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Milan's back to victory: how Seedorf changed his team
Two late goals from Balotelli and Pazzini gave Seedorf his second win in his first three games, giving some oxygen to the rossoneri
by Farbod Matinroshan
Two late goals from Balotelli and Pazzini gave Seedorf his second win in his first three games, including a loss in Coppa Italia against Udinese. This come-from-behind victory will boost Milan's confidence, and will give Seedorf a chance to get closer to the players and fans, but will not cover the teams difficulties.


Seedorf changes. Seedorf started his career as Milan’s manager against Hellas Verona 8 days ago. He almost used the same formation as Milan ex-coach, Massimiliano Allegri, having added just the new Japanese player, Keisuke Honda, and playing with Bonera-Zapata as center-backs. The result was a 1-0 win, thanks to another late goal by Balotelli .


The second match was against Udinese in coppa Italia. This time Seedorf played with Rami-Zapata as center-backs, the Slovenian Valter Birsa replaced Honda on the right wing, and Antonio Nocerino played in the middle, replacing Milan’s captain Riccardo Montolivo. The team started the game well enough, scoring in the opening 10 minutes, but wasn’t able to secure the result, and eventually lost the game 1-2 at home.


Cagliari vs Milan. Against Cagliari Seedorf played with Marco Amelia instead of Christian Abbiati in goal, Bonera-Rami in the middle of the defense. Honda back in the starting line-up, creating an adventurous 4-players attack. In the first 15 minutes Milan players could find each other well, but a couple lost balls- especially by the lone striker Balotelli-, and not defending properly when losing the ball, made Cagliari come out with dangerous counter-attacks. 

Amelia’s first mistake happened in the first 20 minutes, when Milan’s defense tried to hold the position by playing with the goalkeeper. Amelia passed the ball to Bonera in a pressing situation, which led to losing the ball near the box. However Amelia was fortunate enough that Cagliari couldn’t score.

Amelia’s second mistake was deadly enough for Cagliari to score. Trying to keep the position, Milan’s defense played the ball to Amelia again. He couldn’t clear the ball well enough, and his shot finished just outside of the box, where Cagliari’s Mauricio Pinilla was ready to intercept and cross the ball in the box to Marco Sau. Bonera and Amelia couldn’t do anything as Sau faked the shot with his left and finished it off with his right.

After the goal Milan tried to respond by keeping the position at the back and attacking, but it seemed a two-men combination, as Brazilians Kaka’ and Robinho tried to break through Cagliari’s defense. It seemed hard enough for those two to change the result. Other players should have been involved more in attack, obviously Milan were running short on offensive ideas.

Milan started the second half much better. Honda was involved much more in the plays, having created some good chances, especially a one-two with Robinho, which left him in front of Cagliari’s keeper, Vlada Avramov. But Honda’s shot wasn’t precise enough, and Avramov saved it easily.

Seedorf’s first substitute was striker Giampaolo Pazzini for Robinho. Pazzini played upfront and Balotelli was moved just behind him. Kaka’ started to play on the left wing and Honda on the right. The second Substitute was Muntari for De Jong in the middle, which gave Milan a fresh player to move the ball faster.

In the last 20 minutes Milan attacked Cagliari by putting pressure with two strikers. Balotteli also was trying to gain some free kicks with any minimum contact from Cagliari’s defense. The mistake came from Matias Cabrera, when Cagliari’s midfielder tried to clean the ball outside of the box with his hand. The result was a great freekick by Balotelli, who draw the game 1-1 with three minutes to the end of the game.

Milan gained confidence to win the match in the last minutes, and found the winner when striker Pazzini found the net after a corner kick by Honda. Pazzini’s goal gave Milan a 2-1 lead. Cagliari weren’t able to draw with 5 minutes extra time.

The result, as mentioned before, will give some confidence to Seedorf’s team but shouldn’t cover their problems, like wasting many free kicks with poor delivery, especially by Robinho (the better option seems Honda for free kicks). Also Milan’s attack loses a lot of balls due to poor passing, especially by Balotelli. They hardly find a way to create a chance and are short on ideas. Man of the match was Adil Rami, former Lille and Valencia defender, who played like a wall, and was the main man to prevent Cagliari from scoring more goals.

Monday, January 27 th, 2014
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