Milan left the Stadio Olympico with a point but will regret missing the opportunities they had of making it all three. Still three points behind leaders Inter, but they do have a game to play and Genoa will have a lot to do if they intend to slow them down. Milan went into these games on the back of four straight wins and looking toward their meeting with Manchester United next week. Leonardo had decided to field Jan Klaas Huntelaar instead of David Beckham- Going for a striker instead of the midfielder showed Leonardo’s intention, but from the result of this game he may have to rethink what other options he has at his disposal.
Roma was the first out of the gates, and the 12 minutes it was sustained pressure by the Giallorossi but then the Rossoneri found its stride. This game also saw the return of Luca Antonini, and on the 22nd minute he made his presence felt with a shot on goal from a corner from Andrea Pirlo, but Julio Sergio was more than equal to it. Antonini showed a real willingness to run up and down the left flank, showing to everyone what an asset he is and how it would be unwise to leave him out- something. Huntelaar should think about if he wants to avoid being a benchwarmer for the rest of the season.
To his credit he hadn’t played a lot of the season and by having so little time playing together, he will not have the same impact as Alexandre Pato would’ve. Pato, Marco Borriello and Ronaldinho had a certain understanding that Huntelaar was evidently without. This kind of understanding will only come about when he gets more playing time, but his performance tonight was not very encouraging as he was fairly anonymous popping up here and there.
On the half-hour mark Milan had an opportunity to go ahead but was wasted when Huntelaar couldn’t make the most from Pirlo’s cross at the near corner. Borriello had another opportunity to put the visitors ahead on the 53rd minute and instead of trying to play in Huntelaar, went for the shot himself and the Roma keeper made a fantastic reaction save to keep it out. Huntelaar had another opportunity to them ahead in the 70th minute. When an angled effort from 20 yards was saved by the keeper. At the death Huntelaar should have won it for the Rossoneri but headed wide a cross from Beckham.
Leonardo will have to give Huntelaar more playing time for him to get used to his team mates, but from this performance and all the missed chances- it hasn’t left the Dutchman in the best light. But until the Dutchman gets more time on the field, he’ll not have the chance to get better at anticipating the passes from his teammates and will not gain the opportunity to get better. Leonardo will be looking forward to Wednesday and hoping that Pato is fit.