A lone header from Walter Samuel in the fourth minute was enough to see Inter prevail over AC Milan in the derby. Though it could’ve easily have been 0-2 if Diego Milito had managed to put away the easy shot that he fluffed shortly after. It finished 0-1 to the Nerazzurri in Week 7 of Serie A 2012/13 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Stramaccioni’s men went down to ten men at the start of the second period as Nagatomo saw red for two bookable offences. The game had several issues with bad refereeing and both sides were victims to some terrible decisions, despite this though Inter go third in the league, joining Lazio on 15 points. (via inter.it)
Read my views on the matches main talking points in my article on ESPN FC
The start of the Serie A season is fast approaching and over the summer there has been quite a few changes to not only Inter’s squad but also to most of, if not all the top teams in Italy. We still have over a month left of the mercato to go too so there may be many changes still to come. I am really excited for the start of this season’s campaign with Inter having many fresh faces ready to do battle in our sacred colours of Black and Blue, and also with the young and talented Andrea Stramaccioni officially at the helm we can be sure of some entertaining and exciting football for the Nerazzurri in the coming months.
In the pre-season so far there have been quite a few Inter players that are making a good impression and I hope to see them stamping their authority over the Italian league throughout the season, some of the names that have been impressing the most are:
All I can say is wow what a fantastic game! The Derby Della Madoninna is always an exciting and tense game between two of world football’s superpowers in the city that is known around the world as the capital of football but this one carried importance on so many levels. For Inter it was must win to stay in the chase for an European place, for Milan it was must win to take the title race with Juventus to the last day and for both clubs, as always, it was to determine who would have the bragging rights across the city of Milano and also the world.
The game didn’t disappoint either with six goals, three penalties, tension, passion and most importantly a derby double for the mighty Nerazzurri! This game will go down in football history as one of, if not THE greatest derby ever!
INTERNAZIONALE MONTHLY REVIEW: Gennaro/January
This is the first of what I hope is a regular monthly review of everything that has happened in the month just passed. Month by month I will look at all things Nerazzurri, the players, the goals, news and all things good, bad and little of the ugly from Inter this month.
What a weekend for us Interisti and what a game! This season’s first league Derby Della Madonnina was hugely hyped up around the world, more so than usual it seemed, and with both teams being in the best form of the season it was looking to be an epic game. Unfortunately to be honest it wasn’t quite the classic match I had expected and my predicted score of 2-3 to Inter was a fair few goals off the reality but what is important is the fact that Inter won and closed the gap on the top of the table by another 2 points. (Juventus of course gaining only one point this week from being held to a draw at home by Cagliari, *Childish chuckle* 😉 )
This fixture of course was the Rossoneri home fixture and they were looking to hold on to their record of not losing at home since 18th December 2010 when Roma defeated them, led by none other than our very own Claudio Ranieri, so it was quite fitting that this record was broken by the same man in his very first Milan Derby. Before the match both the Curva Sud and Curva Nord Ultras gave their usual stunning displays, shown above and below, and the scene was set for the greatest city derby in the world to begin for the 190th time since the 1929/30 season.
It was Inter’s treble winning hero Diego Milito that showed he was ready for the upcoming season by hitting the crossbar and also scoring the winning goal against Milan to secure the trophy in the second match for Inter in the pre season triangular tournament. The trophy itself doesn’t really mean anything but if your one of the clubs that doesn’t win it you can be sure of some serious criticism. The competition consists of three 45 minute games and the winner is the team with the most points at the end of the night, Inter claimed the trophy with 5 points: 2 for the win against Juventus on penalties and 3 for our 1-0 win against Allegri’s AC Milan. It was by no means a perfect night for the Nerazzurri but it was clear that the team is starting to find it’s shape with the return of south American players that have missed out on the previous pre season games, and even with our new formations and tactics our old character still stood out giving us Interista hope that things are going to come together as the start of the season approaches.
The evening started with the mini derby d’Italia against Juve which ended 1-1 and was decided on penalties
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.
