Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wk24: Adriano hands derby to Inter

Serie A Week 24 - 15/2/09 (19.30 UK)
Inter 2 - 1 Milan
Adriano 30 (I), Stankovic 43 (I), Pato 71 (M)
Stadio Meazza

Inter won a dramatic derby 2-1, but there will be controversy as Adriano's opener was scored with his arm.

The 270th Derby della Madonnina was the Rossoneri's last chance of staying in the Scudetto race after falling eight points behind, but they had won in September with Ronaldinho's header. Kaka joined the injury list of Alessandro Nesta, Marco Borriello, Gennaro Gattuso, Zeljko Kalac, Andriy Shevchenko and the suspended Daniele Bonera. Inter had Mario Balotelli on a ban, but Douglas Maicon completed a remarkable recovery from a thigh problem.

Paolo Maldini was playing his 55th derby and probably his last, as he is due to retire at the end of the season. There was a touching moment before kick-off, as the Inter supporters unveiled a banner: 'For 20 years you were our rival, but in life you've always been fair.'

San Siro was sold out with 80,018 tickets sold, but there was a five-minute delay for a hole in the net. In the opening 45 seconds Ibrahimovic was totally unmarked to nod an Esteban Cambiasso free kick over from six yards!

A well-worked move was finalised by Gianluca Zambrota's overhead kick after Alexandre Pato had slipped at the crucial moment. Christian Abbiati was late to a couple of corners and Sulley Muntari drilled well wide. Pato's header was over from Marek Jankulovski's cross, as he jumped between two defenders.

Massimo Ambrosini performed a goal-saving tackle on 18 minutes! Cambiasso's pass had found Dejan Stankovic totally unmarked from six yards, but he Serb hesitated and Ambro came sliding in from behind!

Milan wasted a golden opportunity moments later, as Ronaldinho's inspired pass with the outside of his foot allowed Pato to spring the offside trap and run round Julio Cesar, but the angle was too narrow and Cristian Chivu was able to clear.

Ronaldinho's cross found Pato, but teenage defender Davide Santon got a crucial deflection, allowing Julio Cesar to save. Ronaldinho went on a surging run, but clattered into Chivu. From the corner Dinho's sublime first touch teed it up, but Chivu cleared at the last second.

Andrea Pirlo and Clarence Seedorf combined with first-time passes to send Pato clear, but the young Brazilian slipped. Seedorf blasted over from distance.

Inter took the lead against the run of play, as a Maicon cross swept into the six-yard box for Adriano to tap in. However, replays show he clearly turned the ball in with his arm after a slight ricochet off his head! L'Imperatore seemed to mistime his jump and the ball dipped on to the crook of his elbow to bounce past Abbiati, as the header was seemingly going off target. Last week in the 1-1 draw with Reggina, Seedorf had a similar goal disallowed.

Ronaldinho's cross was knocked down by Zambrotta for Seedorf, whose shot was deflected over. Abbiati blocked a hopeful Adriano shot from 25 metres, while Pato could only hit the side-netting from yet another Ronaldinho assist.

However, a defensive distraction allowed Inter to double their lead on the stroke of half-time. Ibra knocked the cross down and nobody tracked Stankovic, who came through the middle for a fierce low right-foot volley.

Inter had a great chance to kill the game 90 seconds after the restart when Adriano pounced on a Kakha Kaladze error, but he incredibly fired wide one-on-one with Abbiati. Ibrahimovic went on the counter and his ball across the face of goal was just too long for Adriano.

Seedorf couldn't get the first touch he needed on Ronaldinho's through ball and allowed Julio Cesar to smother. Seedorf fired over at the back post, but Pirlo turned a free kick well wide.

Milan wanted a penalty for Stankovic's mistimed tackle on Ambrosini, but the referee awarded a goal kick. Moments later Ambrosini escaped a second booking for bringing down Maicon just outside the box. Ibrahimovic hit the free kick straight at the wall.

Carlo Ancelotti's first substition was Pippo Inzaghi for Beckham, who seemed to have a slight thigh problem, moving to a 4-4-2 with Ronaldinho on the left. Adriano hit the wall with a free kick and then flashed the rebound across the face of goal.

Abbiati stuck a strong hand up to palm Ibrahimovic's rising strike out from the near top corner. A magificent Adriano scissor-kick volley was just over at the back post.

Muntari fired a good Ibra assist off target from eight yards, as Inter were now slicing through the Milan defence. At the other end Maicon nodded a cross off Ronaldinho's head and Chivu needed a last-gasp intervention to stop Seedorf scoring from close range. From the corner Maicon went on the counter only for Abbiati to rush 20 metres off his line to clear.

Milan got one back with Pato, but it was mainly Ronaldinho's credit. The former Barcelona man's pass with the outside of his foot sent Jankulovski clear and the cut-back found Pato to side-foot home.

A minute later it could've been 2-2, as another Ronaldinho through ball sent Inzaghi clear in the same area and Julio Cesar had to rush out to parry with his feet. Walter Samuel charged down Pato's turn and another Inzaghi run set up by Ronaldinho found nobody ready for the tap-in.

At the other end Adriano was clear on goal and his angled drive struck Abbiati's elbow to bounce away! The game was wide open now and Dinho's step-overs left Samuel stranded only for Chivu to intercept the pass for Inzaghi.

Philippe Senderos replaced the exhausted Kaladze, who was returning from a long injury lay-off.

Inzaghi hit the back of the net with a magnificent volley from Pato's cross, but it was offside and he ran the entire width of the pitch to shout at the linesman. SuperPippo was in an offside position.

Milan were furious again when Chivu appeared to drag back Inzaghi as he tried to control a pass, but the referee again waved play on and Julio Cesar parried Pato's effort with a leg.

Inzaghi was offside again as his diving header turned Zambrotta's cross over. Nicolas Burdisso replaced Stankovic for a more defensive midfield. Within a minute of coming on, Burdisso was booked. Abbiati palmed a Maicon cross-shout out from under the bar on the counter and Maxwell replaced Muntari for a six-man Inter defence.

Seedorf's shot from a cheeky Pato cross was charged down for a corner. In the final minute Inzaghi was sent clear and his angled drive was heading for the far bottom corner before Julio Cesar stuck a foot out! The goalkeeper was booked for time-wasting and will be suspended.


Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Samuel, Chivu, Santon; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Muntari (Maxwell 88); Stankovic (Burdisso 83); Ibrahimovic, Adriano (Vieira 79)

Milan: Abbiati; Zambrotta, Maldini, Kaladze (Senderos 77), Jankulovski; Beckham (Inzaghi 57), Pirlo, Ambrosini; Seedorf, Ronaldinho; Pato

Ref: Rosetti

Channel 4