Saturday April 15 2017
Milan Derby sells Serie A

There may have been controversy over the kick-off time, but Gaby McKay says the Derby della Madonnina was a tremendous advert for Serie A.

The decision to move the Milan derby to 12.30 local time didn’t go down well in all sectors. Keen to capitalise on the Chinese market with both Inter and Milan owned by investors from the Orient, the Lega Serie A decided on a kick-off that would guarantee prime-time in Asia.

Many took it as selling yet another piece of football’s soul, China merely the latest horcrux entrenching the rampant capitalism at the top of the game. If inconveniencing local fans to cater to those halfway around the world rankles, the international audience couldn’t have seen a better advert for Serie A.

Even the most trenchant of traditionalists would have to concede that San Siro looked resplendent in the sun, with enormous displays from the respective Ultras - though the Rossoneri hardcore displayed a disparaging banner about the Lega Serie A selling out for Oriental lucre.

The atmosphere is always spectacular for the Derby della Madonnina, but in recent years the fare on the pitch has often been patchy. Not so here. Both sides came out of the traps quickly, and the sell-out crowd was treated to an end-to-end contest under the Lombardy sun.

Proponents of calcio have often bemoaned the poor marketing of Serie A, and the early kick-off is surely a step in the right direction. The English Premier League may not be the best in the world, but it’s by far the most popular and the first half-hour was a decidedly English affair. Gianni Brera, the Italian journalist who claimed the perfect game would end 0-0, may have been spinning in his grave, but viewers around the world saw an open, attacking game. So much for boring Serie A.

While the Rossoneri perhaps had the better of the opening exchanges, it was Inter who took the lead. A one-two punch from Antonio Candreva and then Mauro Icardi gave Stefano Pioli’s side a 2-0 lead at the break, and it appeared all was done and dusted.

However, while Vincenzo Montella’s Diavolo may not possess the stars of the past, they are filled with the impetuousness of youth and refused to surrender. Alessio Romagnoli reduced the arrears, and Milan laid siege to the Inter goal in search of an equaliser.

It duly arrived deep into stoppage time, with goal-line technology proving that Cristian Zapata had forced the ball over the line after 97 minutes. The red-and-black half of San Siro went wild, while Interesti heads descended into hands.

An estimated 800m viewers around the world saw spectacular choreography, attacking football and an improbable comeback sealed with a last-gasp goal. If that won a few calcio converts, who cares about the kick-off time?

Image via @capuanogio

Have your say...

Don't be bitter, your mercenary team barely deserved a point, Great grit from milan who overall were more interested of playing football then wasting time during the game.
on the 17th April, 2017 at 4:33pm
bahahahha inter the better team??? LOL
on the 17th April, 2017 at 4:31pm
Really anyone thinks that Inter dominated this game? I am an Interista, and it is sad to admit, that this poor Milan side were far better than us. Especially in the second half, when all we did was trying to waste time, and kick the ball as far as we could. It was a pain to watch, and Milan got the point they deserved. Actually lost 2 they deserved. And we were more pathetic than against Crotone. I will not even mention the substitutions of Pioli. And his love affair with Kondogbia....? why?
on the 16th April, 2017 at 12:51pm
Great game, great intensity! Enjoyable! Inter's substitutions were baffling, sad - annoying - how Gabigol can't catch a break, he is great in training! The San Siro crowd were spectacular, as for foreign ownership, both teams have very rich histories and genetics that transcend their ownership and their players, I can't speak for Milan (because god knows who the actual owner is) but I'm impressed with Suning and their work with the whole Inter family, especially the Inter Academy! FORZA!
on the 16th April, 2017 at 10:21am
I was less enthusiastic about the kickoff time because I arrived in Milan the same morning and I had to hustle to make it to San Siro, but I agree that it looked beautiful in the sun. Hard to fault the decision in retrospect although Cristian Zapata ensured that I probably wouldn't be able to find much criticism regardless
on the 16th April, 2017 at 10:11am
Great to see the San Siro full of life and color. Shame though that both clubs have now lost their identity and have sold their should to the wealthy foreigner.

Both clubs, and any club foreign owned, is simply a vehicle to make money and an extension of their businesses. I don't see this as a great advert for Serie A at all. Intact, I see it as a giant nail in the coffin of a league which was not too long ago respected as the very best in the world.

Milan got what they deserved in the end.
on the 16th April, 2017 at 7:24am
Inter dominated the game? They spent the entire second half wasting time. And to concede 2 goals at the end of the match does not sound like a dominating performance at all.

Milan played better for the first 30 minutes in the first half, but conceded 2 sloppy goals on Inter counter attacks due to poor defending at the end of it. The second half was more of the same, but Inter ran out of steam at the end of the game, whilst the young Milan players got their second wind and tied it up.
on the 16th April, 2017 at 3:34am
Too much Vino? Were you watching the same game? I'm neither a Milan nor Inter fan but Inter were clearly the better team this game. Gagliardini and Kondogbia layed waste in the midfield. Milan could rarely string 2 passes together. Didn't play as a team. Were too individualistic, too slow in their passing and too slow in their decision making. As a team, this Milan is still far away from resembling anything from past greatness.
on the 16th April, 2017 at 2:06am
It's great to see San Siro come alive again for this kind of games.
on the 16th April, 2017 at 1:18am
The comments from anon and paolo are mystifying to say the least. right up to the first goal, inter hadn't threatened milan in any way, whilst milan should've scored in the first 3 minutes with bacca sending the ball into the skies from two yards out, deulofeu hitting the post and not to mention medel being skinned on two occasions by sosa and deulofeu only for milan not to capitalize. Milan effectively had 8 bad minutes in the entire game. a totally deserved point.
on the 16th April, 2017 at 12:07am
The same thing happened to milan against inter earlier on in the season i think irony dictated milan inflicted a similar kind of result upon inter home game.

Milan were terrible inter especially one on one outclassed milan players all over the pitch and their tactics were spot on. Even so they had the opportunity to finish off milan and didn't grasp it. Again it quite ironic that zapata and romagnoli got the goals especially with milan using all their attacking options.
on the 15th April, 2017 at 10:22pm
kick off time is extremely relevant this game is a massive spectacle part of that being the day which leads up to the afternoon or evening kickoff when you see milan come alive with the fans. Traditions and culture is what makes football great adapting to for the sake for foreign owners should not be so lightly accepted.
on the 15th April, 2017 at 10:17pm
Great article. The big clubs need shiny new stadiums they can fill.
One of the Milan clubs should buy San Siro and reduce it to a 55.000-60.000 seater while they other club should build a new arena about the same size.
Roma have planned a 52.500 seater stadium and God knows when they will lay the first brick.
Fiorentina have presented a beautiful 40.000 seater stadium.
Now Napoli should build a 50.000 seater stadium while Lazio should construct a 40.000 seater arena.
That would be perfect =)
on the 15th April, 2017 at 9:29pm
Inter dominated much of the game and so Milan should consider themselves extremely fortunate to have snatched a goal 2 minutes after the 5 minutes of added time was already up....
As bitter as that pill is to swallow, Pioli has himself to blame for replacing Perisic and J.Mario with waste of space players when the likes of Gabigol is gathering dust on the bench. Frustrating.
on the 15th April, 2017 at 8:52pm

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