Monday October 8 2012
Derby duel to the death

Inter came out on top in the Milan derby, while Juventus and Napoli won again. Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up the Week 7 action.

If you want to take the temperature of Serie A, there are few better thermometers than the Milan derby. A clash between two of the top sides in the country can serve as a health check for the whole Division. On Sunday night, the condition report was not of the kind you would want to hear on any of your nearest and dearest.

All the elements were there, on the surface at least, for an outstanding evening’s entertainment. There was an early goal to break the deadlock, a whole heap of controversial decisions and a pantomime villain in the stocky shape of Antonio Cassano. And yet, if you asked most people if it was a classic Madonnina, they would have to answer – oh no, it wasn’t!

That is not to rain on the Nerazzurri’s parade. They went ahead through a thumping Walter Samuel header and should have doubled their lead when Christian Abbiati presented a gift at the feet of Diego Milito. They also defended with uncompromising resolve even after going down to 10 men through the loss of Yuto Nagatomo. The result keeps them on pace with Lazio in hunting down League leading double act Juventus and Napoli.

In truth, however, it was hard to judge their title credentials on the evidence of the derby. The goal so early in the game allowed them to sit in and Milan could do little to hurt them. And going down to 10 men effectively killed off any chance of seeing them again as an attacking force. They will have other opportunities to show those qualities.

What they did display was an impressive spirit. And the switch to 3-5-2 seems to have given them a very solid base to build on. It earned comparisons from President Massimo Moratti with the battling approach seen under Jose Mourinho against Barcelona en route to their famous Champions League triumph.

“Our approach to the game was better than our opponents, I thought,” said Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni. “It was something we had worked on and we started off with the aggression that I wanted. And in 43 minutes or so with 10 men we didn’t give them much.”

It was a more disappointing night, obviously enough, for Milan. Their fans will, understandably, complain about a possible penalty and a disallowed goal from Riccardo Montolivo. But underneath those justifiable gripes, there was a lack of quality, speed and imagination to their play which was worrying. Not without reason do they find themselves a long way adrift of where a club of their size would expect to be.

After the game Max Allegri insisted his team had played well but needed to get more clinical in front of goal. He also hit out at the referee for having a big effect on the outcome. However, that masked a lot of shortcomings he will need to work on during the international break.

Outside the derby, of course, there was the little matter of the on-going Scudetto fight between Juventus and Napoli. The Bianconeri did the business – not without a few scares – away to little Siena. Their boss, Serse Cosmi, got sent off during their game and then raged that the visitors should have seen red too.

“Giorgio Chiellini should have got a second yellow card and we should have been playing 11 against 10,” he said. “We are so far behind teams like Juve that incidents like that can be decisive.”

Juve stand-in boss Massimo Carrera dismissed that interpretation of Chiellini’s actions swiftly. “He was trying to get the ball and his opponent was quicker and got there before him,” he said. “It was not a bad foul. We made a mistake on their goal, but we played the whole game in their half of the pitch.”

Napoli hit back with a battling 2-1 win of their own at home to Udinese. Walter Mazzarri’s side are clearly growing up and are getting victories in matches they might have messed up last year. It sets up a mouth-watering trip to Turin after the break.

“We know Juventus are tough and almost unbeatable on their own ground,” said Mazzarri. “But we will try to do something special. They are the super-favourites for the game.”

There was big news, too, from Roma and it was not simply that Zdenek Zeman’s side won at home to Atalanta. The exclusions of Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo from the starting line-up raised eyebrows higher than even Carlo Ancelotti can achieve. It was the kind of high-risk gamble we have come to expect from the Giallorossi Coach.

“I have always said that everyone has their chance to play, but only 11 players can go out on the pitch and I chose those ones,” said Zeman. “What matters to me is what they do during the week and I thought this line-up was the best. You can’t understand these exclusions because you don’t see the players during the week and so it amazes you when they are left out.”

The victory kept Roma in the top half of the table but it did not answer a lot of questions about the side. There are still long periods when they don’t play with the focus you would expect for a Zeman side. They could yet be a force if they start applying all their Coach’s instructions for a whole game at a time.

A word of recognition, too, for the work being done at Catania. Rolando Maran has continued the good endeavours of Vincenzo Montella and his troops sit tied with their former boss’ new side Fiorentina. Both teams have been happy revelations of the season so far. And, who knows, with some of the bigger guns struggling, there might be even greater satisfactions at the end of the campaign.

