The eyes of the every milanista were set on this date. It was well over a year in the making. The speculations, the on again- off again of the entire operation. From the “Gordinho” headlines to his flashes of brilliance here and there all led up to his triumphant arrival to the San Siro where he was ready to put on the mantle of hero (much to Kaká’s dislike). It was also the return of Milan’s prodigal son. Andriy Shevchenko was making his return and he was ready and willing to come back to the level of play when he was European Player of the Year ages ago, or so it seems. No one expected the home side to come out on the negative end of a 2-1 at home as their struggles at the Giuseppe Meazza continued.
If you looked at the starting lineup, this team should be attacking without a doubt. From Jankulovski and Zambrotta in the back to Seedorf, Ronaldinho, Flamini, Abrosini, Pirlo, and Inzaghi up front there were lots of goals to be expected. The problem was that they were being caught on the wrong foot when Bologna counterattacked. This is where you began to see their age.
With the absence of a Genaro Gatusso, age was evident especially with Marco DiVaio playing alone up front.
If Sunday was an impression of things to come, Ronaldinho was worth the hassle and hysterics made by Silvio Berlusconi to bring him to Milan.
The script was set up to be a memorable moment for the rossoneri faithful. There was no doubt that there was something in the air. There was something that was forgotten in all of the prehype- nobody gave Bologna the script in order for them to be in the act.
Ronaldinho set up an infinite number of opportunities for Inzaghi, Seedorf, as well as the assist to Ambrosini that led to the equalizer for Milan. Dinho himself had five shots on goal, but did not have his aim quite refined yet.
When it wasn’t Ronaldinho making plays Andrea Pirlo was there to continue to up the pressure on the visitors. His effectiveness lasted for about 60-70 minutes.
The Dark Side
Outside of him, there was little other offense. Milan was not able to tak advantage of the wings with some sporadic cross by Zambrotta. This helped the visitors to pack the middle and depend on the counterattack.
Nobody told Marco DiVaio to not overshadow Ronaldinho. These two were the stars of the game without a doubt. DiVaio was the biggest star for Bologna playing all by himself at the point. Yet with the the lone ranger up front, he was able to tie up the eternal Maldini as well as Kahka Kaladze. The two central defenders were not able to contain him. In addition to them Jankulovski was not up to par with Zambrotta playing a vital role in the team’s attack whenever he could.
Bologna opened the scoring in the 19th minute courtesy of a cross that DiVaio slammed home. Milan then began to put pressure on Bologna, but they had various opportunities on goal but Bologna would finally allow Ambrosini to score in typical fashion as Ronaldinho’s set him up for the equalizer.
In the second half, Milan’s offense went stale especially when Inzaghi went off the pitch for Shevchenko. The Ukranian was just a reflection of his playing days at Chelsea. The offense went stale and there was nothing that they could generate anything.
Although they did not monopolize possession of the ball, Bologna took advantage of the opportunities that they received. None was a better example than the one they had that ended up in a brilliant game-winning strike by Francesco Valiani that would beat a defenseless Christian Abbiati.
Milan despite the defeat showed signs of promise, but their absences were felt the most. Some of their new acquisitions played very well. Ronaldinho gave fans reason to cheer, Flamini was solid in the middle, and Zambrotta was in a track meet as he went back and forth the entire time. Just that people know that Carlo Ancelotti’s men cannot afford these losses at home if they expected to be one of the protagonists for the Scudetto. Yet with what they had there is a great deal of The rossoneri will now face a Genoa side that comes off a loss against Catania.