The 219th Milan derby was hyped to the moon and certainly did not disappoint. The two Milan sides spent a combined £250million between them in the summer, and as a result, this match was billed as the re-birth of the Milan derby. However, going into this game, only one of the two had proved their worth in money. Inter Milan were unbeaten in the league, winning 6 and only drawing 1. On the other hand, Montella’s Milan side had just lost their last two games and trailed Inter by 7 points prior to kick-off.
With all that on the line, the two sides gave us an enthralling game to analyse. A Mauro Icardi brace was initially cancelled out through goals by Suso & Fabio Borini. But in the final minute of normal time, Mauro Icardi scored his third with a controversial penalty.
Here are 3 talking points from Inter Milan’s 3-2 win over AC Milan.
Wing-Backs vs Wingers
It’s no secret that a significant component of Inter Milan’s philosophy is to bombard crosses from wide positions. Ivan Perišić and Antonio Candevra are instructed to stay wide and pinpoint crosses to the ever-reliable Mauro Icardi. It was that game plan that led to the opening goal of the game.
That’s why Vincenzo Montella maintained his 3-5-2 formation at the San Siro. He planned to play two attacking wing-backs in Ricardo Rodríguez and Fabio Borini in the hope that they would pin back Inter Milan’s wingers. Instead, the opposite happened as Borini & Rodríguez found themselves defending more than they wanted.
In the second half, the wing-backs did their best to support the attack, but it just led to AC being more susceptible to the counter-attack. However, the increased pressure down the flanks allowed AC to hold onto possession for longer periods.
Mauro Icardi strikes, again
Cometh the hour, cometh the man, Mauro Icardi once again delivered for Inter Milan when they needed him most. After a cagey opening 27 minutes, Inter’s main man decided to pop up and make use of his first chance of the game. It’s been a similar story for the Argentinean all season, not only does he have the best shot accuracy in the league (83%), he has also has the best chance conversion rate (39%). That’s the literal definition of a clinical striker that rises to the occasion when all eyes are watching.
The neat finish from a magical Antonio Candevra was Icardi’s 7th league goal this season. Last season he scored 24 Serie A goals, and he already looks set to better that tally this campaign. If that wasn’t enough, the 24-year-old added a second of the game in the 63rd minute to give Inter a short-lived lead. And in typical main man fashion, Icardi stepped up in the last minute to convert a game-deciding penalty.
A tale of two halves
In the first half, we witnessed two teams in contrasting form show the fruits of that form. In the second half, we saw AC Milan’s summer spending come into play. Vincenzo Montella’s Milan team came from behind twice in the second half to level the score and did so while outplaying their superior rivals.
Milan played with more aggression, organisation, cohesion and purpose in the second half as they exploited Inter’s inability to deal with midfield overloads. If they’d started the game in similar fashion, there’s no question they would have won the game.