Here we are just days before Inter take on AC Milan in the 2011 Italian Super Cup at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. The match, which will be shown live on RaiUno in Italy, kicks off at 20:00 local time (14:00 CET) on Saturday 6 August or for those like me that live outside of Italy you can find live streams of the match online at FreeFootball.org or at Free Live Sports TV. With the Derby della Madonnina in Serie A not coming till the 18th week (Jan 15th 2012), i’m thankful for this years Supercup being against our cross town rivals, even though it won’t be played at the Meazza, as that is a long time to have to wait for one of the highlights of the Calcio calender.
Last night the derby didn’t go according to plan for the Nerazzurri, the match started badly when straight from the kick off Inter were caught sleeping as Milan flew out of the starting blocks and Pato hit the back of the net in just 45 seconds. After that Inter took about 30 minutes to start looking like they could reply but it wasn’t meant to be as in the second half Chivu got a red card after which Milan seemed to run rings around Inter which was shown when Pato netted his second, the kick in the teeth really came on 88 minutes when Zanetti gave away a penalty that Cassano put away finishing the game 3-0. All in all it was a terrible match for Inter with Sneijder & Eto’o hardly affecting the game, there were two positives though firstly Julio Cesar had a great game and was Inter’s man of the match for me as if it wasn’t for him it could have easily been 6-0 to Milan. The second is that the Guiseppe Meazza pitch looked much better after being returfed.
This was Inter skipper Javier Zanetti’s 35th consecutive Milan derby, and the first as a black-and-blue for Leonardo, Pazzini and Ranocchia. AC Milan v Inter was the big match in Week 31 of Serie A 2010/11 but it was more than just a six-pointer at the top of the table: this fixture is the meeting of two great histories and of many, many emotions. 80,000 people crammed into the Stadio Meazza but unfortunately this evening the emotions were greater for Rossoneri fans
FIRST HALF –
Lucio was ruled out of the game through suspension so Leonardo went for a central defensive pairing of Ranocchia and Chivu, and played captain Zanetti and Maicon in the full-back berths. Pazzini spearheaded the attack with Pandev, Sneijder and Eto’o in support. The Rossoneri, who had Ibrahimovic suspended, started with Robinho and Pato up front.
The match began in the worst possible way for Inter, as AC Milan took the lead after just 47 seconds. Pato began the move on the edge of the box: he laid off to Gattuso, whose pass put Robinho in with a shooting opportunity; Julio Cesar came out to block the shot but the rebound fell for Pato to fire home. For Inter, Pandev was the first to line up a shot down the other end, on 6 minutes, when his long-range effort was smothered by Abbiati. Milan soon threatened again themselves when Pato’s cross curled just too far ahead of Robinho (8 minutes). A minute later the Rossoneri had a penalty appeal turned down, after Seedorf’s venomous volley hit Maicon’s hand – the Brazilian accused of spreading his arms.
Sneijder was disturbed by laser beams as he waited to take his 30-yard free kick after Zambrotta had brought down Pandev, and the Dutchman’s attempt to catch Abbiati out sailed over the bar. Inter’s first real chance came in the 19th minute: Pandev played in Pazzini, who squeezed his way through two defenders and poked a shot towards goal, forcing Abbiati to make a great reflex save.
AC Milan turned the pressure up once more with a long-range drive from Zambrotta (25 mins), before Pato twice threatened again but was denied by Ranocchia (25) and Zanetti (27). Julio Cesar’s goal shook on 37 minutes, after Van Bommel’s 35-yard piledriver took a deflection off Chivu and came back off the bar. Soon after Thiago Motta thought he had scored when he nodded goalwards from Sneijder’s corner: Abbiati looked to be behind the goalline when he clawed away with two hands but the ball probably didn’t cross the line. If that wasn’t an equaliser, Inter should have found one 2 minutes before the break: Pandev’s cross flicked on by Cambiasso landed for Eto’o at the far post, yet, only yards out and with just the keeper to beat, he dragged his shot wide. No added time was played and the Nerazzurri went in a goal behind.
SECOND HALF –
The same 22 players came out after the interval, but Gattuso was forced off with a muscle injury 6 minutes into the half, Flamini coming on to replace him.
