AC Milan had been on a successful spell prior to yesterday’s Derby della Madonnina versus Inter Milan. Since their 5-0 loss to Atalanta prior to Italy’s Christmas break, the Rossoneri earned 11 out of 15 total points in five league matches. In addition, they moved from the Round of 16 to the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. Things were going well, especially with Zlatan Ibrahimović on board, but then came Italy’s historic derby.
AC Milan’s Derby Della Madonnina Disappointment
Milan kept their positive strides going on in the first half of the game. They dominated possession and were attacking at will. The confidence the players had was almost shocking, as it had been lacking on the red and black side of the San Siro for years.
Ante Rebić opened up the scoring in the 40th minute. The Croatian is on fantastic form since the turn of the new year and continued to put that on display. It was Ibrahimović, however, who set up the goal. The Swede star was embracing his role as the prolific veteran of the Derby della Madonnina.
Six minutes later, in the first minuted of added time, it was Ibrahimović again getting involved, but this time finding the back of the net on his own. His header was placed perfectly and Daniele Padelli had no chance.
The Rossoneri entered half-time with a commanding lead. But, for lack of a better term, the second-half was a complete disaster for Milan.
The Milan players seemed to be checked out, even though 45 minutes were left on the clock. Antonio Conte successfully adjusting his Inter squad for a new half was predictable, but Milan manager Stefano Pioli failed to make his own proper adjustments.
The score was tied eight minutes into the second half. Dutch centre-back Stefan de Vrij found the winner for Inter in the 70th minute, and Romelu Lukaku ended all hopes with another goal in added time.
Individual errors, a lack of urgency, and not having a 90-minute game plan has haunted Milan for years. Yesterday’s derby was no different.
Milan Looking Forward
Inter boasts talent like Lukaku, De Vrij, and Christian Eriksen. In addition, Conte is a proven coach with success in Italy, England, and national football. Milan, on the other hand, have Ibrahimović in his twilight years and a manager who knows his job is nothing more than an interim position.
A draw would’ve pleased the majority of fans, but the manner of the performance rubbed salt into the wound. It also, most likely, effectively ended any slim Champions League hopes. Milan currently sit at 10th on the table with 32 points in 23 matches. Fourth place currently belongs to Atalanta, with 42 points. A 10 point gap is a lot to make up for in 15 matches, especially considering Atalanta’s attacking prowess (36 more goals than Milan in the same amount of matches).
Ibrahimović must continue guiding this team as the building pieces are there. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alessio Romagnoli, Ismael Bennacer, and Rafael Leão can be the difference. Theo Hernandez and Rebic are in form. Shrewd, cost-effective moves from Paolo Maldini are in the future. The constant issue, however, has been that the right mentality is missing. The team cannot continue to lose focus, especially with so much on the line.
Qualification for Europa League is still a real possibility. In addition, the team is still in the thick of things for the Coppa Italia. Milan must put this loss behind them quickly. The Coppa Italia semi-final versus Juventus kicks off this coming Thursday.