Milan 1, Inter 1: Evening at the Theater

It was a much anticipated Derby, even if the football was never going to live up to the hype. A sold out San Siro, the return after seven years of drums and megaphones to the stadium, and a new coach for Inter while a Milan legend oversaw his first Derby. The fans showed up in record-breaking numbers, the Milan Curva showed up with amazing coreografia as usual, and the Inter Curva did the same thing they've been doing for 45 years: suck. Perfect atmosphere for a Derby. And I think the players did their best, too. But perhaps the most disappointing thing about the night was that we were reminded once again of how diminished the level of play is in all of Serie A right now. Yet both teams  fought until the final whistle. They put on the best show they could in the theater that is the San Siro.

"When you are in hell, only the devil can save you"

Muntari didn't disappoint, losing the ball at every opportunity, or simply turning it straight over to his ex-team. In the 13th, he singlehandedly tried to make the Dodo extinct again. The elbow to Dodo's face left a lasting impression, as his mouth kept bleeding throughout the match. Diego Lopez was called into action early and relatively often, more than once to atone for Muntari's errors. Like the Guarin shot in the 11th, for example. But he was brilliant, and proved himself in the Derby della Madonnina tonight.

But the match took a turn for the better in the 23rd, when El Shaarawy put in a beautiful cross, and Menez, with his devil-may-care attitude, used the side of his right foot to send it past Handanovic on the volley. 1-0 Milan. If the atmosphere in the stadium wasn't amazing enough already, it went up spectacularly after this beautiful display.

Not so beautiful was our captain for the night (I use that term in the loosest sense of the word.) Philippe Mexes tried to keep the Derby tradition alive of acruing cards by earning a yellow card in the 28th. (How many of those last ditch fouls result in cards for our defenders after Muntari has worked his magic?) Oddly, despite Muntari's best efforts, there were only four yellow cards total in this match, two for each side. That is perhaps the lowest card total for a Derby in recent memory. Milan's second yellow was earned by Bonaventura for a foul on Palacio in the 66th. There were plenty of physical matchups, fouls, etc. with all of the usual suspects getting involved. And Menez did his best to audition for Barca yet again, selling all contact as if he were vying for an Academy Award.

The second half saw Inter take it up a notch, and Milan responding. There were some great chances that were missed, like Bonaventura's shot in the 52nd that was blocked, El Shaarawy's open net miss that hit the crossbar instead in the 75th, and Poli's shot in stoppage time that was deflected. But it was Obi, having been called out by the Curva's "Saw" coreo (the character in the movie who is being addressed is called Obi,) who equalized for Inter in the 61st. 1-1 all.

One thing that keeps hitting me every time we concede is that Milan do not seem to know how to anticipate the plays. The defense are always chasing the ball instead of positioning themselves to anticipate their opponents. One defender who was my hero tonight though was Rami. He had never played right back before in his life. What a debut. He was a beast, sending in crosses and fending off Inter players like he'd been playing there his whole life. His counterpart, De Sciglio, did not impress as much, getting nutmegged at least twice by Inter players, and taking that Boateng-like cross/shot-thing that left everyone scratching their heads. Every time he comes back from playing winger for Conte's squad, he plays really poorly. Let's hope he shakes this one off quickly.

The rest of the match was an entertaining battle, everything Inter did to press harder, Milan pressed back even more. Inzaghi's subs were great this time, as he took the underwhelming Torres off for the instant-impact Honda in the 73rd, and the match-killer Sulley "The Killer" Muntari for the ex-inter Poli in the 76th. Only a Pazzini sub on to score against his old team in the dying minutes could have been more perfect.

I feel like the draw disappointed many fans, but I thought it was a good game, both teams considered. I would be far more disappointed to not get the three points as an Inter fan, with a new coach, finally switching to their back four, and with a squad that has played togeether more and has a lot of collective talent. Plus, Milan were able to keep Johnny Depp's evil twin, the Wife Stealer, and the Padawan off the board. Given our defensive history, that is amazing in and of itself. It wasn't a star-studded spectacular Derby because there aren't really many stars left in Serie A right now. Both Milan and Inter's squads are the equivalent of a B movie cast, and for that cast, we were treated to a lovely evening at the theater.

This post inspired by the music of Elaine's Milan Mix

Our next match is
Milan vs. Udinese
Sunday, November 30 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)

Milan 1, Inter 1: Evening at the Theater Milan 1, Inter 1: Evening at the Theater Reviewed by Elaine on 6:50 PM Rating: 5
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