Tonight, Mihajlovic described this match as his greatest joy as a coach, because convincing Derby wins like this go down in history. And he is right, he will now forever be part of Milan history. He also beat his good friend, who got himself sent off and is likely facing a ban, but didn’t even get his starting eleven right. That had to feel amazing. But I don’t know who felt the most amazing… the players for pulling off such an amazing win, the fans for waiting so long for such a beautiful win, or Mihajlovic for righting the ship well enough to achieve this amazing victory over our hated rivals. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that we’ve all reached nirvana.
|A state of perfect happiness|
Nirvana is defined as a state of perfect happiness; an ideal place. And that is certainly where I am right now. This in spite of the fact that Damato did a very poor job as a ref. He was not only not prepared for a derby, he was never prepared to control the match in any way in the first place. He overlooked lots of fouls completely, which only helped things get worse, then made a random tight call like for a handball or something. Inter were upset because they felt they deserved a penalty, and Mancini apparently told the ref “You should be ashamed of yourself. Ashamed.” That got him sent off early in the second half, but as a parting gift, he showed Milan fans his middle finger while exiting. Which is incredibly hypocritical after publicly criticizing Sarri just ten days ago when he did something stupid in the heat of the moment. And also likely to get him a ban. Also, the replays show that the only shame on this one was for him.
|Their lame coreo, " I watch you and I take consolation, you are more beautiful than a dream" was worse than their team|
The Curva Sud started out with a protest, “30 years later we're in the same condition. A club that has lost its way, without ambition. A mediocre team without champions.” But the very team they criticized made them look moronic with a game that was simply unforgettable. The Curva’s poor timing of criticism will be forgotten, though, I’m sure, by their brilliant coreografia, which reminded Inter fans of a historic derby win in 1984. At the time, Milan hadn’t won a derby in five years, and Mark Hately’s powerful header over Collovati for the win was what the Curva chose to depict this time around. Which turned out to be prophetic, as Alex opened up the scoring with a ridiculously similar header in the 35th, after a beautiful cross by Honda. 1-0 Milan
|Alex's goal next to Hately's goal in 1984|
Approximately 77,000 fans were on hand to witness not only Mancini’s pathetic lack of sportsmanship, but the moment that for me proved that Karma really does exist. After not getting their earlier penalty, Icardi won a very questionable penalty for being in the same half of the pitch as Alex in the 69th. But Karma said no. You can steal your friend’s wife and brag about it and post pictures of your friend’s kids online without permission and generally be the lowest form of scum on the earth, but it stops here. You do not get this penalty, not today. And so Icardi hit the post, and Milan kept a clean sheet, and the universe was temporarily right again.
|It was his daughter's birthday, of course he scored with his first shot|
But Karma was not done there. Just in case all of the Inter fans who were there did not get the memo, three minutes later Bacca scored a goal from a Niang assist. 2-0 Milan. And while all of us were still screaming and celebrating, Niang hit one home himself in the 77th to make it 3-0 Milan. My lasagna was delicious, but nothing could prepare me for the incredible treat this match was turning out to be. So after a bunch of subs and a yellow card, finally the whistle blew. Milan had won the Derby. In style. And Inter really only had themselves to blame.
|Jesus is watching you Niang... because that's all he could do|
But let’s not let that take away from some incredible performances. Bacca and Niang were starved for service most of the match, but still found a way to make it all happen. Honda was undeniably brilliant, even by the standards of social media haters. Bonaventura didn’t get his name on the scoresheet, but took a beating of immense proportions and still defended and created chances and generally worked incredibly hard. Mihajlovic compared Kuco to a tank, and he truly was epic today, so many plays he just forced through, it was incredibl. The entire back line did exactly what they were supposed to do, and both Romagnoli and Alex made clearance after important clearance, much to the chagrin of all of Inter’s attackers.
|Donnarumma was amped, and rightly so, he was brilliant|
And then there was the 16 year old Donnarumma. He was so pumped for this, you could see it from the moment he entered the pitch. He did everything right, including get all ball on the play with Eder that Inter questioned. He bossed his back line and commended them when they did something well. He jumped and shouted and rejoiced when Icardi missed his penalty almost as much as he did when his team scored their goals. I think my MOTM has to be Mihajlovic, but Donnarumma would be a close second with pretty much the rest of the team in a tight third. It was amazing to have everyone play so well and give it their all against a team that is better than us on paper and higher than us on the table, and with a ref who was simply unpredictable in his calls tonight. I’m still smiling in disbelief.
|Under fire just a few weeks ago, now a part of Milan history forever|
Mihajlovic said in his postmatch remarks, “We who understand football see the training session and know when there’s something in the air, when players needed only a tiny step forward to soar.” He absolutely got that right, and tonight our “mediocre team without champions” certainly did soar. As did the hearts of every Milanista everywhere. After so many years of pain and suffering, for tonight, we were gifted this singular look at nirvana.
This post inspired by the music of Nirvana
Our next match is
Palermo vs. Milan
Wednesday, February 3 • 20:45 CET (2:45pm EST)
Stay tuned for an all new Milan Obsession Podcast!!