The older team AC Milan passed
A qualification deserved in the 180 minutes.
Spalletti also admitted it at the end of the game: Napoli paid for a little inexperience. Very clear analysis by the Certaldo coach who, apart from the complaints about the penalty not awarded in the first half, without too many words, identified the two main reasons for the elimination of the Neapolitans: the athletic conditionnot as brilliant as a few months ago – accomplice «the last national stop that took something away from us before we were physically and mentally at the top» – and exactly what can be defined in the broadest sense inexperience.
A habit of going through certain stages that has resulted in “some mistakes”, always citing Spalletti, details that a competition like the Champions League has always been decided on; Details where the devil hides (rossonero). So Brahim Diaz had to be on the first leg like Leao was on the second leg lay down, with a tactical foul, because tactics also feed on that, not just on plans and tasks; and so a great team in both areas had to be more focused, more cynical, more hungry in certain games – from mistakes in front of goal to defensive mistakes: the penalty conceded by Mario Rui, let alone wrong, is unacceptable at certain levels .
In addition, of course, there were the serious absences and the indigestible episodes, especially with the referees. But everywhere the Naples turned out to be one a more chaotic and less mature team than Milan, who instead perfectly recited the script written by Stefano Pioli. Because we’ve waited too long to honor an extraordinary club that has been pushing itself beyond its capabilities for three years and doesn’t want to stop. As Maldini said last night:
“It means returning to the top 4 in Europe after a 16-year absence raise the level. It means having a chance to reach the final and then win it».
If you want to understand what the vaunted winning mentality is, listen to him. Someone who has experienced these matches and feels, smells and perceives them. Because Leao is celebrated, Maignan is celebrated, Pioli and AC Milan’s self-denial are celebrated, but how important, gentlemen, is society. Milanello has the right environment with the right people, it’s been that way since Berlusconi and Galliani. Leao himself certifies it at the end of the game and made it clear how much of his growth is mainly due to the coach, but also to Milan in the broadest sense: «I have to thank Pioliwho was like a father to me, but also Massara and Maldini: They made me the player I am today, I owe them what I am».
We are talking about a company that functions like a perfect Hegelian bio-state and moves like a man: organized, with a love of detail, successful. So much so that on the eve of this double European confrontation we had only one certainty: that Milan would be excited, raise their level and give it their all. The paradox of one young team, formally without international experience also (except only Giroud) and with constructional limitations, but which has that little something extra in its DNA and breathes the air of Milanello. Perhaps Milan would have run out; but he certainly wouldn’t have missed the games, and for nothing in the world.
So let’s get down to the games: Last night the Rossoneri played an extraordinary one. Evil, compact, cynical, experienced. One show for those who believe that The show also expresses itself in sacrifices; in the uninterrupted doubles, in the defensive that does not miss any diagonal, in the closing of all spaces and in the quality suffering for 90 minutes. Kjaer, Calabria, Bennacer and not only them, symbols of the soul last night casciavite in The Field. And then these two, front and back: Leao, author of a “Lebronic action” as Roberto Beccantini magnificently defines it, who remembered very gullit and a little bit of the 2007 version of Kaká – the one that gave Milan the last semi-final.
AND Maignan, who, even before performing miracles, takes certainties away from opposing attackers and instills them in their own defenders. Only Courtois may be the only one who deducts the palm of the best goalkeeper in the world to this day.
At the helm of the orchestra and the machine is a very Italian Stefano Pioli, who has abandoned theories about dominant, attacking football and needs to win; an old Italian Bolt with 26% possession yesterday, and all rooms hermetically sealed, for Leao’s rapid counterattack – here too the sliding doors of a game: in the 37th minute, the ruthless intervention in the penalty area on Lozano, especially for a careless winger in the defensive phase that is not known by what divine and technological grace has not tasted the penalty; in the 43rd minute, the starry action that then allowed Giroud to score into the empty goal. All within 5 minutes, with a smile.
So what, Architalian it wasn’t so much Pioli’s flash as his ability to adapt. Let’s call it out to those who play deaf and pretend not to hear: the Italian football genius it’s not in defense to the bitter end how much in adaptability. A spirit where even the most cocky team can entrench themselves in the penalty area with a knife between their teeth in a single game, a practice that others, and far more dogmatic than us, categorically reject following the mantra of “let’s play our game everywhere”.
There is so much more that could be said, it always happens when there is a challenge that will be decided by the episodes in the 180 minutes. But altogether, for available means and men, for spirit and attention, for experience and determination, Milan deservedly progressed. He deservedly returned to the top four sides in Europe, where twenty years after the 2003 semi-final – psychodramas aside – he’s likely awaiting a repeat at Inter: a scary scenario no one would have bet on back then at the beginning of the year pub tip.
But finally, allow us Pasolini supporters, always on the losing side (not too much in reality if they were to give the city a triumph they’ve been awaiting for 33 years), whatever we’ve said, let’s have a thought close to those who came out beaten. Thoughts expressed by Kvicha Kvaratskhelia in a kind of open mini-letter of a few lines published on his profiles: «It’s hard for me to see your eyes filled with tears, realizing I couldn’t bring you happiness. I will do my best to learn from today’s experience. I am deeply sorry and I am absolutely grateful for your support, which I feel every second.
I love you and I promise we’ll come back stronger. The dream continues”.
A message that will melt the great heart of Naples, a city so unique in the world that even a Georgian will recognize it after a few weeks. Napoli have been a great beauty this year, awaiting their coronation at home. Milan is big again in Europe and the coat of arms decided it too. An Italian it almost certainly will in the Champions League final. And there’s a feeling in the air that this epilogue could please everyone.