Another key moment in the match came in the 54th minute when Chivu was sent off for clipping Pato from behind as the last man. From the resulting free kick, Julio Cesar was well placed to parry a fierce strike from Thiago Silva (56 mins), but could do nothing to stop Pato making it 2-0: Seedorf found Abate in space on the right and the Rossoneri full-back hit an angled cross towards the back post where Pato was on hand to double the Rossoneri’s lead. That prompted Leonardo to bring on Milito for Pazzini but Julio Cesar remained Inter’s busiest man, denying Robinho from close range. Stankovic was brought on after 71 minutes yet it was the ‘home’ side that continued to pile on the pressure; Cordoba saved the day as he prevented Robinho, who had been one-on-one with Julio Cesar, from scoring. The Brazilian duel continued in the 77th minute, with the keeper sticking out a foot to block an angled shot and further frustrate the ex-Man City player. With one minute of normal time remaining Zanetti’s foul on Cassano inside the box gave the second-half substitute the chance to score from the spot, which he did to make it 3-0. However, he was booked for taking his shirt off in celebration, which in hindsight wasn’t a wise move because he picked up a second yellow for a high challenge almost immediately afterwards, meaning he had to leave the pitch 11 minutes after coming on. After 3 minutes of stoppage time, Rizzoli blew an end to the derby, with the honours going to the Rossoneri this time.
AC Milan 3-0 Inter (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Pato 1, Pato 62, Cassano 89 (pen).
AC Milan: 1 Abbiati; 20 Abate, 13 Nesta, 33 Thiago Silva, 19 Zambrotta; 8 Gattuso (16 Flamini, 51), 4 Van Bommel, 10 Seedorf; 27 Boateng; 70 Robinho (99 Cassano, 80), 7 Pato (18 Emanuelson, 84).
Subs: 12 Amelia, 15 Papastathopoulos, 76 Yepes, 77 Antonini.
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri.
Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 15 Ranocchia, 26 Chivu, 4 Zanetti; 8 Thiago Motta, 19 Cambiasso (5 Stankovic, 71); 27 Pandev (2 Cordoba, 54), 10 Sneijder, 9 Eto’o; 10 Pazzini (22 Milito, 62)
Subs: 12 Castellazzi, 14 Kharja, 23 Materazzi, 55 Nagatomo.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Bologna).
Booked: Robinho 26, Maicon 41, Van Bommel 53, Zambrotta 65, Zanetti 88, Cassano 90.
Sent off: Chivu 54, Cassano 90+2.
Added time: 0+3 mins.
“I don’t consider it a surrender, even if five points are a lot,” said Leonardo as he commented on the defeat against AC Milan. “The match was conditioned by the goal in the 1st minute. It upset the tactics of the game and conditioned us psychologically. If just one of those two chances we had at the end of the first half had gone in, we would have come out after half time with a different attitude; then after ten minutes of the second half came the sending-off which made it all more difficult, even if AC Milan deserved it, too. We didn’t manage to get into our stride, going one nil down in the first minute put us off our game.
“In theory we had the right formation to make up the goal we conceded, but the other episodes near the end of the first half wouldn’t let us. However, I repeat, the battle for the Scudetto is by no means over, although 5 points out of a possible 21 won’t be easy to make up. It’ll be a fight to the finish because Napoli and Udinese are involved too. The team is mature enough not to worry too much about today’s match.
“The referee’s decisions? I’m not going to talk about those. Whether Gattuso insulted me? I didn’t see it. What did he say? I don’t know. Anyway no one killed anyone else today. They showed their opinion of me and expressed a feeling. I respect that, although I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong.”
Leonardo was asked about how the AC Milan fans reacted to him: “I’ve already said this. I respect everyone’s feelings, but I know what I’ve been through and what I’m going through now. I heard and I saw, but I respect their feelings,” he added.
“We weren’t able to set our forwards off and had difficulty creating spaces. We weren’t able to make many chances even if we could have at the end of the first half. Pato? I know him well, I wasn’t surprised at all. Anyway even if it was an important game to lose, I’m not too disappointed. There’s still a long way to go, and let’s not forget that on Tuesday we have a quarter-final tie in the Champions League waiting for us,” he said.
