di Andrea Rosselli
Toro’s magic moment continues: after three wins in a row, the Granata collected a deserved away draw against a supposedly much stronger opponent like Milan, and with a bit more luck Zaccheroni’s men could have even left the San Siro pitch with three points.
It was a two-sided match for Toro: after a very defensive oriented first half, the Granata played a superb second part, especially in the first ten minutes. However, it was in the last seconds that Toro went close to the victory, when Muzzi incredibly hit both the bar and the post in the same play, while a few minutes earlier Milan wasted their biggest chance as Gilardino hit the post on a penalty kick.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who was already without a bunch of injured and suspended regulars, was forced to leave on the sidelines two more key player like Kakà and Kaladze: on the other side, as expected, Zaccheroni fielded the same starting lineup of last week’s win over Empoli with the exception of Brevi replacing suspended Di Loreto.
Despite the absentees, however, the Rossoneri (which started for the first time with a hyper-aggressive 4-3-3 lineup) completely dominated the first half and only a very good defensive effort by the Granata prevented Ancelotti’s men from taking the lead. In fact, keeping the ball for most of the 45 minutes, the Rossoneri threatened Abbiati’s net only a couple of times: in the 15th minute the Granata goalkeeper made a good save on a shot by Seedorf, and around the half-hour mark a shot by Borriello flew high over the bar.
On the other hand, Toro never managed to create the shadow of a decent offensive play, let alone a shot at goal or a scoring opportunity, and only a few plays by Rosina allowed the Granata to ease Milan’s big pressure from time to time.
The start of the second part was shocking to say the least: Toro looked a totally different team and in the first five minutes the Granata managed to create three big scoring opportunities with Rosina (great recovery by Maldini), Comotto (right-footer that skimmed Kalac’s post) and again with Rosina (good save by the Aussie keeper).
Toro kept on playing wit the personality they missed in the first half, and despite Milan’s slightly superior pressure Zaccheroni’s men perfectly defended Abbiati’s net, preventing the Rossoneri from creating any scoring opportunity.
In the 75th minute, seconds after a double substitution (Muzzi and Doudou for Stellone and Brevi), Milan were awarded a very doubtful penalty kick when Gilardino was taken down inside the box by Cioffi, but the Italy international missed the chance and hit the post.
The last minutes were incredibly intense, with Milan increasing their pressure and Toro defending with a huge determination. The Granata, however, never stopped counterattacking and right before the 90th minute Muzzi hit the bar with a fine header: on the following rebound the veteran striker managed to conquer the ball and hit the post with a superb half bicycle-kick. Bad luck for Toro, but in the end the draw was a fair result.