Italian Super Cup: Milan beat Inter 2-1 to take the win
This years Italian Supercup was one of the most anticipated of recent years with Inter taking on city rivals AC Milan, and like all Milan derbies it promised to be a great match, and to be honest it didn’t disappoint, though i’m starting to think that the Birds nest stadium is cursed for Inter as history repeated itself and just as we did two years ago we lost the Supercup 2-1. Inter came out fighting and played fantastically for the first 30 – 35 minutes showing a fluidity and vision that meant Milan hardly got a look in on the action, but towards the end of that half the Rossoneri started to get in to their stride which continued in to the second half which started a bit scrappy and it didn’t take long for Milan to get the equaliser going on to score again and win the match. I’m not going to pretend i’m not gutted that they beat us but i have to admit on the overall run of play they deserved the win. Personally I think the main cause of this defeat was down to bad decisions made by Gasperini, the first of these was changing the formation for the second half which meant Milan managed to do what they couldn’t for the majority of the first 45 minutes and take control of the midfield, his other mistakes were in his substitutions where twice he removed a player that was being very influential, which brings me to the positives today Obi and Alvarez were brilliant especially in the first half where they both showed great vision with intelligent passing and pacey runs that were leaving the Milan players standing which i thought was something exciting to look forward to seeing more of in the upcoming season, it also proved the italian press wrong when a few days ago they said ‘Ricky’ doesn’t have any pace. Of course one other point worth considering is the fact that Milan were playing with all their south American players, where as ours are still on holiday after the Coppa America with the only exceptions being Julio Cesar and Juavier Zanetti who returned early to cover the injured Viviano and Nagatomo who were both were ruled out in the pre-season.
The match started with each team using the line-ups and formations shown.
The managers changed things around a bit during the match with Gasperini opting for a four man defense in the second half and both used all three of their available substitutions
Even without the Curva Nord and Curva Sud there was no doubt that this was a real derby with the Chinese fans making up for the club Ultras with their singing and chanting, even on the pitch there was no doubt with the first foul coming after just 22 seconds when Boateng went in hard on Motta, then just over a minute later Motta was again fouled as Van Bommel clattered in to him. Gasperini surprised many by starting the game with a 3-5-1-1 with Sneijder playing in his favourite role behind our lone striker Eto’o. Where Gasperini decided to try something different Allegri stuck with his tried and tested 4-3-1-2 opting for Robinho to start in place of Pato. Inter didn’t take long to stamp his authority on the match making the first shot on goal after just 5 minutes finding space between the Rossoneri lines. A minute later Milan had a great chance when Ibrahimovic threaded a wonderful ball through to Robinho who ran on to it then sent it high and wide. The game then was end to end as both sides played quick breaks and both defensive lines were high up the pitch. The majority of Inter’s attacks focused down the left flank where Gattuso and Abate struggled to contain the great play between Obi and Alvarez who both showed great vision and made fantastic runs up the left channel.
Milan were struggling to keep control in the midfield due to Inter’s midfield overrunning them this was help by the fact that Ranocchia and Chivu were taking it in turns to move up the pitch created yet another man in midfield, this in turn was helping Inter to close down the ball and make breaks. In the 13th minute Nesta tried to make a long clearance which only made it as far as Alvarez’s head who managed to find Eto’o with the resulting header only for the Cameroonian to find his path blocked just outside the box. AC Milan didn’t really seem to be in the game in the opening stages and Inter were happy to keep possession. The lynch pin for Inter in the first half was Stankovic who sat just in front of the defence and gave the opposition no chance to do anything when on the ball, his hard work was nearly rewarded on the 18th minute when following some lovely build up play he tried one of his trademark long shots from outside the box but unfortunately the ball rose to much and went harmlessly over.
The 20th minute saw the derby spark back to life when Gattuso who had just been booked for a nasty tackle on Alvarez, brought down Obi on the edge of the box, personally I think he should have received a red card for this but he got away with it. From the resulting free kick Inter got the lead they deserved when Sneijder sent a pin point accurate shot in to the top left corner which Abbiati managed to brush with his fingertips but the ball was carrying too much speed for the touch to make a difference.
