Boy, could a “Derby della Madonnina” could get any better than this? Picture the situation: with 3 matches to go in the Serie A, Inter Milan are leading the standings with a +6 lead on Roma, all the while their cousin arch-rivals AC Milan stand in 5th spot, 2 points ahead of Sampdoria (in 6th) and 2 behind Fiorentina (in 4th, i.e. the last Champions League qualifying spot).
In other words, for both Nerazzurri and Rossoneri a win on Sunday would have a two-fold effect. For Inter, it would effectively seal the deal for the Scudetto run and crush AC Milan’s CL hopes for good, which if you ask any Interista fan, would be awfully awfully sweet. On the other hand, a win for AC Milan would keep their CL hopes alive (especially if Fiorentina stumble against Cagliari) and re-launch the hopes of AS Roma for the final Scudetto rush (provided the Giallorossi don’t fu** it up against Sampdoria, of course). Now how awesome would that be for all the Milanisti, given their very average 2007-08 season (Club World Cup excluded).
A little bit of History
To present you all the little interesting facts about the Derby della Madonnina, allow me to borrow, once again, the skilled words of Subhankar Mondal, the man behind the first Inter Milan vs. AC Milan Preview back in December:
On Sunday, a seismic force that owes its origin to the history shall rock the city of Milan and tradition shoved deep down in the ground; for on Sunday a chasm shall be constructed distinctly in Milan and volcanic eruptions are guaranteed.
If you think that this is a meteorological forecast ridiculously being rippled across on a football blog site, then you are utterly, utterly wrong. Instead, this is a lookahead to the Derby della Madonnina, the AC Milan vs. Inter Milan derby, that is set to storm to the center-stage in the Italian Serie A on Sunday.
This is a derby that is almost a hundred years old, a derby that would’ve never opened its eyes upon the light of the world if there had been no wrangling over the signing of foreign players; a derby that over the rapidly flowing years has come to be relegated to second (maybe even third) place in Italian football (the Derby d’Italia i.e. Juventus vs. Inter, is now firmly established as the most important match in Italian football calendar). But when Internazionale (or more affectionately, Inter Milan) and AC Milan lock horns at San Siro on Sunday there will no dearth of passion, spark, fire and rivalry at all.
The history of the two clubs is paradoxically intertwined into one. Milan were established way back in 1899 and were absorbed in nationalistic ideals so much so that they wouldn’t allow any foreign player to don on their colors. This kindled a rift inside the club and those in favor of the induction of foreign players into the side broke away and formed Internzionale in 1908 and the city of Milan has been torn apart into two fragments since.
Milan traditionally are the people’s club, a club that has supported by the working class people in southern Italy. On the other hand, Inter are the bourgeois club, an aristocracy that has been blessed by the rich hands. But over the successive decades, such a distinction in terms of economic class has broken down. Indeed, Italian President Massimo Moratti is a oil tycoon while Milan is owned by the billionaire and former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Yet a cluster of Milan supporters still come from the working class background while Inter fans still do perceive their Milan counterparts as basically inferior to them in almost all sectors. The ultras (or, “ultrà” as they are called in Italy) are there from both clubs but their actions and recognition are much allayed by the reputation of the clubs. Even so, violence and trouble at the Milan derby have been frequent.
The ugliest incident of violence cropped up in the 2nd leg of the 2004-2005 UEFA Champions League Semi-Final match at San Siro. Milan were leading the match 1-0 (and 3-0 aggregate) when Inter supporters decided to get themselves thick into the action. Bottles and coins started being rocketed onto the pitch, flares started flying onto the field and Milan custodian Dida was hit with a flare on the back of his shoulder, and the often crippled and almost always paralyzed UEFA at last convened to investigate into the violence in Italy.
Thus security has been tightened at the San Siro for the clash and these are one or two signs that trouble might be hatched during the course of 90 minutes. The main perpetrators could be Inter Milan players in not so much as instigating the crowds to go wild as in pissing on even more frustration on the Milan unit.
Of course contrary to the first leg, the San Siro crowd for Sunday’s match will be in large part black&red-coloured, as indeed AC Milan will be playing the “hosting” side. Will 80,000+ Rossoneri fanatics be sufficient to push Paolo Maldini & friends toward yet another major accomplishment?
For the record Inter have won the last 3 derbies in Serie A, and this year’s encounter (back in December) ended 2-1 in favor of the Nerazzurri. To prepare you for the match, here’s some additional AC Milan vs. Inter Milan statistics, courtesy of Sportpress.com:
Head to Head Record, 1992-2007:
2007-08 Serie A Match Record so far: