?Inter earned the bragging rights in Milan, defeating AC Milan 3-2 in a thrilling derby on Sunday evening.
Inter got off to the best possible start, taking the lead inside three minutes through Matias Vecino. Lautaro Martinez latched onto a delicious cross and nodded the ball into the Uruguayan’s path for a simple close-range finish.
Inter continued to push for a second, but they had to wait until the start of the second half to get it. Five minutes after the restart, Stefan de Vrij rose highest to head home with pin-point accuracy, seemingly putting the game to bed. However, Milan weren’t deterred and quickly pulled a goal back through Tiemoue Bakayoko – the Frenchman scoring an equally impressive header of his own.
The action didn’t stop there. Martinez restored Inter’s two goal lead from the penalty spot after Matteo Politano was brought down by Alessio Romagnoli, but that was soon cancelled out as Mateo Musacchio netted Milan’s second minutes later. Milan fought hard to find an equaliser, but their efforts were in vain as Inter held on for the victory.
Check out the full breakdown of the game below.
Key Talking Point
?Milan couldn’t have been in better shape coming into this one, having gone undefeated in their previous 10 matches in all competitions, conceding just three goals along the way.
The early goal for Inter seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Rossoneri and it took until midway through the second half for them to spring into life. In fairness, Gennaro Gattuso seemed to recognise that Milan weren’t at the races and did try to change things up to counter the effective Inter midfield, which contributed to their second-half fightback.
Finishing in the top four is still well within Milan’s hands, so the result is by no means disastrous in the grand scheme of things.
Starting XI: Donnarumma (6); Calabria (5), Musacchio (6), Romagnoli (6), Rodriguez (6); Bakayoko (7*), Kessie (5), Paqueta (5); Suso (5), Calhanoglu (6), Piatek (4).
Substitutes: Castillejo (6), Cutrone (5), Conti (5).
STAR MAN – Tiemoue Bakayoko
It’s been well established that Bakayoko has found his feet in Italy and he stood head and shoulders above the rest of his teammates in this one.
The Chelsea loanee was positive with the ball at his feet, constantly looking to drive forward and ask questions of the Inter defence. He combined neat footwork and quick thinking effectively and scored his first Milan goal for his troubles. Without him in the middle of the park, it could have been a whole lot worse.
Key Talking Point
?Inter’s season has been full of ups and downs and the latest twist came in midweek as they disappointingly dropped out of the Europa League at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt.
Based on form alone, Luciano Spalletti’s side were the underdogs, but they certainly didn’t show it early on. They took the lead early on and refused to take the accelerator pedal off, constantly asking questions of the Milan defence with resting runs and dangerous balls into the box.
Finishing in the top four was not the ultimate goal for the Nerazzurri this season, but it wouldn’t be a disaster by any means. Their place in the top four is looking more secure as the weeks go on, so they have to make sure that they remain focused.
Starting XI: Handanovic (6); D’Ambrosio (6), De Vrij (7), Skriniar (6), Asamoah (6); Gagliardini (6), Brozovic (6), Vecino (7*); Politano (6), Perisic (7), Martinez (7).
Substitutes: Vallero (6), Candreva (N/A), Rannochia (N/A).
STAR MAN – Matias Vecino
Vecino is one of the many players who has failed to perform on a consistent basis for Inter so far this season, but the Uruguayan was in inspired form on this occasion – particularly during the first half.
Evidently brimming with confidence after his opening goal, Vecino frequently got on the ball and dictated the tempo of the game, contributing to his side’s impressive showing in the final third. He faded as the game went on, but that doesn’t detract away from how influential he was during the opening exchanges.
Both sides take a break for the international fixtures before returning to action at the end of March. Milan travel to face Sampdoria, whilst Inter host Lazio