You Feel It Like Braille, It Ain't Hard to Tell (Milan 2-1 Roma)

It would be easy to use this space and time to publicly (assuming there are no limitations to how small a group, or readership, can be and still be correctly referred to as a public) lament the unfortunate fact that Mr. Rosetti was the referee in tonight's game, to publicly (?) question his competence. It would be easy to shine the light on the parade of errors he committed tonight, starting with not calling a penalty on Thiago Silva's arm pull on Ménez in the beginning of the game, and then moving on; the invented foul by Taddei on Ambrosini, which instead of assuring continued Roma pressure outside Milan's box, directly led to a counter attack and Pato goal; the red card for Ambrosini; and finally the laughable yellow card on Okaka, which was a red card. (Not included Milan's penalty which I thought was legit. And even if it weren't, it was such a stupid and unnecessary foul to commit, I can't complain.)

I found it rather obvious that Ambrosini was sent off in a misguided attempt to balance things out, to try to mask the balance of his refereeing so far. By the time Nesta pulled down Okaka as the last man, he lived to regret that, and when the red card was actually warranted, the quota was used up: surely Milan in 9 would have been a step too far. Especially in their own house. So as so often happens, in trying to compensate, his incompetence was only further exposed. But he has a history with Roma, and since he's still around after all of that, I'm not expecting anything to ever change.

That was easy to write, and flash the light at. However, it should be noted, there were other factors in Roma's loss, which even if they weren't as important as the fact that Rosetti was on the pitch, but they were infuriating in their own right. The game was there for the taking during all of the first half, but after half time, the momentum had shifted, and Roma couldn't, or in any case didn't, assert itself enough. Milan was allowed back into the game, and that was wholly avoidable, with or without this referee. Making one of the chances created at 1-0 would have deflated what was left of Milan, and would have virtually secured the result.

Good performances were hard to come by, and rare in starters (they're spelled, more or less, Ménez and Cassetti); performances of lesser stature were more ubiquitous. It did look, for a long time, like Ménez would once again be directly decisive in Milano, building on his party crashing game in Maldini's long goodbye. After two minutes he had scored a goal; soon after he should have had a penalty, but on his way down he still got off a shot that nearly ended up in goal. And for as long as he was on the pitch, he made things happen. Often, that meant sidestepping both his own team mates and Milan's players, and taking it upon himself to make things happen. By the time he went off, he was spent, and it's hard to imagine him having the energy to do much more on the potato field that is in San Siro. As far as grabbing chances by the horns goes, it was pretty good. Being ignored since Ranieri became coach, it's hard to ask for more than what Ménez gave tonight, and I think that shows character. That's all he needs, too. Everything else is there for a great player to create himself.