Cristian Zapata was overjoyed with what he calls a ‘victory’ against Inter as he managed to score a 97-minute equalizer in the Easter Saturday derby.
Inter were leading by two goals on half time (Antonio Candreva 36′ and Mauro Icardi 44′), but Milan – for the umpteenth time this season – showed their great heart and managed to equalize in the dying moments of the match.
Alessio Romagnoli scored in the 83′ minute and then came Cristian Zapata who got the ball past Samir Handanovic in the 97′ minute, with the last kick of the game.
“We believed until the end, and this is a team that fights until the end,” Zapata said in the mixed zone at the end of the match. “We are pleased with the draw and we are still on target to go to Europe. This match gives us a push, it’s a derby and staying above them is very positive.
“We started the match very well and were unable to take the lead. They scored two goals, it was a difficult period but in the second half we raised our game and found the equalizer. It gives us immense joy. Scoring was an immense emotion, I didn’t know what to do.
“I’m happy for the fans, now we think about the match against Empoli. Yonghong Li? He’s very happy as we all are, we enjoy this little ‘victory’ and now we’ll think about Empoli.” The new Milan President and owner came to the dressing room after the final whistle and Zapata gave him his match jersey.
“I’m so happy, scoring a last-minute goal in the derby was something fantastic,” the Colombian center back, who was injured in the first half of the season, said to MilanTV. “I just want to enjoy this beautiful moment. The goal? I immediately realized the ball had gone in. Luckily there is this technology (the VAR)… I’m really happy, we’re on the right path to make it into Europe.
“I’m a positive person, I’m always smiling. The group deserves this result, we are really united and you could see it when we were celebrating the goal for 2-2. Everyone was happy to draw. Inter are our direct opponents, and keeping them behind is very important. Now everything depends on us.
“We have to continue like this. Romagnoli? We talk a lot. I’m glad we’re doing well together. Empoli? First I’ll enjoy Easter and then we’ll start thinking about the next game on Tuesday.”
Speaking to Mediaset, Zapata said: “I did my best, in the end I managed to get a toe on the ball. I’m happy to have been able to score. It was a very intense derby, both teams played well and in the end the draw was a fair result. We didn’t give up and in the end we managed to equalize.
“We defend this shirt, we fight for it every time. We’re on the right track. In terms of Europe, we can do it, today is a demonstration of that. A greeting in Chinese? I haven’t learned it yet.”