Javier Zanetti is the first of the Nerazzurri to appear on Inter Channel to analyse the defeat against AC Milan: “I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I know what we think. It’s true, we could have done without losing tonight, but we have to look ahead. There are still seven matches to play this season, we’re in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. That’s football, and “bravo” to Cassano for diving in the area.
“We had a few chances to equalise, especially in the first half. AC Milan defended well in the second half and after Chivu was sent off things became more complicated. They held onto the ball well and kept their lead and that’s why we didn’t score. No one likes to lose a match like this, we’re all disappointed, but as I said, we must look ahead.”
“We feel a bit disappointed about losing, but that’s football. We had been making up ground on the leaders in the league until now, but today it all went wrong.” It was Andrea Ranocchia’s first derby for Inter and unfortunately things didn’t go the way he had hoped. “It was a great match,” said the defender. “Unfortunately it didn’t go our way, but it isn’t all over yet. Last year Inter won everything there was to win and we can’t back down now.”
Then Ranocchia reassured viewers about the condition of his knee: “It’s improving. The medical staff have reassured me and I’m going ahead. These ten days of therapy and rest have done me a lot of good.”
So that was the derby and it really didn’t go to plan for us but we’re still in the running for the Scudetto, it’s going to be hard to make up the 5 point difference in the remaining matches but with a little bit of luck it can happen. All focus must now be on the Champions League quarter finals on Tuesday against Shalke and something really needs to be done about our inconsistent defending, hurry up back Walter Samuel we need you, at least we’ve got Lucio back for Tuesday
1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;
2 Ivan Cordoba, 4 Javier Zanetti, 13 Maicon, 15 Andrea Ranocchia, 23 Marco Materazzi, 26 Cristian Chivu, 55 Yuto Nagatomo;
5 Dejan Stankovic, 8 Thiago Motta, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 14 Houssine Kharja, 17 MacDonald Mariga, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 20 Joel Obi, 29 Philippe Coutinho;
7 Giampaolo Pazzini, 9 Samuel Eto’o, 22 Diego Milito, 27 Goran Pandev.
My predicted line up
It’s great to see Milito back in the squad and i think should take full advantage of that so i predict that Leonardo will play a 4-2-3-1 formation with Julio Cesar obviously in the goal, a defensive line of Maicon, Ranocchia, Chivu & Zanetti, Cambiasso & Motta in the defensive midfield and Eto’o, Sneijder & Pazzini in the forward midfield and Milito spearheading the formation.
It’s a shame Lucio is suspended as he is a vital part of our defense but i feel Ranocchia & Chivu are up to the job anyway.
Leonardo’s Press Conference
“I have lots of different feelings at the moment, on the eve of this derby, but my feelings aren’t the most important thing. I have fond memories of everything that has gone on in my life before now, and I respect the past, but that is only one facet of a fantastic match which is this derby.” That was how Leonardo began as he spoke to journalists in the press room at the Stadio Meazza.
“I do wish I was playing in this game,” Leonardo admitted, “because a coach has a part to play but the game belongs to the players. This isn’t my match, it’s Inter’s match, the players’ match. I’m not seeking revenge.” Asked what reception he expected to be given by the AC Milan fans, Leonardo replied: “As I’ve said, I respect football and everything it represents for people, and I respect others’ opinions. I’m not worried. At the age of 30 I went through a moment when I looked at my life introspectively, when I was caught up in lots of thoughts, but from that moment on I decided I would live this game with joy, and within my own parameters and values. I have my own convictions and I want to live my life with joy. And that includes tomorrow’s game.”
I would expect the Milan fans are going to give Leonardo a hard time during tomorrows match just for the fact that it’s his first derby since his switch to Inter, but given his history with AC i’d imagine he’ll easily take it in his stride.
How have Inter’s preparations for this game gone?
