The AC Milan Women, unfortunately, lost the Coppa Italia Final against AS Roma on Sunday. The game ended in a stalemate before going to penalties.
Here’s a short review of a match. A longer, more in-depth analysis will be posted later this week…
Milan (3-5-2): Korenčiová; Vitale, Agard, Fusetti; Bergamaschi, Vero, Jane (45′ Mauri), Hasegawa, Tucceri Cimini; Dowie (77′ Grimshaw), Giacinti
Roma (4-2-3-1): Ceasar; Soffia (69′ Eržen), Swaby, Linari, Bartoli; Bernauer, Giugliano; Thomas (8′ Banušić), Andressa (81′ Greggi), Serturini; Lázaro (86′ Bonfantini)
AC Milan lined up in their usual 3-5-2 while donning white jerseys as the home side. They initially got off to a strong start after Dowie found the first shot on target in under one minute. After Jane’s midfield interception and a through pass by Giacinti, Natasha had a great chance to score but a poor touch let her down.
Around six minutes later, Vero won a free-kick at the edge of the box. Hasegawa was then tasked with taking it but her shot went wide of the mark. Yui is normally a pretty sharp player. However, she looked rather rusty during the first half. Perhaps it was the nerves of a final that were getting to her. Jane would have another chance at the eight-minute interval but her attempt also failed to find the back of the net.
Roma themselves would have their attempt at around the 25-minute mark after captain Elisa Bartoli won a free-kick at the edge of the box. The kick was then taken by Andressa, whose ball connected with Palamo Lázaro’s head. Lazaro, however, would not find the back of the net. After what seemed like a lengthy and cagey period, Refiloe Jane had another effort at the 29th-minute mark, which was then saved by Roma’s goalkeeper, Camelia Ceasar. The game was tight, with both teams not taking many risks.
The first-half would end with Roma’s Elena Linari heading a ball over the goal. The half-time whistle blew then both teams retreated to the locker rooms.
The second half was pretty much the same. The Giallorosse came roaring out the gate, as Korenčiová had to block Soffia’s long-range effort at the 51st minute. Three minutes later, Lindsey Thomas headed a rather weak shot on goal. The game eventually kicked into third gear and became a real battle, with the Rossonere springing forward on the counterattack. Unfortunately, they were ruled offside several times during this match, and the refs got quite a few of those calls wrong. It thus killed the Rossonere’s momentum going forward.
Substitutes were made during this interval to give Milan fresh legs, with Claudia Mauri coming in at the 45th minute and Christy Grimshaw coming in at the 77th. The players replaced Refiloe Jane and Natasha Dowie respectively. The fact that coach Ganz may have made so few substitutions might have also sealed the Rossonere’s fate. He is often reluctant to make substitutions and leads to the Milan players having tired legs and fatigue.
Dowie’s replacement was much needed, as she didn’t fare well during this match. She had a golden opportunity to score around the 62nd-minute mark but chose to fluff her lines and over-dribble the ball. And almost immediately after Grimshaw was subbed in, made a shot on target at the 77th minute. It was then blocked by Grimshaw, rather inexplicably. Bergamaschi then had an effort on target at the 84th minute and it did not trouble Ceasar too much. Vanessa Bernauer nearly won the game with her fantastic long-range strike. Fortunately for Milan, her effort hit the crossbar. Bernauer was also lucky to still be on the pitch, as she committed two cynical fouls on Vero during the match, yet was not given a single yellow card for it. After 94 minutes, the game was still tied and extra-time beckoned.
The Rossonere came close to getting the winner in the 95th minute, as Grimshaw found Mauri with a through ball in the middle. However, Roma’s Allyson Swaby saved it. This was then followed by a corner from Linda Tucceri Cimini, whose cross by Ceasar was tipped over the bar. The first half of extra-time ended with shots from Mauri and Vitale.
Four minutes from the end, AC Milan had two chances to win, with the first attempt by Yui Hasegawa. It was then saved by Ceasar, who also saved Vero’s low and hard cross just a few minutes later. Bernauer also had a late shot on goal but that was saved by Korenčiová. It was all square, though, after 120 minutes and so would be decided on penalties.
Vero Boquete stepped up to take the first shot. She missed. Then Annamaria Serturini stepped up for Roma. She scored. Christy Grimshaw then took Milan’s second shot. Much to no one’s surprise, she missed it. Manuela Giugliano, Milan’s ex, then scored for Roma. Milan were given a lifeline after Elena Linari missed hers. However, Linda Tucceri Cimini, inexplicably, missed her shot.
Finally Vanessa Bernauer stepped up to take her spot-kick. She then scored, thus winning Roma’s first-ever silverware in Serie A Femminile history.
The Rossonere, on the other hand, were left wondering what could have been. Captain Valentina Giacinti was visibly upset by this, and former captain, Paolo Maldini, had to step up to comfort her.
— Lucia Pirola (@epiphoned_) May 30, 2021
Vale can take comfort in knowing that she played a good game. The loss still hurts and will make every Milan fan feel melancholy. However, the Rossoneri faithful can find solace in the fact that this is just the beginning and that they’ll have the opportunity to win their first trophy in the near future.
In a reversal of trends, Milan had less possession and more shots on target. Milan only had the ball 41% of the time and managed to outshoot Roma by a ratio of 16 to 10.
Unfortunately, Milan couldn’t convert any of their chances. They will need to work on being more clinical in front of goal in the future.
This was a tough loss to take. Milan were so close to winning their first-ever trophy, and yet it slipped from their grasp. A combination of bad management and poor on-the-field performances from a few players is what sealed the Rossonere’s fate. And the fact that they were in control for most of the match and had several opportunities to win, makes it hurt even more.
One could also lament about the poor refereeing, as the lineswomen often got their offside calls wrong. Vanessa Bernauer also should have been carded for her fouls on Vero, and Claudia Mauri was lucky to be on the field after obstructing a Roma shot on goal. This aside, there is no excuse for Milan’s loss. The Rossonere had plenty of chances to win this game but they did not take them.
The only thing Milan can do now is learn their lessons from this match, lick their wounds and do better in the future. The Rossonere themselves should be commended for how well they’ve done this season, despite all of the obstacles in their way.
The is only the beginning for Milan and while they have every right to feel upset by this loss, they should also know that brighter moments and better days are in store for them.