Dramatic Ending for the Derby of Milan

Dramatic Ending for the Derby of Milan

The Giuseppe Meazza Stadium hosted the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday, with its two most prominent clubs clashing for the first time this Serie A season. Internazionale held the home team credentials on paper, while on the other end of the pitch, AC Milan contested an away win in its beloved stadium. 90 minutes weren’t enough for either team to gain advantage over the other, with injury time deciding the fate of the match.

In front of an intimidating 78,725 spectators, both teams entered the field with intentions to gain three points right from the beginning. Luciano Spalletti had chosen a all-dominant formation of 4-2-3-1 to overpower Gennaro Gattuso’s 4-3-3.

However, Milan’s defense proved to be too much for Mauro Icardi, who found it impossible to penetrate the vigilance of Alessio Romagnoli and Mateo Musacchio. Yellow card bookings reflected Milan’s congruent frustration, with Lucas Biglia, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Davide Calabria being unable to slide under Marco Guida’s radar.

In the 20th minute of the first half, Milan’s aggressiveness affected the services of Radja Nainggolan, who had to leave the game for two minutes due to a seemingly painful ankle, for which he had previously missed several games during September.

Image result for nainggolan injury
Radja Nainggolan suffered an injury during a challenge for the ball against Lucas Biglia

In the 30th, he had to leave the pitch, as his ankle injury made it impossible for him to continue. This substitution weakened Inter’s momentum, who was forced to defend for the rest of the first half, in order for the team to regroup and construct a game-winning strategy. The event inspired Milan’s front to seek open chances in Samir Handanović’s goal, but to no avail for the rest of the first half.

With a scoreless board, the second half unfolded with a different character for both teams. Gonzalo Higuain recorded two shots on goal towards Inter’s goal, while Ivan Perišić and Matteo Politano attempted the same towards Donnarumma’s goal within the first ten minutes.

The next 35 minutes were riddled with chances for both teams, but the missed shots for each side foreshadowed a balanced ending. In the 92nd, with three minutes of injury time left on the clock, a cross from Matias Vecino was miscalculated by Musacchio, who mistakenly allowed Icardi to reach in and land the ball in the net with a header that shook up San Siro. Milan was able to get another chance at the end of the 94th minute, but none of the red-and-blacks were able to score an appropriate equalizer.

Mauro Icardi celebrating after his 92nd minute goal

The matchup offered an action-packed 90 minute showdown, but in the end, Inter convinced with its persistence to win and take advantage of any open chances, no matter when they are given. Hats off to Icardi here, who was the one to smell a goal-scoring chance, and was able to place himself in the adequate position at the right time. This win lifts them to third place in the Serie A, only two points away from Napoli’s second place seeding.

With respect to this week’s Champions League, Inter seems to be prepared for their most important group stage face-off against Barcelona. The Catalans will host them on Wednesday without Lionel Messi, who suffered a fractured arm on Saturday. While Inter did receive a great blow by losing Nainggolan on Sunday, they will still be able to pose a challenge for Barcelona, with Icardi’s instinct ready to strike and score. From what they’ve shown so far, Inter should be able to receive a tie in Camp Nou.

Now 12th in the Serie A, with 12 points achieved, AC Milan is off to a difficult start domestically. In the Europa League, however, they will have another chance to redeem themselves against Real Betis, despite Sunday’s loss. The last minute goal did hold them down in the Italian table, but they were otherwise able to put Inter against the wall as much as their opponents did. Reconstruction has been difficult to them, but the Europa League is their relief with a convincing lead in group F.

Italian action returns today, with Sampdoria hosting Sassuolo at 14:30 ET, while the rest of the league will see opponents on the 27th of October.

Cover photo: milanlive.it
Nainggolan injury: fourfourtwo.com
Icardi header: forzaitalianfootball.com

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