“The players have all lived very different lives over the last two weeks, with so many international games going on, but these players are professionals and I don’t think they are affected much by these things. Naturally there’s a bit of fatigue that we have to deal with,” explained the Nerazzurri coach. He then added that “a derby game goes beyond any sort of tactical consideration, it’s an extraordinary event: we all know each other very well, so I don’t think there are any secrets you can work out or plans you can come up with. Ibrahimovic’s absence? He’s an important player for AC Milan, and a great player, but these are things that can happen.”
For Inter any of our players have the potential to be decisive in these big games but as usual Sneijder & Eto’o are our two main men that Milan will have to watch very closely, though if they concentrate on them two too much Pazzini & Milito will surely punish any mistakes.
He was then asked to comment on the appointment of Nicola Rizzoli as referee: “I never talk about referees after the game so I’m certainly not going to beforehand. For what it’s worth I think he’s a very good referee, but it really makes no difference to me.”
How will Leonardo react, as an ex-AC Milan player, if Inter score? “I’ll react in whatever way feels natural at the time. I feel very much a part of this club and my job is to help the team score goals and win games, so there’s no reason to hold myself back. I don’t know how I will react but I’ll do it freely and I don’t think there’s anything wrong if I feel happy about it.”
Asked to predict the result, Leonardo replied: “It’s hard to say, but we’ll do everything we can to make sure Inter win it, of course. On a psychological level this derby is an energy-drainer and it is important for the league table, but it doesn’t end here so the result won’t be decisive.”
There was an inevitable question about Ganso, the coach’s relationship with the player and the battle with AC Milan for his signature. “I’ve been speaking to Ganso for a while now but it’s not a battle to sign him… What he has to concentrate on now is playing football and recovering properly from a serious injury. I’ve been offering him support over the last year and we’ve built up a relationship, but I don’t know what will happen. And like him, we too have other things to think about at the moment, such as the end of the season.”
And what a climax to the season it’s shaping up to be, after our terrible start with Benitez who’d have thought we’d still be fighting for the treble now, whether or not you like the fact our manager is an ex-Milan player, manager, director the fact remains he has performed miricles with Inter in 2011.
“It’s the biggest match, the match I for one have felt the most intensely over the last ten years, because the local rivalry is really strong and when you’re on that pitch you always want to win it. There’s always that desire to beat the other Milan team.” Marco Materazzi was speaking to Roberto Scarpini in A tu per tu, featured this afternoon during Countdown.
How does it feel when you score in a derby match? “It’s a wonderful sensation, you feel an explosion of joy in yourself and the supporters. I can say that the goal I got in the derby [October 28 2006, AC Milan 3-4 Inter] felt like one of the best I’ve ever scored.”
When Materazzi is reminded that, along with Rino Gattuso, he is the player with the most sendings off and bookings in the derby, he explains that “the yellows were probably all deserved; one of the reds I was given because I took my shirt off after I’d been getting stick for six or seven years, so I got sent off for two yellows; the other one was because Flamini punched Adriano in the head and we should have had a penalty, and Morganti [the referee] – with the whole bench on their feet – saw me say ‘When the f*** are you going to blow for it?’ But that was the first time and the last time because I don’t think you’ll see many more sendings off like that.”
If Materazzi has much in common with Gattuso, the same can be said of him and another good friend of his, Francesco Totti, a player who feels derby matches as intensely as Marco. “If we are friends,” says Matrix, “it’s because we both have blood running through our veins, not water. We have always given everything, and in that sense Francesco is as good an example as you can get.
“It would be wrong to think the championship is over if we win the derby,” Materazzi continued. “They are the favourites, they are two points ahead, but we’ll put in our humble shift tomorrow and try to take home the three points.” What kind of derby will it be? A derby with players missing? “I hope it will be the derby of the 22 who take to the field, because the less you notice the ref, the better it means he’s doing his job. It will be a great game if that happens, a great game with a slice of Scudetto resting on it.”
In what is guaranteed to be a hard faught and passionate derby that could go either way i’m going to predict a 2-1 victory for Inter with Sneijder & Pazzini scoring for the Nerazzurri to put us where we belong at the top of the table.