensured that Milan didn’t have to lob long balls over the defense as they did against Fiorentina. With Nora back in the midfield, Milan were able to make the short, incisive passes that they needed to carve through Tavagnacco’s defense.
Similarly, Laura Fusetti’s return was also quite welcome, as she commandeered the backline. Fusetti’s return gave Milan the much-needed speed they needed to snuff out any of Tavagnacco’s potential attacks. Her presence also ensured that the backline remained compact and impenetrable. She also provided the team with the leadership that they needed to see the match through after Giacinti was substituted out of the game. Just how valuable she is to the Rossonere was once again, demonstrated during this match.
— 🇱🇦 (@amicus_arcane) February 15, 2020
Berglind Björg Thorvaldsdottir also deserves a special mention, as she tried her hardest to help her teammates’ score by providing them with many decent assists. Even if most of those chances were found wanting, Thor would more than make up for it by scoring a goal of her own at the 77th minute. Valentina Giacinti, despite her first-half woes, also deserves to be commended for her performance, particularly with how she turned things around in the second half.
The absolute standout of the match, however, was Linda Tucceri Cimini.
The left-back not only came close to opening up Milan’s account in the first half but more importantly, she scored that wonder goal that would give them the lead. She also launched the assist to Thorvaldsdottir that allowed Milan to triple their advantage while also being instrumental in helping the team win the match.
Time and time again, Linda has proven just how invaluable she is to Milan and just how blessed we are to have her. No more was that evident than during this game.
Milan seem to be adjusting to the 4-3-2-1 line-up quite well. Much in the same way the 4-4-2 formation Pioli has deployed has worked for the men, the 4-3-2-1 seems to be doing the same for the women. Maybe it’s the ethos of Milan’s glorious past infusing itself into the formation (recall that, this was the same formation that Ancelotti deployed during those Golden Years of 2003-2007) but whatever it is, it’s good to see the team adopt another system that will allow them to utilize all of their best assets.
Another thing worth celebrating
For the first time in their history, Milan have won five straight league matches. Their list of defeated opponents includes AS Roma, Orobica, Pink Bari, Inter and now, Tavagnacco.
It’s further proof that the team is on the right path, and may they continue to stay the course as well.
Thankfully, there weren’t that many. The only thing Milan could work on, however, is to actually try to score more goals during the first half (if only so we could all stop dying of anxiety during the first 45 minutes of the game).
Milan will take on Champions League rivals Fiorentina next Sunday, at 12:30 p.m. CEST (3:30 a.m. PST / 6:30 a.m. EST).
Unlike the previous match in the Coppa Italia, Milan will be able to field a full-strength squad then.
They’ll not only need all of the strength they can muster then but all of the support we can give them as well.
Here’s to hoping they can extend the streak and make it six for six.