Sunday, May 4, 2008

Derby: Milan destroy Inter dreams

Serie A Week 36 - 4/5/08 (14.00 UK)
Milan 2 - 1 Inter
Inzaghi 52 (M), Kaka 56 (M), Cruz 76 (I)
Stadio San Siro


Pippo Inzaghi and Kaka won a dramatic derby that ruins Inter's Scudetto celebrations, cutting their lead to just three points!

Rarely has a Derby della Madonnina been so highly charged, as Inter could win the Scudetto and rub their rivals' noses in it, while Milan needed a victory to maintain any hope of reaching a Champions League spot. Bragging rights were also at stake, as the Nerazzurri were on track for a fourth consecutive derby triumph.

There were no suspension worries, but Nelson Dida, Ronaldo, Paolo Maldini, Emerson, Serginho, Olivier Dacourt, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Walter Samuel, Ivan Cordoba and Luis Figo were injured. Nuno Maniche was a surprise choice when Dejan Stankovic failed to recover from a muscular problem, while teen prodigies Alexandre Pato and Mario Balotelli were on the bench.

The Rossoneri had the stronger start with Massimo Ambrosini and Clarence Seedorf firing wide, while Kaka caused quite a few problems for Nelson Rivas. Julio Cesar parried an Inzaghi strike and Inter were pinned back into their own half.

Inzaghi was inches away from getting his head to a dangerous Daniele Bonera cross from six yards out, while Zeljko Kalac smothered a Maniche strike from distance. Giuseppe Favalli went off with an ankle injury, making way for Marek Jankulovski.

In first half stoppages Kaka lobbed a cross into the six-yard box where Inzaghi's diving header incredibly squirmed wide of the target!

The deadlock was finally broken on 52 minutes, as Kaka got down the right flank and crossed for Inzaghi's header. It was SuperPippo's ninth goal in five games.

Instead of fighting back, Inter seemed to crumble as Milan came forward in waves and Seedorf fired over. Five minutes on Kaka doubled their lead, as Ambrosini dispossessed a defender for the Brazilian to slide an angled drive into the far bottom corner.

After this second goal the Nerazzurri decided to get into the game, as Kalac parried a Maniche effort with his knee and Hernan Crespo drilled wide. The whole match turned on its head with Inter now dominating, Kalac palming a Douglas Maicon rocket over the bar and Balotelli on for Maniche.

Crespo wanted a penalty for a Bonera challenge on a corner kick, but play was waved on.

Inter halved the deficit with a curling Cruz free kick that went over the wall and left Kalac rooted to the spot with 15 minutes to go. Inevitably, it meant the Nerazzurri pinned Milan back into their own half, while Pato replaced Inzaghi to take advantage of the counter.

Marco Materazzi's header from a corner was wide, but there was another free kick from a similar position and this time Cristian Chivu went for the near top corner with Kalac's great save.

The final kick of the game was a set piece for Inter after Jankulovski's crunching tackle, but Chivu turned it way over.


Milan: Kalac; Bonera, Nesta, Kaladze, Favalli (Jankulovski 41); Gattuso (Brocchi 66), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Kaka, Seedorf; Inzaghi (Pato 77)

Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Rivas (Maxwell 81), Materazzi, Chivu; Vieira, Zanetti, Cambiasso; Maniche (Balotelli 65); Cruz, Crespo (Suazo 72)

Ref: Rosetti

Channel 4