After Sneijder’s goal Inter seemed to take their foot of the gas, which they seem to do quite a lot when winning and nearly always it ends up being a mistake. Taking advantage of this and the fact that the Nerazzurri back line had dropped off a few yards Milan found room to have more of an impact, making it harder for Inter to break quickly. That’s not to say that Inter didn’t get more chances and on 35 minutes Alvarez saw a shot go over the bar after some great off the ball movement and a brilliant link up with Sneijder. Two minutes Eto’o finally got his first proper shot on goal which Abbiati managed to save down low from an difficult angle. The end of the first half saw Milan start to take control with Boateng making a dangerous cross into the area which Julio Cesar managed to catch, then moments later Abate sent a long ball to Ibrahimovic who got his head to it and was very unlucky not to get the equaliser as the ball rebounded of the post. That pretty much rounded of the 1st half in which Inter dominated with 58% possession but Milan had shown they weren’t giving up.
On the restart Gasperini had changed his formation to a 4-4-1-1 with Zanetti slotting in to the leftback role in the hope that it would cut the threats from wide areas that Milan had set up at the enbd of the last half. Boateng got an early chance to score on the 48th minute and gave a clue that the second half was going to be different than the first. Things were starting to get scrappy between the players and the tactical dominance of the previous 45 minutes turned in to a battle and Milan were showing the best chances with Seedorf hitting a dangerous shot which went wide on 52 minutes, though moments later Sneijder replied with a viscious shot that also went wide. Allegri’s team were showing a greater determination and getting the ball up to Ibrahimovic more and more with the lanky Swede scoring on the hour mark after playing the ball to Seedorf who sent a perfect cross back to him for him to cooly head in. The Nerazzurri players weren’t happy with this as they claimed there were two fouls in the build up (Boateng on Stankovic and Robinho on Chivu) to be fair I didn’t see either of these so I can’t really comment.
After Milan’s first goal the derby atmosphere intensified and tempers started to flare up as the Inter players lost the spark they had in the first half and they were starting to get worked up. Milan could see that we were starting to lose the plot and took advantage when Abate sent another long ball up field which was picked up by Pato who got a good first touch a sent an early shot at goal which Julio Cesar managed to tip off to the right, unfortunately for us though Boateng had anticipated and forced his way past Chivu to send the rebound in to the back of the net, 2-1 to Milan with 20 minutes left.
Gasperini took this as a cue to introduce Pazzini into the game in a attempt to revive the team and spur us on to try and get back in to the game after going behind. Shortly after Castaignos came on in the 83rd minute he created a great chance for Eto’o who vollied it wide. With the introduction of Castaignos the formation changed to a 3 man forward line with Sneijder in the hole but all the fluidity of the first half was long gone. In the final minutes of stoppage time Eto’o got Interista hopes up as he scored on the far post from a cross for it to be ruled offside and that ended all hopes for Inter to win the first trophy of the season and the win went to Milan.
AC Milan 2-1 Inter (HT: 0-1)
Scorers: Sneijder 22; Ibrahimovic 60, Boateng 69.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Bologna); assistants: Copelli and Grilli; fourth official: Mazzoleni.
Booked: Gattuso (19), Sneijder (60), Zambrotta (64), Boateng (77), Ambrosini (85).
Added time: 1+5 minutes.
Corners: 2 for Inter.
Fouls: AC Milan 12; Inter 11.
Gasperini – “In the second half we didn’t play as well from a defensive standpoint, especially if we compare that to what we were able to do in the first half. It’s really a shame because we had the match in our hands and we deserved it. If we had only known how to control the start of the second half better…” The Nerazzurri coach then looked for a diplomatic consolation: “At any rate this has been a wonderful experience, especially for the enthusiasm of the people in China who follow Inter and Italian football.”
Branca- “In the first half Inter looked very good,” “We produced some great football and deservedly took the lead. In that opening period of the game Inter were excellent; they were determined to play as a team, to play well, and to put the coach’s ideas into practice on the pitch. Another positive aspect is how our youngsters fared: they were very good. It wasn’t easy for them in a derby – and a derby that came so early in the season – but they responded well and they put their talent to good use. It’s a real shame for them that we couldn’t celebrate at the end of their first final, but they have shown they are up to the task and they will get other chances for sure.”
Like all Interista i’m sorely disappointed with this loss especially after such a bright start from Inter but I have to say that Milan deserved the win in the end, though things may have been different if Gattuso had recieved the second yellow for his foul on Obi. This trophy wasn’t meant to be for us so now we need to pick ourselves up and before the start of the season at the end of the month Gasperini needs to make sure the mistakes made today aren’t repeated for the rest of the season, and us Interista need to pray that this latest defeat won’t make Sneijder and Eto’o decide that it’s time for them to move on.