16 September 2023


The first meeting of the season goes to Inter

The negative run in the derby has continued into this season. As it has been since last season's Supercoppa, AC Milan have been beaten. It ended 5-1 at San Siro with goals from Mkhitaryan (x2), Thuram, Çalhanoğlu (pen.) and Frattesi; the Rossoneri scored a consolation through Leão. Individual errors and the opposition's ruthlessness were the order of the day. Pioli's side will be sure to lament going a goal down early on (as it was in Riyadh and the Champions League first leg), as well as the fractured collective performance after getting back into the game.

It is now essential to show a reaction and what better chance to do it than the Champions League? The Rossoneri host Newcastle United in Group F at San Siro on Tuesday (18:45 CEST). Motivations to forget the derby and get off to a winning start in Europe will certainly not be lacking. It's a tough one to take, especially after such a good start to the season in Serie A. The Diavolo will end matchday 4 in either third or fourth, three points off top spot. It's in how a team reacts to hardships such as this that one understands the strength of the group.


It was an uphill struggle from the off, as Inter took the lead five minutes in: Thuram, down the right, got past Thiaw’s efforts to stop him and his ball into the box found Dimarco, who drove the ball back towards goal inadvertently setting up Mkhitaryan, who steered it home with his left from inside the six-yard box. Shortly afterwards, there was another nervous moment: Dimarco finding Mkhitaryan in the box, but his flicked header went just wide. AC Milan dominated possession, but hardly threatened in attack until the 31st minute, when Hernández danced his way through on goal but just couldn’t direct his attempt towards the far corner, and the ball drifted past the post. And it was in that moment with belief high, following an effort on goal by Thiaw from distance, that Inter doubled their lead on 38 minutes: Martínez led a quick breakaway, and Thuram, from a tight angle on the edge of the box, fired an incredible and unstoppable rocket right into the top corner. Giroud’s free-kick over the bar ended the half.

The game re-started with Thuram, in the 51st minute, shooting at goal, which took a deflection taking the sting out of it. The Rossoneri tried to get something going in attack: after 56 minutes, Reijnders tried his luck from distance, but failed to hit the target, before a brilliant flash of improvisation under the rain a minute later: Giroud turned and played a lovely ball through for Leão to run onto and, outpacing Darmian, bore down on goal and slotted home past Sommer. It was the lifeline AC Milan were looking for, which disappeared in a short space of time, as the Nerazzurri regained their two-goal advantage. After 66 minutes, Carlos Augusto worked Maignan, before Mkhitaryan got his second of the game on 69 minutes: the Armenian receiving the ball and sending it homebound to give Mike no chance, following a slight deflection off Thiaw. Things went from bad to worse with Hernández fouling Martínez to give away a penalty on 79 minutes: from the spot, Çalhanoğlu made no mistake. The game had now fallen by the wayside: Asllani shot over on 82 minutes and in injury-time the Nerazzurri found one more to make 5-1: Mkhitaryan playing in Frattesi, who timed his run perfectly to slide in and poke it home into the corner.



INTER (3-5-2): Sommer; Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni (74' de Vrij); Dumfries, Barella (64' Frattesi), Çalhanoğlu (80' Asllani), Mkhitaryan, Dimarco (64' Carlos Augusto); Thuram (64' Arnautović), Martínez. Subs: Audero, Di Gennaro; Bisseck, Pavard; Agoumé, Cuadrado, Klaassen, Sensi; Sánchez. Coach: Inzaghi.

AC MILAN (4-3-3): Maignan; Calabria (77' Florenzi), Kjær, Thiaw, Hernández; Loftus-Cheek (86' Musah), Krunić, Reijnders (77' Okafor); Pulisic (56' Chukwueze), Giroud (77' Jović), Leão. Subs: Mirante, Sportiello; Bartesaghi, Pellegrino; Adli, Pobega, Romero. Coach: Pioli.

Referee: Sozza from Seregno.
Goals: 5' e 69' Mkhitaryan (I), 38' Thuram (I), 57' Leão (M), 79' pen. Çalhanoğlu (I), 93' Frattesi (I).
Booked: 24' Thiaw (M), 61' Hernández (M), 72' Çalhanoğlu (I), 94' Frattesi (I).

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