Have your say...
TO HALLA I couldn't have said it any better to your comment here I simply say

on the 23rd October, 2012 at 2:47am
In today's environment a team's big days can come and go very fast. It all depends on money - let's remember that. They just don't make Paolo Maldini's anymore.

This Milan is struggling, as one would expect when you have some big shoes to fill. Writing them off would be a mistake, as Serie A proved it again and again with numerous teams over the years.

I think a little more patience, respect and balanced opinions would do a lot of good to the overall atmosphere on the "Have your say" column.
on the 11th October, 2012 at 10:38pm
Milan cant even score against 10 men Inter side for whole second half, their big days are long gone.
And it will get worser I believe, they should start saving up for a postcard when the B hits them (if they got any money?).
Making excusses will not solve anything, face it your squad is mediocre, Ibra/Silva were more essential than you think.
In the derby, Milan did play better but always remember the defense gets the last word. Inter are still in progress and everything
is running well, my faith in Strama has never changed. To the Milan fans - if you really want to blame someone look at your mercato king Galliani
and his master Berlu, they should get a oscar for management and Juve fan, are you writing from prison?
on the 9th October, 2012 at 8:22pm
@nich_son I highly doubt Inter can beat Juve. Inter are Inter, they have always get hit with the inferior mentality when it comes to facing Juve, its in there DNA to be scared of us. Just the way it is really, check history, sure sometimes they put in a decent performance, but you will see, Juve will beat Inter both home and away. They are always scared of us. We know how much Moratti screwed us over and for that we will FOREVER make sure you pay on the field against us.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 9:04am
Ȋ̝̊̅ can't believe milan fans could still give excuses, instead of concentrating on τ̲̅ђε̲̣̣̣̥ game against lazio, Ȋ̝̊̅ remember their mockery banner against a young filipo, its karma time for them, from lasio to malaga, τ̲̅ђε̲̣̣̣̥ losing streak continues. Lmao. And for juventus fans, A̶̲̥̅♏ certain that we inter will end your unbeaten run.
on the 9th October, 2012 at 1:48am
Inter won and as always milan have to make excuses. All they can talk about is the goal that was ruled out and the penalty that never was. The ref made the decision so live with it. Just because you can't pay them anymore you say they are woeful. Welcome to reality.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 9:16pm
fouls involving keepers and potential penalties are always open to interpretation when only one man makes the decisions. What cannot be denied is that Milan unfortunately looked like scoring even against an inter side with 10 men. The tactics were wrong, the substitutions were made at the wrong times and Milan played as if expecting a goal to come for them. it was a carbon copy of the first derby of last season. Nothing for inter to celebrate. parked the bus and offered nothing after the goal.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 8:32pm
yes Adam where is VIKTOR i value hes input on football matters especially when it comes to juventus NOT !!!!! i don't think either team looked great. juventus are not playing well and winning but they desperately need a striker who can hold the ball up all the strikers and vidal are so wasteful with possesion.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 7:26pm
I wonder if Galliani has replaced the picture on his phone of Muntari's goal with that of Montolivo's goal...
on the 8th October, 2012 at 6:45pm
Milan fans still complaining about the referee. Have they forgot the derbies last season?

In the first derby, thiago motta scored a valid goal which was called offside, And the second game Cambiasso scored a valid goal that had the ball crossed the line before Abbiati saves it but still was no goal and they were given a penalty when julio cesar made a perfectly good challenge to win the ball from boateng.

Maybe winning 2 serie B titles causes memory loss.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 5:47pm

, it was a crystal goal by monty and we should have got a pent. Please dont come up with bad excuses. You know it was a goal!
on the 8th October, 2012 at 3:34pm
What do Milan and Pescara have in common????

7 points fhahahhaaha
on the 8th October, 2012 at 3:22pm
Where is VIKTOR??????? Milan all quiet now??! Milan will as Mark has said finish 10th to 15th and will have a differernt coach by the end of the season,Lazio next for them oh dear!!!!!!!
on the 8th October, 2012 at 3:20pm
I have been disappointed by Juve's lack of sharpness in their last four matches. I hope Conte will evaluate that during international break.
However, lastnight I was extremly impressed by AC's display against 11 dependers(Inter) only the refs' errors decided the match.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 3:13pm
Inter won the game, yes. But really they did nothing outside of the first 3 minutes. Even before they went down to 10 men, Milan still had better possession. Inter's goal came from a poor giveaway from Bonera (suprise suprise). Why Allegri plays him is completely baffling. I've been saying for a while now. