A nail-biting derby was settled courtesy of a hattrick by Mauro Icardi.
Goals: Mauro Icardi 28′, 63′, 90 | Suso 56′, Handanovic (own goal) 81′
The first Derby della Madonnina of the season turned out to be quite a thriller with Inter Milan running out winners against fiercest rivals, AC Milan with a 3-2 scoreline. Mauro Icardi scored a 90th-minute penalty to seal the game for Inter and earn bragging rights until the next Milan derby. Icardi also completed his hattrick continuing his red-hot streak this campaign (9 goals in 8 matches).
Inter went on to take a lead twice but were found levelled by a spirited AC Milan performance. First, Suso scored for Milan with a curling left-foot shot whereas, for the second, Samir Handanovic parried the ball into his own net from a Giacomo Bonaventura header.
The win has solidified Inter’s second position in the league whereas Milan have dropped to as low as being tenth on the table. On that note, here are the five talking points from a well-fought, highly entertaining Milan derby:
#1 A complete performance from Mauro Icardi
Icardi was on the bench recently when Argentina beat Ecuador in thrilling fashion to qualify for the World Cup. Icardi never got a look in but he made sure that he received the attention he deserves on the biggest of stages.
Captaining an Inter side in a Milan derby can be a big mental challenge but the forward not only overcome that but scored a proper striker’s hattrick to take his tally to nine this season.
Two of his goals were Icardi being purely instinctive and taking a position and a run at the correct moment to guide the ball into the net. Also, the winning penalty might have been the toughest of his career with the match being in the balance at that moment and the time ticking down the drain.
But he showed that he was the coolest mind on the field to slot the ball past a hapless Donnarumma. Icardi has 87 Inter goals to his name and will be ecstatic to score his first goal from open play since August.
#2 AC Milan still a work in progress
After spending €200 million in the summer and completing an overhaul like no other, AC Milan were tipped to get back among the teams challenging for the Scudetto. But it was going to be a challenge for Vincenzo Montella to turn the fortunes around in quick time which is proving to be the case until now.
Four defeats in eight league games do not bode well for the under-pressure manager but it is understood that the Milan owners have given Montella an assurance about his future with the club. His side showed character to stand up and be counted against an in-form Inter side and deservedly scored twice against the best defence in Italy at the moment. Milan had the majority of the possession and were on top for most of the second half.
Improvements are there to be seen but the results need to match those if AC Milan have to justify their big spending last summer with Montella increasing the scrutiny over his time with the club.
#3 Antonio Candreva impresses on the big stage
The winger/wing back has often been criticized for his wastefulness in the final third and not contributing enough in the attacking department. Though he has been a crucial member of this Inter side, his attacking output has always put a question mark on his future with the club.
Coming on the back of scoring a winner for Italy against Albania, Candreva was in fine form against Milan and produced one of his best performances in a Nerazzurri shirt. Candreva provided an assist for Icardi’s opener; an inch-perfect cross coming in from the right flank.
He could have had another assist with a pass to Matias Vecino whose shot went agonizingly wide. Candreva’s one attempt at goal hit the crossbar in what was an effective first half from the Italian.
Each of Inter’s threatening attacks in the first half came from the right wing and with him bombarding on that flank, Milan fullback Ricardo Rodriguez was pegged back for the majority of the time.
#4 Was it a penalty though?
The game was looking like it might end with honours shared at two goals apiece. Just at that moment, Inter received a corner in the 89th minute. The resulting corner was followed by the most talked about decision of the game with referee feeling that defender, Ricardo Rodriguez had impeded Danilo D’Ambrosio and blew his whistle to signal a spot kick.
Inter scored but the decision left a bad taste in Milan manager, Vincenzo Montella’s mouth. Montella was understandably distraught in his post-match press conference and even accused D’Ambrosio of making the most of the situation.
He said, “Ricardo did not pull him down. He was very skilled, D’Ambrosio, and it makes me angry to lose in this way. I hope we get a penalty like this in the next games.”
The replays suggest that there was not enough contact from Rodriguez to it being judged a penalty in the final minute of the Milan derby but some cunning work by the Inter defender led to the match being settled by a dubious decision.
#5 Inter Milan are back!
Much of Inter Milan’s work prior to this season went under the radar because of the high spending of their rivals. Luciano Spalleti joined in from Roma in June and has gone on to make a brilliant start to his life with the Nerazzurri.
His side are still unbeaten in the league with Inter sitting second on the table, two points behind leaders Napoli!
Spalleti has rejuvenated a blunt looking Inter attack with the likes of Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Borja Valero performing at a high level. More importantly, the defence has been absolutely brilliant so far in the league.
Inter have conceded just five this season with two of them coming against Milan tonight. Wins against Roma and Milan has put Spalleti’s Inter back on track and after a big derby win, Inter Milan can now be said as genuine title contenders.