Serie A Match of the Round – Inter vs Milan

The Derby della Madonnina delivered in terms of entertainment value and was a classic tale of two halves, as Milan dominated before the break, but then Inter turned the table and earned a potentially massive win as far as the title race is concerned.

The Nerazzurri were looking to get definitely back on track, as they had won last week versus Udinese, but had tied three times in a row before that. Milan instead, after a three-game winning streak, had equalized with Verona.

Antonio Conte was again without Lautaro Martinez due to suspension, but in this case he opted with the more streamlined solution by putting Alexis Sanchez in the XI. Christian Eriksen was kept on the bench in favour of Matias Vecino, while Antonio Candreva won the duel with Victor Moses on the right wing. Diego Godin returned to the lineup with Alessandro Bastoni suspended and Daniele Padelli replaced the injured Samir Handanovic on goal. Stefano Pioli had Zlatan Ibrahimovic at this disposal after a one-week absence and paired him up with the red-hot Ante Rebic instead of Rafael Leao.

The Rossoneri came out firing and controlled the proceedings, creating few chances. In the first major one, Hakan Calhanoglu hit the woodwork with a daisy-cutter from distance. On the other end, Lukaku motored down the left flank, found the training Vecino in the box but his shot was right in Gianluigi Donnarumma’s lap.

The Devil got the lead at the 40th minute: Samuel Castillejo found Zlatan in the box with a long-ball, the striker outjumped Godin and flicked it on, Padelli could not intercept it and Rebic punched it home. Ibrahimovic doubled the lead five minutes later with another tap-in, this time on a corner kick after Frank Kessie botched his shot.

Antonio Conte evidently woke his squad at half time since they came out with much more fire and the comeback was kick-started by a goal out of the blue, as Marcelo Brozovic slotted it home with a volley from outside the box on a rebound. It took the Nerazzurri just nine more minutes to tie the game: Godin found Sanchez deep in the box after a cut, the Chilean attacker passed it backwards for Vecino, who had an easy time knocking it goal as Donnarumma was slightly out of the net.

Ibrahimovic tried to stop the inevitable, but his thunderous free kick was wide. The Beneamata instead complete the deed with a stupendous diving header by Stefan De Vrij, who put the ball just past Donnarumma’s reach. Eriksen entered the game and rattled the crossbar with a free kick from way downtown.

The Rossoneri tried to equalize but had little juice left and opened the door for some counters: in the most dangerous one, Nicolò Barella run half the pitch only to shoot too timidly in front of the goalie. Inter finished things off in the stoppage time with Victor Moses lofting one for Lukaku, who netted an easy header.

The Nerazzurri took full advantage of another Juventus faux-pas to catch them in the standings and stay one point in front of Lazio heading into next Sunday’s head-to-head clash. Milan instead fell to the 10th position as they were surpassed by Verona and Bologna.

Despite not keeping a clean sheet, several Inter players took home fantasy points: Brozovic the full four for scoring, De Vrij, Vecino and Lukaku three because they were also booked, Antonio Candreva, Sanchez and Victor Moses two for setting up teammates. For Milan, Ibrahimovic amassed six, Rebic four and Franck Kessie one for an inadvertent assist.

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