AC Milan-Hellas Verona, Serie A 2022/23: Time Machine | AC Milan

AC Milan have not played the final day of the season at San Siro and in front of their fans since 20 May 2018.  The game that concludes a long season will decide the final standings, crowning champions and saying goodbye to teams. A fixture that inevitably marks an end but also the start of new beginnings to come. We prepare for AC Milan v Hellas Verona, our 38th match of the league season, by reliving five previous meeting at San Siro through our Time Machine.

It was a thrilling final day of Serie A 2001/02. As three teams were competing for the Scudetto, as many as four could hope, before the final 90 minutes, for fourth place and Champions League qualification: Bologna and AC Milan on 52 points, Chievo 51, Lazio 50. After a difficult direct clash with the Felsinei, Ancelotti’s team needed a result against Lecce – long since relegated – and hoped Bologna would slip up away to Brescia who were battling relegation. At San Siro, everything went well for the Rossoneri: Kaladze and Ambrosini scored in the first half, Shevchenko with the goal to make it 3-0 at the start of the second half. It was from Rigamonti that the other good news of the day arrived: Brescia won, also 3-0, giving AC Milan a place in the Champions League 2002/03 playoffs. 

With the Rossoneri already crowned as champions of Italy a couple of weeks before, the last game against Brescia was an opportunity to pay homage to a great figure in the history of Italian football (and of the Rossoneri too). AC Milan v Brescia was the last match of Roberto Baggio’s career: in front of a packed San Siro, Ancelotti’s team won 4-2 (a brace from Tomasson, Shevchenko and Rui Costa) but the real highlight came in the 84th minute. The minute in which Baggio was substituted, with a beautiful embrace with Maldini followed by the standing ovation from a packed San Siro ready, at the final whistle, to celebrate a 17th Scudetto.

Sometimes the final day is also the stage for unexpected stars. AC Milan and Roma arrived in the final 90 minutes of the 2005/06 Serie A season little to play for, with the final positions already known for both teams. At San Siro it was an entertaining match, with the scoring opened by Kaká from a penalty kick in the 5th minute (goal number 14 in the league) before an equaliser in the 34th minute from Mexès. The match was decided in the first minute of added time, after the 90th minute, by an unexpected player. It was Márcio Amoroso, who scored his first and only goal for the Rossoneri from the penalty spot, having arrived in the January transfer window to replace Christian Vieri after winning the Copa Libertadores and the World Cup with São Paulo.

We go another two years ahed on our journey through time. Another final day that would not have an impact on the table, but emotionally impactful for an important goodbye. AC Milan v Udinese was the last match in the careers of the two Brazilian players who were European champions with AC Milan from Athens: Marcos Evangelista de Moraes and Sérgio Cláudio dos Santos. Better known, respectively, as Cafu and Serginho. Five seasons in the Rossoneri for the former, nine for the latter. After they had announced, a few days earlier on Milan Channel, their farewell to football, the game against the Friulani became a de facto tribute for the two. The result faded into the background, although the match entertained the 65,000 present at San Siro. The guests went ahead through Mesto, Pato and Inzaghi turned it around at the beginning of the second half. Cafu scored the third, his fourth and final goal for the Rossoneri before the Seedorf scored to make it 4-1. At the final whistle, the fans’ love was all for the two great Brazilian champions.

Before this year, the last season with the tricolour on the chest ended on 13 May 2012. Unable to retain their title, with second place already secured behind Juventus, the Rossoneri dedicated the last day against the already relegated Novara to the tribute of many players saying goodbye. Seven representatives of the team from the 18th Scudetto said goodbye to AC Milan: Roma, van Bommel, Zambrotta and, above all, four veterans of the two Champions Leagues won in Manchester and Athens. Gennaro Gattuso, Alessandro Nesta, Clarence Seedorf and Filippo Inzaghi, who crowned appearance number 300 for the Rossoneri with the winner (with the score at 1-1, goals from García and Flamini). A fine finale for players who have entered the AC Milan history books.

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