THE ROSSONERI won the Derby della Madonnina 1-0 earlier tonight, , Zlatan Ibrahimovic securing a win for Milan to break Inter’s undefeated home record and to put them top of the table, despite playing with 10 men for a third of the match!
Milan started very brightly, Abate making a good run down the side, and playing it in for Seedorf to head over the bar despite having a lot of time to pick his spot! But the positive start was not wasted, as minutes later, Ibrahimovic broke form inside his own half, to secure a penalty after a foul by Marco Materazzi. The swede stepped up and took the penalty himself, and slotted in to the bottom corner, to put Milan 1 up within 5 minutes!
Zlatan Ibrahimovic broke the offside trap once more with 13 minutes on the clock, unfortunately though, as he tried to play the ball in for Flamini, Ivan Cordoba made an excellent block as the frenchman went to strike the ball, and Inter scrambled it away. And that incident followed the formbook and the trend of the game, as Milan completely dominated the first 15 minutes of the game, grabbing a deserved 1-0 lead in the process.
At the end of that period, Milan had another chance to double their advantage, Marco Materazzi once again unaware defensively, as Ibrahimovic plucked the ball out of the sky, and put it across the box, only for Lucio to clear it away from the oncoming Clarence Seedorf. Ibrahimovic had certainly started well, and after a good ball from Seedorf, he struck it on the volley from the right hand edge of the box, audaciously attempting a Van Basten-esque strike, only for it to go slightly over the bar.
Robinho had the ball in the back of net at the 1/4 way stage of the game, but it was correctly ruled out for offside, as he’d just made his run a little early, to latch on to Ibrahimovic’s through ball, it may not have stood but it was once again an indication of Milan’s dominance, and their excellent start to the game.
As the half drew to a close, Inter did finally begin to press – Obi was taken off for Coutinho, and that positive action helped spur on the Inter side. Rino Gattuso walked the red card tightrope as he fouled Sneijder on the 40 minute mark, he could very easily have been sent off for it, but the ref decided not to spoil the game, and gave him a final warning.
The first half ended with Milan 1 up after 2 minutes of stoppage time, and they were very much deserving of that lead – it was easy for the Rossoneri to find space, and you could only fault them for not scoring more than just 1 goal, Inter’s threat had been minimized, and their defence seemed shakey at the best of times.
Wisely, Massimiliano Allegri brought Andrea Pirlo on for the already booked Gattuso at half time, to prevent him from getting sent off. It may have seemed risky, but Inter wouldn’t be able to focus on him given how fragile their defence seemed, and Pirlo has excellent ball retention regardless.
The second half started at a much less frantic pace, but Inter had noticably improved on their performance on the first, certainly for the first 10 minutes or so at least, although it almost seemed as though Milan were sitting back a bit and hoping to counter, which is a risky plan to adopt.
Inter came fairly close around the 56 minute mark, Sneijder blasting a free kick at Abbiati, only for the italian to save well, before Ibrahimovic controlled it and cleared well, Inter had definitely made a better start to the second half though, and the Rossoneri seemed less positive.
Unfortunately, Ignazio Abate was then stretchered off injured, only to come back on the field ok, before being sent off! After a shove from Pandev, he responded, and picked up his second yellow of the game, bringing Milan down to just 10 men, and offering Inter a route back in to the game. Antonini was then brought on for Robinho, who was sacrificed as a result of Abate’s actions.
Despite all of that, and a booking for Ibrahimovic after a high foot on Materazzi, Milan came close to scoring once more, Seedorf’s shot from outside the box was directed well, but he didn’t strike it cleanly. With an extra man advantage, Inter switched to a 4-2-3-1, and tried to press on, with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Allegri then decided to take off Clarence Seedorf, for the more athletic Kevin-Prince Boateng – so he could close down the Inter players and go from box to box more effectively, and Milan still threatened Inter, even though the Nerazzurri had a man advantage and were beginning to press more.
Inter came very close to taking the lead with just over 10 minutes to go, Wesley Sneijder fired the ball hard and low dangerously across the box, but none of the Inter players were awake enough to make the run, and so Milan remained in the lead with 10 minutes to go, despite a one man disadvantage after Abate’s red.
As Inter piled on the pressure, Milan defended resiliently, and for all their possession in the second half, Inter didn’t make anywhere near as many chances as Milan did in the first half, and despite 4 minutes of added time, and after having gone down to 10 men for over half an hour!
The Abate red card really did shift the momentum, but Inter failed to capitalize on it, and Milan deservedly won the derby, being the first time to beat Inter at home for 2 years.
Best Moment: Ibrahimovic celebrating putting the penalty away
Man of the Match: Ibrahimovic, he ran the show, and although he was seemingly exhausted at the end, he still wasted time effectively, and kept the ball quite well.
By Hefin Davies, Rossoneri Blog