Bovo 9, Hernández 18, Miccoli 69
Palermo continued their very prosperous season and their push for a Champions League place with a well-deserved victory against a quite awful Milan on Saturday night at the Renzo Barbera stadium. An assured, if unspectacular performance by Delio Rossi’s men was made that bit easier by a poor Milanese team that offered very little in the way of resistance and a decision on Coach Leonardo’s future at the helm of this famous club was brought that much closer. Surely the Brazilian is a dead man walking.
Tactically, it was difficult to understand what strategy the Rossoneri had decided on to counter the Sicilians. They seemed to be playing a very deep lying defensive line, which suggested they were keen on playing a counter-attacking game. But, they allowed the Rosanero too much space and failed to press the man in possession. This meant that each time Palermo attacked, they invariably got into the Milan box and were immediately dangerous, none more so than when Fabrizio Miccoli picked up the ball and curled in the third Palermo goal. The home team literally strolled to the edge of the Milan box, allowed Miccoli to walk into the area and bend his shot past Dida. It was all too easy.
In attack, Milan were neither swift nor incisive. They looked a team in disarray with no real footballing direction, a squad devoid of invention and ideas, in short a side not worthy of wearing those famous red and black stripes. To be fair, Leonardo was missing many first-team players – the likes of Alessandro Nesta, Marco Borriello, David Beckham, Massimo Ambrosini and Alexandre Pato amongst those unavailable. An opportunity for the tactician to give some young charges a chance perhaps? Obviously not, as the Brazilian Coach was happier playing right back Massimo Oddo at centre-back and a well passed his sell-by date Marek Jankulovski in midfield. He brought on Filippo Inzaghi on the hour mark, further bolstering the average age of the team. Teenage defender Andrea De Vito was introduced late in the second-half but the damage was already done and he had little impact. Would it have been too much to ask to give the kid a start?
From an Italy viewpoint, has Miccoli done enough to convince Marcello Lippi for a wildcard slot in his final squad? He is in devastating form right now and looked dangerous each time he picked up the ball. The Milan defence did not make things too difficult for him but nobody can deny his ability and skill at beating his man, something la Nazionale is desperately missing. 17 goals this season – he could just be the ‘Salvatore Schillaci’ that the Azzurri need to boost their chances of success in South Africa.