Inter 3, Milan 0: Bitter Taste

This match was a perfect metaphor for the Serie A season. Milan worked harder than Inter, had more possession, created more chances, had fewer fouls, and got robbed by the referee and VAR. Oh, and Rebić literally got an injury at halftime, he didn't even play. Meanwhile, Inter played dirtier, got lucky, got the favorable referee call, and maximized on having a full strength squad with a wagebill nearly double ours. It was the league season in a nutshell, and likely a predictor of how it ends, too. Which leaves this loss with an even more bitter taste.

When all you've done is still not enough...

First of all, highlight of the match: early on, when Tonali shoved Calhanoglu to the ground and Calhanoglu went crying to the referee like a little girl. One of the few moments where the world seemed right side up.

Our world turned upside down quite quickly when Martínez took advantage of a Milan defense that was completely off tonight and scored the early goal, 1-0 Inter. Not that Milan let that dampen their efforts. Even Saelemaekers had a fantastic shot on target in the 30th, forcing Handanovič into a solid save. Theo Hernández did nearly lose it when Mariani gave him the first card of the match for a foul on Correa in the 35th. But he managed to stop just shy of getting himself sent off. It seems he's becoming responsible now that he is a father. 

Perisić spoiled Kessié's last derby

There was a great chance that he created just a few minutes later that saw Kessié almost score, but Perisić shut him down at the last minute. And to add insult to injury, Martinez turned right around and scored again, taking advantage of a Milan defense that was on vacation. 2-0 Inter. 

Pioli brought Messias and Brahim Díaz on for Saelemaekers and Tonali at the half. Skriniar proceeded to hack down Leão like a lumberjack well after the ball was gone, with no card, but Mariani had to card him when he body checked little Brahim Díaz shortly thereafter. Skriniar could have (and should have?) easily seen red, especially if he had been playing for Milan. But he wasn't, so he didn't.

If they are so much better, why so many fouls?

Maignan had a big save on Martínez in the 52nd, proving that at least he was not on vacation. Theo Hernández sent a shot just wide, and then Bennacer sent a rocket screaming past Handanovič to make it... oh, wait, it was a Milan goal, so of course, there was a VAR check. Inter originally called for the check due to a perceived handball on Tomori, which it wasn't, he chested the ball. 

But Mariani seemed hell-bent on finding a reason to call the brilliant goal off, staring at the screen for forever. (When was the last time a ref even went to the screen in a Milan match?) He eventually decided that a fleeting (and we know how fast Kalulu is) number 20 may have interfered with Handanovič's vision right as Bennacer took the shot. Only Handanovič was so slow, he never even protested, because even he knew that it wasn't true and that he never would have reached that ball anyway. But the goal was called off, because... well, that's the narrative this season. Milan gets robbed, Inter gets the favorable calls. 

One bright spot in a disappointing night for the French defender

We saw it in the first Derby, when Calhanoglu fouled Kessié and earned a penalty for Inter. Two points robbed from Milan, a point given to Inter. We saw it against Napoli in December, when Massa called off Kessié's goal, claiming that Juan Jesus knocking Giroud over and lying on top of him made Giroud in an offside position and interfering with the play. Another point robbed from Milan. We saw it against Spezia, when Serra did not play the advantage and whistled off a perfectly good goal for Milan and then failed to whistle a foul on Kalulu on the buildup to a Spezia goal, costing us all three points. 

We saw it again against Udinese, when Udogie clearly scored with his hand, but the goal was allowed to stand. Another two points stolen from Milan. Not counting the other countless points Inter have gained from favorable ref calls this season, that would make us 11 points clear of them at the top of the table, albeit with their game in hand. ELEVEN POINTS. Milan would have 79 points, Inter only 68 points. With five games left.


Back to this game, after the robbery of Bennacer's brilliant strike, Milan were definitely not the same, even though they really should be used to this by now. Gosens scored his first goal for Inter, making it 3-0. Lazetić got his first team debut amidst all of the anguish and injustice, so he played about ten minutes. Messias had a shot saved, Tomori got a yellow card, and Kessié and Theo Hernández took shots that went just wide in stoppage time. But Milan got nothing.

People say that Inter outplayed Milan, but the stats tell a completely different story. Like Pioli said, they merely took advantage of their chances. Milan took 19 shots, with six on target, and one goal robbed. Inter only took 10 shots, with only four on target, but were able to score with three of those, largely because of uncharacteristic defensive errors from Milan and no goals stolen. Milan had 52% possession, 84% successful passes, and made 15 key passes compared to Inter's 80% successful passes and only four key passes. Inter had 18 fouls compared to Milan's 12. The score definitely does not tell the whole story of this match.

Inter's Man of the Match: Mariani

But the score does tell the whole story of this season. Milan's errors have been costly because we have had so many points taken from us by referee errors. To the cheaters go the spoils. Inter have always taken handouts, have always been willing to play dirty, and have always whined the most about refereesMilan have had the most reason of any team in the league to complain about referees, seeing multiple refs suspended this season, and the club has barely said anything all season. 

That Milan are still in first place in the league in spite of being robbed 11 points by referee calls says more about Milan than this score says about Inter. That this match is likely a predictor of how the league will finish (because there are still five games left for referees to screw Milan over in,) makes it too much to bear. No matter how high the club tells our boys to hold their heads, it still leaves a very bitter taste.

This post inspired by the music of AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"

Our next match is
Serie A Week 34
Lazio vs Milan
Sunday, April 24 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)

Inter 3, Milan 0: Bitter Taste Inter 3, Milan 0: Bitter Taste Reviewed by Elaine on 12:43 AM Rating: 5
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