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Milan 2, Inter 3: Incinerated



There was so much hope for Milan fans ahead of this Derby. Inter had just crashed out of the Europa League, they were divided amongst themselves, their star striker throwing a massive diva hissy fit and refusing to play, and key players were injured and missing. It seemed like the perfect time to strike. And indeed, it was, only for Inter, not Milan. Because Milan had been lulled into complacency over a ten match unbeaten streak, with good results masking poor performances. And with all of the drama of the pyrotacular coreo, social media, and stadium hype, it seemed that Milan winning was a foregone conclusion. But instead, it was too hot to handle for this team, and Milan found themselves incinerated.

A result that matched their performance

It became clear very early on that Milan were not going to have their way with Inter on this day. In the third minute, Vecino opened up the scoring, 1-0 Inter. Like a slap in the face, it should have helped Milan wake up, but it didn’t, really. Paqueta had a shot forcing a Handanovic save, then Bakayoko and Gagliardini had a collision of heads that left the former quite dazed and the latter quite bloody. The scrappy and attacking Inter play that seemed to daze and confuse the Milan players continued throughout the half. Although Milan were able to get a few shots off, they were pressed by Inter for 45 minutes.

The second half started off with a sub from Gattuso. You read that correctly, he brought on Castillejo for Paqueta, which was both bold by him and still a little confusing. I can only assume Paqueta was not 100%, because he brought far more to the table in the first half than Castillejo did in the second. Even more confusing when, not long afterward, in the 51st minute, De Vrij headed in a goal to make it 2-0 Inter.

An epic battle on the night, Bakayoko definitely got the better of Gagliardini

In the 57th, though down two goals, it felt like Milan were winning after Bakayoko, the walking wounded, scored his first Milan goal to make it 2-1 Inter. His header was brilliant, well worth the wait, and helped to take a little bit of steam out of Inter’s game. With Milan controlling the game more, Gattuso followed that up with a second sub in the 58th. Yes, two subs even before the 60th. You’d think that he was the one with the head injury. Especially because he sacrificed Rodriguez to bring on Cutrone. He obviously was hungry for goals.

One of his subs, Castillejo, made his mark on the match with a clumsy foul in the area in the 65th which saw Inter warded with a penalty, and inspired our captain to earn a yellow for dissent. Ouch. Even more painful when Martinez stepped up and converted it to make it 3-1 Inter. The knots in my stomach were going to make me vomit at this point.

The man

But Gattuso, fearless in his newfound early and tactically diverse subbing, brought on Conti for Kessie as if it was nothing. All three subs used before he usually even makes one sub! It really was a big game. It became a big controversy, too, as Kessie and Biglia got into a spat on the bench, with Kessie having to be restrained by Abate and Rodriguez to keep him from physically attacking Biglia. Both players apologized profusely, stating they do not have a problem with each other, but for Gattuso, he took it as hard as the actual defeat and insisted that he will be talking with both players this week.

At least Gattuso’s subs paid dividends, though, as with the fresh legs and a determined Milan, (where were they they first half?) Musacchio scored a rebound in the 71st to make it 3-2 Inter. We were back in it. Musacchio must have been so relieved after the VAR review ruled that the goal stood, because in the Derby in October, he also scored a goal that was called off for offside after a review.

Musacchio gives a worried look to the linesman, hoping his goal stands

Perhaps the most shocking moment of the game was in the 89th minute. Conti fouled Vecino, and Guida showed him a straight red for the challenge. That wasn’t really the shocking part, because it’s easy to see how to the naked eye, within play, it looked like Conti intentionally went for Vecino’s knee with his studs up, which would be dangerous play. However, Guida used VAR to review the play, and after looking at it over and over like we did, he saw that it was not intentional, it was his trailing leg that made the contact. Then he did something I have never seen in my life: He rescinded the red card. That’s right, a red card was rescinded. You have to know that never happens, the red card is set in stone once it is shown. Guida rightfully showed Conti a yellow instead. To make it even more entertaining, Spalletti was incensed that the card was rescinded, and got himself sent off.

Probably because Inter brought on the legendary Ranocchia in stoppage time, Milan were not able to draw level or overcome the deficit. Cutrone had a shot in the final minute of stoppage time that should have gone in, but D’Ambrosio sacrificed his body to keep it out. After a very disappointing first half from Milan, and a fiery, true-to-derby-style second half, Inter took the three points, took back third place, and killed the dreams of Milanisti everywhere.

At least we won the coreo... again

If you watched the last few Milan games, the poor performance was not surprising, only disappointing. Gattuso and his boys were spot on to say that form meant nothing in a derby, and they embodied that prediction with their performance. Inter let their Europa League exit, tired legs, missing players, and Wanda/Icardi drama fuel them into taking all three points. Now Milan have to stave off the many teams battling for fourth, while licking their wounds and sorting out the performance issues over the upcoming International Break. It was only one game, but it was a crucial one. Perhaps all of the hype just left them too combustible, and that’s why we were incinerated.


This post inspired by the music of Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning”


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