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Personally I was not surprised in Milan's 2-1 loss to Catania tonight. No, it had nothing to do with their poor domestic form at home but more to do with jet-lag and the thought of the derby coming up this weekend. Be it first team players, reserves or ball boys everyone is focusing on the derby.
Milan will be confident going into this game having just won the Club World Cup and they will take comfort in the fact that they will be the "away' team for that evening. This weekend's game will be the one to watch and it could easily swing either way for the two Milanese teams, but this is not the game that we are focusing on; it is the Coppa Italia tie where Catania beat Milan.
Ancelotti started a team barely recognisable for the non-hard core fans which consisted of two Primavera forwards, Gourcuff starting as the play maker while Serginho, Brocchi and Emerson controlled the midfield. The defence was once again over thirty with the exception of Kaka's 22-year-old brother; who made his debut for Milan. Kalac replaced Dida in goal.
Just a little something on some of the players that caught my eye tonight.
Gourcuff; the Frenchman has hardly had any playing time and tonight just proved once again why I don't understand why Carletto never plays the guy; he was everywhere for Milan on the field and he didn't stop working. The only thing he lacked was a goal but he should have been awarded a penalty when he was fouled by Catania's goalkeeper. However, there is hope for Gourcuff, he didn't play the full 90 so I feel Carlo has a plan for him in the derby, if he wasn't going to play him I think he would have let him play the rest of the game, after all Milan were in need of his skills
Simic; I have criticised him unfairly over the years but tonight's performance was one of his best in a while now. His fantastic assist to Paloschi brought Milan back into the game while he probably saved Digao from some more possible dreadful moments.
Cafu; Our smiling Brazilian always gives it his best in every game and tonight was no different. His endless runs down the right flank pushed Vargas to stay back more often than he is allowed in other games.
Serginho and Brocchi; both had solid games and came to life more in the second half. Better luck next time to them.
Digao; Unfortunately he didn't catch my eye for all the right reasons. I don't know if it was nervousness for making his debut or pressure of coming in as Kaka's brother and people having high expectations of him broke him down but the poor guy was a mess. Both goals were his fault and some more dodgy defending moves by him were luckily not capitalised on by Mascara and co. He did however try to make up for his error as his header was just finger-tipped away by the goalkeeper; that effort however never stopped the booing from the Milanisti.
Paloschi; This little one was the star of the night for me. From the start of the game he was determined and broke free form the defence on two separate occasions only for them to be wrongly ruled offside. He held the ball up well and hardly ever fell over, he created occasions and capitalised on occasions; scoring Milan's only goal to bring them back into the game. He is a true talent and I really think that he will be the one to watch in the future. Milan will do good to hold onto him.
Now it is on to the derby and the build up to thta much anticipated game will take place right here on Milan's Curva Sud