WFC: AC Milan silence their doubters with Chelsea scalp
MIAMI — We told you so.
That was the tune from the AC Milan locker after they downed European champions Chelsea 1-0 in a 2012 Herbalife World Football Challenge match played on Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium.
"Of course it shows something," AC Milan winger Urby Emanuelson told MLSsoccer.com after the match. "For us, it feels good because we missed a lot of players and in the beginning a lot of people doubted us. So it's good to win games like this and we're happy with it."
WATCH: Emanuelson's goal vs. Chelsea
Why the doubters? Because AC Milan just offloaded arguably their two best players in a mega transfer deal that saw defender Thiago Silva and Serie A top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to Paris Saint-Germain.
But Emanuelson, who also scored the game-winner against Schalke 04 in a friendly played in Germany on Wednesday, took care of business again on Saturday with a 68th-minute winger and is ready to seize the stage.
"For me, it's a chance to show myself," said Emanuelson, who also heaped high praise on the deadly counterattacking partnership he formed with Stephan El-Shaarawy. "We have a lot of speed and we are good with the ball, so of course it makes us dangerous against every team. We felt good and we're just trying to show ourselves."
Forget the transfers. AC Milan earned a big win when it had plenty of other extenuating circumstances. First, the Italian side had just arrived in Miami from Germany only 24 hours earlier.
They also played without two of their most influential players. Manager Massimiliano Allegri opted to keep Italian international Antonio Cassano on the bench — "Cassano is not in good condition," Allegri said. He needs to train." — and Brazilian star Robinho didn't have his passport and had to return to Italy. He'll meet the team in Philadelphia on Sunday.
“We played a good game against the champions of Europe," said manager Massimiliano Allegri. "The boys did well defensively and also in attack. It was difficult because it was hot. And so we’re very happy with what happened today.
"There’s no solution to the lack of Thiago [Silva] and [Ibrahimovic] because they’re gone," continued the manager. "I had the fortune to coach them but now I have a group of important players with which we need to build a season that’s very important.”
Despite this week's successful run, Allegri is not backing down from making public his expectations that the club bring in some reinforcements — replacements for Ibrahimovic and Silva.
“It’s a team that has to grow," the AC Milan manager said. "What’s missing is a player that the club will have arrive in August."
"We're playing well and you're also seeing the players from the European championship are back and there is still the possibility to get some players [on the transfer market]," Emanuelson said. "The team will only get stronger."