Monday, September 29, 2008

Serie A Week 5:Milan 1 - 0 Inter

Serie A Week 5 - 28/9/08 (19.30 UK)
Milan 1 - 0 Inter
Ronaldinho 37 (M)
Stadio San Siro

Ronaldinho's debut Serie A goal gave Milan the Derby della Madonnina to end Inter's undefeated record, but Nicolas Burdisso saw red!

This was an all-star derby and both teams brought out the big guns. Carlo Ancelotti was without the injured Marco Borriello, Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Nesta and Pippo Inzaghi, so he unveiled the Brazilian trio of Ronaldinho, Kaka and Alexandre Pato. Jose Mourinho went with Ricardo Quaresma, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Amantino Mancini.

This was Mourinho's first derby, although he had met Ancelotti once before, losing the European Super Cup with Porto. The Rossoneri had a disastrous start to the campaign, but were coming off three straight wins between Serie A and the UEFA Cup. San Siro was sold out and the Inter end was covered in a banner that read: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight the city of Milan is proud to present...'

In the opening three minutes Kaka and Mancini had shots on goal, but when Milan pushed forward, Inter put 10 men behind the ball and prepared to pounce on rapid counter-attacks.

An acrobatic Marco Materazzi clearance prevented Pato going clear on goal from nine yards on Ronaldinho's chipped pass, but at the other end an Ibrahimovic cross-shot was kicked out by an outstretched Christian Abbiati foot.

Kaka had penalty appeals waved away for a Materazzi arm on his face as he tried to jump for a deflected ball. Gianluca Zambrotta scored a stunning screamer last week and tried to repeat the trick, firing just over from 30 metres.

Inter had a great chance on 17 minutes, as Douglas Maicon threaded a splendid pass through for Ibrahimovic and his first touch let him down so Abbiati could fly out to smother at his feet.

Kaka's shot was charged down, ricocheted into the path of Pato, who also had a strike clatter into Nicolas Burdisso from 10 yards. At the other end Abbiati got a hand to a long pass to take it off Ibra's foot, but was fortunate that the loose ball did not reach an Inter player before he backpedalled.

Maicon hit the side-netting, but Milan had a fantastic chance on 25 minutes. Ronaldinho and Kaka combined down the left flank for the former Barcelona man's angled drive, bringing a splendid save out of Julio Cesar at the near post.

Pato pounced on a Quaresma error, but Cristian Chivu's sliding tackle prevented a very dangerous counter.

Abbiati got down to have his palms stung by an Ibrahimovic rocket, but on the counter-attack Kaka sprung the offside trap down the right flank and chipped up a pass for Ronaldinho's towering header from eight yards! Dinho out-jumped Cambiasso and went mad in his celebrations, dancing and riling up the crowd after his first Serie A goal.

Abbiati came flying out to kick a misplaced Gennaro Gattuso backpass away from Ibrahimovic, as the goal forced Inter to change their game plan and pick up the pace. There was curious moment as Gattuso and Ancelotti had a shouting match on the sidelines following a booking, the Coach telling his player to calm down.

Pato went on a blazing run down the right channel, but was closed down at the last second by Julio Cesar. Materazzi would've risked a red card if his collision with Pato was considered to be a foul, as the Brazilian was clear on goal, but the referee waved play on.

Moments later Kaka again wanted a spot-kick for a coming together with Materazzi as he combined with Ronaldinho.

There were no changes at the break and Kaka ballooned well over from an impossible angle. Chivu's free kick skimmed the top of Mancini's head to fall into the grateful arms of Abbiati. Pato was clear on goal, but halted for a very tight but accurate offside flag.

Kaka went down the right channel and his shot was deflected out for a corner off Materazzi. A lucky ricochet threatened to leave Mancini free in the six yard box, but Maldini was able to clear.

Mourinho made a double change with Adriano and Julio Cruz in for Materazzi and Mancini, moving Cambiasso to central defence in a 4-2-3-1 system. Ibrahimovic went on a mazy run through four Rossoneri shirts, but eventually Gattuso and Kaladze managed to squeeze him out for a goal kick.

Ronaldinho threaded through for Kaka, who cut back for Pato, but Cambiasso anticipated with a crucial intervention. Cruz surged forward and blasted a yard wide from distance after a Zambrotta error.

Moments later Cambiasso won back the ball and sent Ibra running, but the Swede's strike with the top of his boot whistled just wide from 20 metres. Gattuso is not 100 per cent fit and is wearing a cast for the hand that suffered multiple fractures in a freak injury. However, he insisted on carrying on after more treatment and Mathieu Flamini replaced Pato.

Quaresm's trivela cross found Ibrahimovic and the shot was charged down at the last second, then Adriano put the ball in the net after play had already been halted for a push on Maldini.

Ambrosini got the crowd on its feet with a series of tackles in quick succession to clear the danger and as Kaka was going on the counter, Burdisso hacked him down for a second bookable offence, leaving Inter with 10 men for the final 14 minutes.

Kaka skipped past Maicon and blasted a strike at Julio Cesar's palms. Dejan Stankovic replaced a tired Vieira in Inter's final substitution.

The game was still wide open, as Abbiati parried a rocket from Adriano, the ball ricocheted back out for Adriano to fire over. Tensions spilled over, as Javier Zanetti was booked for dissent, claiming Flamini had elbowed Adriano, and Materazzi was sent off from the bench for his furious protests. Replays show there was contact, but it was very similar to the first half incident between Materazzi and Kaka, so the referee remained consistent.

Andriy Shevchenko came on as Ronaldinho was given a standing ovation by San Siro. Sheva has an excellent record in the derby, scoring 14 goals in 15 games against Inter.

The cards were flying and Stankovic was booked for a cynical tackle from behind on Kaka that could well have been worthy of a straight red. Flamini had a shot charged down, then Kakha Kaladze knocked the ball down for Flamini and again the Inter bodies flung themselves in the way to prevent a tap-in.

Gattuso threaded through for Shevchenko, who horribly scuffed it well wide. It was Gattuso's final contribution, as his hand was still hurting and he made way for Daniele Bonera. Sheva did considerably better a minute later, as he ran into acres of space and brought a fantastic save out of Julio Cesar to tip the powerful rising right-foot strike out from under the bar.

It was still 1-0 and Inter poured forward with bedlam in the box, as Adriano, Quaresma and Ibrahimovic had attempts charged down in a patch of grass around the six-yard line. There were five minutes of stoppages and Maicon chipped a splendid cross to the back post, but Adriano didn't make perfect contact and nodded it wide from a yard!

In the final seconds Adriano knocked down a Cruz pass for Ibrahimovic to volley well over.


Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze, Jankulovski; Gattuso (Bonera 88), Seedorf, Ambrosini; Kakà, Ronaldinho (Shevchenko 83); Pato (Flamini 74)

Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi (Cruz 59), Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Vieira (Stankovic 80); Quaresma, Ibrahimovic, Mancini (Adriano 59)

Ref: Morganti
Sent off: Burdisso 76 (I), Materazzi 82 (I - from bench)

Channel 4