Roma 4 - Milan 2: No Keeper Controversy Here

Paolo Bruno

Mauro doesn't get no respect. Nor no English.

We have a cache - a true arsenal of weaponry, in some instances (ahem) - of images from Roma matches at our disposal, officially licensed and all. It's rather professional, really, which is wonderful, but has really cramped my unicorn jpeg game. The database is ample, too - we want for nothing as far as Roma goes. (Or cantaloupious cheerleaders, which is, yes, a word.)

Yet I've got one gripe, which is largely to do with those who filter these things out than with The Overlords (lamb, altar, etc): there is one photo of Mauro Goicoechea from Saturday''s match. One. And it involves Giampaolo Pazzini dancing Petipa over him for the holidays. In fact, the entire database has only eight photos of Mauro, and one of them was clearly snapped because a Palermo player is wearing what looks to be a stumpy condom. There is no pre-framed, eight gigapixel masterpiece of his full sprawl to stop Stephan El Shaarawy's 1v1 shortly after Nico Burdisso's opener, which is beyond baffling. Because in a game in which a ruthless attack burst to an easy 3-0 lead by the half-hour mark, the goalkeeper was the man of the day - in large part because of one moment.

Because the man on the other end of that one moment isn't just Stephan El Shaarawy anymore, no. He is the leading scorer in Serie A, doing so without taking Milan's penalties, and rather easily the league POTY thus far. He's the brightest bulb at current for La Nazionale, so long as Mario Balotelli's development remains so stunted. But beyond his goals, it's what he's come to mean to Milan. He masks the sad faces of Robinho and Pato, while KPB turns into Wes Sneijder 2.0: Cross-town Edition. And he's the sole reason Massimiliano Allegri has a job at this point - which is a point against, really, but who's counting?

Momentum in this sport, particularly the emotionally sensitive gents who've worn the Kappa of recent, is everything. There is no stat on WhoScored which can quantify the difference between a 1-1 scoreline and a one-goal lead after your keeper just stuffed the land's most potent attacker on an easy goalscoring chance, and doing so in phenomenal fashion. (Alright, maybe there is - shaddup.) This is why stats for this sport will forever be meaningless for me. You can't buy momentum, you can't quantify it, and you can't overestimate its importance. That singular moment was, simply put, the turning point, because it wasn't one at all. Four goals of a swashbuckling, swaggering attack, and it's a keeper who takes the day. Go figure.

The match had tones far from that of a derby, but I immediately thought of Julio Sergio and, well....pick any one of his saves from the 08-09 season. Sometimes your best attack comes from the man between the sticks. And 48% of you just left this page to search YouTube for "Julio Sergio Lazio" - don't lie.

Oh, and Mauro was merely excellent for the remainder of the evening, outside of the one ball he spilled.

Notes

  • There was only one player who was noticeably subpar in the first half - not worth mentioning - but performances, once again, dropped in the second half. This is a cause for concern...when they stop belting in beaucoup goals before the first whistle. Christ, if you take a 3-0 lead into the half every week, I'll write the checks for their spa treatments during the second myself.

  • Daniele De Rossi'sfirst half was simply phenomenal. One of the best midfield performances of this year, easily. Of course he, like the rest of 'em, during the second...yadda yadda yadda.
  • Love Lamela, but I have to say: it's beginning to look like that right wing slot is simply blessed. I mean, Pjanic played absolutely bananas while in that spot whilst Erik was nursing his booboos, and now Erik walks in to score an easy brace whilst Miralem wentMichael Bradley'sskin color on the day. (Poof - he gone.)

    Perhaps Ivan Piris is far more cause for concern for opposing defenses than we previously thought.
  • Don't look now, but Balzaretti actually hit a teammate with a cross.

    I think that's what the Mayans were actually talking about.
  • Nico Burdisso's performance was nothing short of what Castan has been bringing to the table, and it might have been better, arguably.There's simply no good reason to move him during the winter window, particularly with Romagnoli looking so vulnerable against Milan. One could even say he offers invaluable intangibles for such a young side.
  • The Marquinhos red card was a red card.
  • Milan seemed an entity too grand for the offside rule on the day.
  • Never quite been a fan of Milan - I've simply seen them as the lesser of three evils (which is to say they're not the cancer & AIDS of Inter & Juve) - but it's rather sad to see such a once great club run out that defense. Hell, much of the lineup smacks of the same. That club needs a top-down overhaul.

  • Seriously, though. Everybody was awesome in the first half.Thatis how Zemanlandia is supposed to work - eleven bodies, no names, lots of goals.

Two week break before the SSC Napoli. Presumably they'll be pushed onto the pitch in life rafts, so if ever there was a time for Zemanlandia to go full throttle...

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