Inter stole the Milan derby from city rivals AC Milan as Mauro Icardi’s 91st minute header sealed all three points for I Nerazzurri in a dramatic ending at the San Siro.
??Inter had the first big chance of the match when captain Mauro Icardi bundled the ball into the net from close range, but it was correctly ruled offside by the officials after it took a touch off Matias Vecino on the way through to Icardi.
The game was heating up as both sides looked to claim a derby day victory. The first half was a physical battle that Inter were just about edging as both teams launched themselves into every 50-50, Lucas Biglia and Radja Nainggollan’s early collision showing this was not to be a game for the faint hearted.
It was AC Milan who next had a goal disallowed. Mateo Mussachio turned in Suso’s wonderful free kick from the right hand-side, but again it was correctly disallowed by the officials who were keeping a tight lid on the game.
The game began to pass by the two Milan giants, with Matteo Politano’s half volley the only real chance of the half. Suso had a tame shot easily saved by Samir Handanovic late in the game as the even contest fizzled out towards the end, with both teams looking set to walk away from the San Siro with a point.
That was until Icardi got onto the end of a wonderful Matias Vecino cross to send the San Siro into chaos as Inter nicked an unlikely winner in a game void of much quality.
Key Talking Point
Inter looked the better side for the majority of this game, but again showed weaknesses. Icardi was left isolated for much of the match, and with Nainggolan injured there was an opportunity for a Inter star to become a hero. Yet nobody seemed to want the glory that comes with a derby day victory as Inter looked flat for large periods of the game, despite being the better side – until Icardi stepped up to the plate. Inter are roaring in Serie A, having won five games on the spin as they continue to climb up the table.
Starting XI: Handanovic (6), Vrsjalko (7), Skriniar (7), Asamoah (5), Vecino (6), Brozovic (8), Politano (6), Nainggolan (6), Perisic (7), Icardi (6)
Substitutes: Valero (4), Keita Balde (6)
Star Man: In a game where Radja Nainggollan was injured, Inter had a huge void in the middle of the park. Marcelo Brozovic did superbly to deputise for his injury stricken teammate, motoring up and down the park all game. He tired the Milan midfield quickly with his lung bursting runs and despite struggling with injury in the latter stages of the game, he still was able to put in a great performance.
Worst Player: Kwadwo Asamoah did not cover himself in glory in this Milan derby. He was often caught sleeping in possession and did very little to support the estranged Milan attack. A poor performance from a usually reliable player.
Key Talking Point
AC Milan weren’t pretty to watch, but they were effective in stopping Inter’s main threat. The game plan was clear – sit back, limit Icardi, and hit on the counter. It nearly worked to perfection, but they couldn’t quite hold out.
Milan will no doubt be tired after such an energetic performance and this will surely leave a huge dent in their confidence. The result leaves Gennaro Gattuso’s men stuck in mid table, as a Champions League spot already looks unlikely.
Starting XI: Donnarumma (6), Calabria (7), Musacchio (6), Romagnoli (8), Rodriguez (7), Kessie (7), Biglia (7), Bonaventura (5), Suso (6), Higuain (4), Calhanoglu (7)
Substitutes: Cutrone (7), Bakayoko (6), Abate(N/A)
Star Man: Milan needed a hero at the back and Alessio Romagnoli was a rock at centre half. He denied Icardi several chances on goal, including one world class block in the first half as Icardi broke through on goal, and silenced him for most of the match. He captained the Milan side well and showed he is a true leader for his side.
Worst Player: Milan were in dire need of a marksman upfront, and ?Gonzalo Higuaín failed to deliver anything in his first Milan derby. Starved of any real service, you could be forgiven for thinking Higuaín wasn’t there as he struggled to offer anything to the game.
Up next for Inter is a Champions League fixture at the Nou Camp as they take on ?Barcelona. Inter may fancy their chances with the news that Lionel Messi will miss the fixture with a broken arm. A win for Inter at Camp Nou would all but seal progress to the last 16 for Luciano Spalletti’s men.
AC Milan also have a European clash in their next outing, hosting Real Betis at the San Siro in the Europa League. Milan are top of their group, and just like Inter, a victory over second placed rivals Betis would all but put them in the round of 32 stage of the Europa League, having won their opening two fixtures.