Temperatura prevista per le 22:30, -11.
Translated: “Temperature forecast for 10:30pm: -11″. Those were the words exhibited by an Inter fan prior to this game, a clever (and prophetic) way to present the 270th Derby della Madonnina, the 56th (and last one) of Paolo Maldini’s career. And surely the Milan captain would have preferred a different outcome than tonight, a 2-1 victory which puts the Nerazurri 9 points above Juventus and 11 points ahead of their cousin rivals.
Too early to say “Scudetto race over”? Maybe, but not many points separate us from that conclusion. In the meantime, Serie A spectators Sunday enjoyed another vibrant, spectacular match, full of intensity and a perfect testimonial for Italian soccer worlwide. With the usual share (can’t do without it) of controversy, from ‘
hand arm of God’ goals to non-given penalties.
Tactically, pre-match doubts concerning the health of Maicon were rapidly set to rest, as the Brazilian wing-back was armed & ready to provide his never-ending stream of passes (and assists) on the right flank. On the opposite wing, Davide Santon continued his stay into stardom-world (earning José’s confidence even for an important derby like this one), while Cristian Chivu (not Córdoba) occupied the place of central-back alongside Samuel. For Ancelotti (irremediably left Kaká-less) solutions were limited: Seedorf & Ronaldinho behind lone striker Pato; Beckham, Pirlo and Ambrosini further back in the middle.
Milan ended their first half with a two-goal deficit, and this mainly for two reasons: no depth in their vertical passes & big uncertainties in their defence. Almost in contrast with all the good things the Rossoneri had showed initially: good attacking runs by Jankulovski & Zambrotta, quick one-two combinations between Pato and Seedorf to beat their markers. Even Ronaldinho stood out with a couple of accurate first-time touches: Milan had territorial superiority, but could not make it count. Inter’s counters on the other hand, were devastating.
Just after Ambrosini saved an almost certain goal (Stankovic received from Cambiasso in front of the net, but decided to go for tea & biscuits instead of shooting and allowed the Milan midfielder to neutralize the danger), Inter took the lead with a goal that will leave much room for debate. Maicon (who else) crossed it into the box from the right, Adriano connected with the
header header/arm past Abbiati into the net. An accidental deflection? Maybe, but it made all the difference in terms of the ball’s trajectory. (note: the day after the match, Adriano runs the risk of a two-match suspension as Lega Calcio have submitted his goal to referee video review). Regardless, 1-0 Inter.
Shortly before the break, yet another mistake (by Kaladze/Pirlo) lead to another goal by the Nerazzurri. Muntari seved the free-kick, the Georgian center-back mis-timed his jump against Ibrahimovic, whose redirected header was an open invitation for Dejan Stankovic: half-volley and 2-0 Inter. AC Milan’s morale into the gutter.
The beginning of the second half, contrary to expectations, was not marked by a belligerent Rossoneri reaction bur rather by the Nerazzurri’s opportunities to make it 3-0. Such as when Adriano received a deep pass forward (once again losing Kaladze’s marking) but missed his one-on-one chance with an inswinging shot just wide, or when Ibrahimovic got clear of the Milan defence but couldn’t make his pass connect with his Brazilian teammate in front of the net.
Milan did not give up: Beckham exited the field (picking up a slight knock) and left his place to goalpoacher par excellence Filippo Inzaghi. In the last half-hour minutes the Rossoneri set the derby alight: Chivu closed down on Seedorf in good shooting position, but could do little following Dinho’s perfect pass forward for Jankulovski, whose cushy assist in the middle for Alexandre Pato was impossible for ‘The Duck’ to miss. 2-1 with over 20 minutes to go.
The possibility of a draw injected the usual dose of adrenalin into the match (as has often been the case in recent derbies della Madonnina): with 15 minutes left, Abbiati did extremely well to keep Adriano’s close-range effort out, and three minutes later referee Ayroldi (rightfully) disallowed a beautiful goal by Inzaghi for an offside position. Ensued more chances for Milan, among which two very doubtful penalty non-calls on Ambrosini (by Stankovic) and Inzaghi (by Chivu). On the latter opportunity, Pato had another effort on target which was parried by Inter’s goalkeeper, but this was a clear penalty folks.
At this point Mourinho pulled down the shutters with Burdisso, Vieira and then Maxwell, finishing the game with as many as six (!) defenders. Inter suffered but found the ready hands of super-keeper Julio Cesar, able to save once again on Inzaghi with the tip of his left foot. This year’s Scudetto for Inter (when it comes), will undobtedly bear a big mark from the Brazilian nº1.
|GOALSCORERS: 29’ Adriano (I), 43’ Stankovic (I), 71’ Pato (M).
| INTER (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar – Maicon, Samuel, Chivu, Santon – J.Zanetti, Cambiasso, Muntari (88’ Maxwell) – Stankovic (83’ Burdisso) – Ibrahimovic, Adriano (80’ Vieira). (bench: Toldo, Córdoba, Figo, Cruz). Coach: Mourinho.
| MILAN (4-3-2-1): Abbiati – Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze (77’ Senderos), Jankulovski – Beckham (57’ F.Inzaghi), Pirlo, Ambrosini – Seedorf, Ronaldinho – Pato. (bench: Dida, Antonini, Flamini, Emerson). Coach: Ancelotti.