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Milan Top Of Table After Derby Win

AC Milan's supporters cheer their team during their Italian Serie A soccer derby match against inter Milan at the San Siro stadium in Milan November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER)

The Serie A had some fantastic matches played this weekend, and probably the one that most people watched was the Milan derby. The match finished with AC Milan winning thanks to a lone goal by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, scored from the penalty spot. The match was interesting, and while it might not have had too much goalmouth action, I certainly found it entertaining. Here’s what happened at the San Siro.

The match began full of intensity and support from both sets of fans, but things changed drastically after just five minutes. A good run from Ibrahimovic was spotted by Seedorf who picks him out, the Swede runs towards his former team’s goal, but was brought down by Materazzi in the box. An obvious penalty for AC Milan, and while things were looking bad for Materazzi in his first appearance this season, things were looking great for Ibrahimovic who had the perfect chance to score against his former side.

The Swede stepped up and sent Castellazzi the wrong way with a wonderfully taken penalty. Just five minutes in, Rafa Benitez’s side was losing. Things went downhill for Inter, they were literally unable to create anything. It was scary seeing a side which was so powerful last season, have difficulty stringing three passes together in this match. The main problem with Inter Milan was the lack of movement from the forwards, Milito was a statue up front, and Eto’o was isolated on the left wing, trying to dribble too many times.

AC Milan on the other hand didn’t fully take advantage of Benitez’s shell-shocked side, while they created opportunities with quick counter-attacks, they should’ve scored another goal. The match took a turning point in the 36th minute, when Rafa Benitez was forced to take off Obi because the Nigerian had hurt himself. While at first it seemed like Cambiasso was going to go on, it was Coutinho who replaced Obi, injecting pace, intensity, and a direct approach which lit up the match. Inter began to create more, but they still weren’t getting any shots on target, and then went into halftime losing by a goal.

AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) jumps for the ball against Inter Milan's Lucio and Dejan Stankovic (R) during their Italian Serie A soccer derby match at the San Siro stadium in Milan November 14, 2010. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The second half was more exciting, Allegri took off Gattuso who had risked getting a red card in the first half, and replaced him with Pirlo. Benitez also decided to make a change, taking off Milito and putting on Pandev, in hope of another injection of pace, invention, and flair like Coutinho had done in the first half.

The only thing that Pandev achieved for Inter in the second half was starting up a bit of a pushing fight with Abate. Abate already had a yellow card, and when he kicked the back (he was going for the ball) of Pandev’s foot, the Macedonian turned around right away, and pushed Abate to the ground. Abate got up right away, and decided to push Pandev back, and it was then that Tagliavento noticed the fight, and he ran over and booked both players with a yellow. It was Abate’s second, and he was sent off.

But still, AC Milan showed that they weren’t second-best, defending well against a mediocre Inter team. The rossoneri held on well, and after losing four consecutive derbies to Inter, they finally won. A very interesting match which puts AC Milan top of the table, leading Inter by six points now. It’s evident that Rafa Benitez and Inter Milan are in crisis, the question is, can the Spaniard lead them out of it? What are your thoughts to what happened at the San Siro? Share your thoughts by commenting below!

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  1. Niccolo Conte

    November 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I think that Moratti thought that given the right tools, Benitez would create a side which played free-flowing, “Spanish” football. Yet an extensive injury list has slowed down progress, and the World Cup hangover is a good point.

  2. David H

    November 16, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Not sure what new Benitez could add, seeing as how Moratti bought him nothing over the summer. I hate Inter, but I can’t see how Benitez can possibly be blamed for how the season’s started. Their injury list in incredible, and blaming him for the usual World Cup hangover is unfair. Nevertheless, I’d be happy to see Inter continue to sink down the table.

    • totoro

      November 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

      Well, it’s hard to tell how much is post-WC fatigue and injuries and how much is Benitez. I would guess injuries and Benitez both hold some of the blame. Injuries have hurt, to be sure–Eto’o has been the one consistent force and coupled with Milito’s fitness troubles this year, Eto’o has been up top exclusively. During last year’s run Eto’o was often on a wing or dropping back. Perhaps not his best spot, but he bought in to the team concept and contributed greatly both on offense and defense. So while he’s made up for Milito up top, they are still missing his effective play behind the forward position.

      Sneijder has been very quiet this season. Hard to see that it’s entirely WC fatigue. Losing Cambiasso for long periods of time and the decrease of effectiveness of Maicon coming forward could contribute to that. But how much of that is also Benitez not making the tactical adjustments you know Mourhinho would have made?

      Though Benitez’s flexibility in making adjustments can also be affected by injuries…e.g., Pandev has to start so they can’t bring him off the bench to bring in fresh legs or added width.

  3. Rami S.

    November 15, 2010 at 1:43 am

    As we discussed in previous comments, it’s hard to see Inter win Serie A or Champions League this season. The Nerazzurri might have to settle for Coppa Italia or an empty season.

    Even when they didn’t have the extensive injury list, Inter were playing well below their best. Some players were tired after the World Cup while others have lost the hunger after last season’s treble or have lost their focus with the departure of Mourinho.

    It would be unfair to blame all on Benitez but to be frank he has introduced nothing new to the squad…

    • Hasan Askari

      November 16, 2010 at 1:28 am

      Rafa Benitez is the best thing that happened to Milan after 2007 UCL!

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