3 POINTS FROM the Milan derby for AC Milan is just what the doctor ordered to get the team’s chances of qualifying for European football back on track.
The opening minutes of the match saw cross-city rivals Inter Milan control much of the possession and push Milan into their own half. As the time wore on the game became more scrappier. Inter Milan were trying to hold a high defensive line and Captain Riccardo Montolivo almost punished them as he split the defenders with a pass but striker Mario Balotelli was instantly fouled by defender Andrea Ranocchia.
The 25th minute saw the best chance thus far in the game as starlet defender Mattia De Sciglio latched onto a great cross from winger Adel Taarabt only to bury his effort into the side netting without picking out a teammate or trying a shot on goal.
Milan began to dominate possession in the latter part of the first half and almost took the lead on Ricardo Kaka’s 25 yard half volley that cleared Inter’s keeper and dipped only to smash off the cross bar. Kaka brought the ball down well between two defenders and took a touch then rifled his shot, almost in vintage Kaka fashion. Definitely the best chance of the first half for both sides.
Out of the break Milan continued to dominate possession looking for any breakthrough to score and scoop up the all-important 3 points from the derby. The 58th minute saw defender Philippe Mexes make good contact with the ball with his head from a corner, but the effort is wide of the target. Milan would grab the go-ahead goal in the 65th minute via a header from defensive midfield stalwart Nigel de Jong. Balotelli delivered a beautiful dipping ball that found de Jong’s head perfectly and the Dutchman made no mistake.
Milan almost grabbed a second if it wasn’t for substitute striker Giampaolo Pazzini, who continued to disappoint with his performance, being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Balotelli cleverly dribbled into space and rifled a shot on goal that was deflected slightly by Pazzini who was in an off side position. The remaining time saw substitutes from both sides as well as a few yellow cards for both teams.
A deserved win for Milan who looked the better team and created more than Inter. Milan will look to build on this win and their chase of a Europa League spot as they face Atalanta in next week’s tie but will be without the services of keeper Christian Abbiati who earned a yellow card for time wasting and will miss the next match.
As always, Forza Milan!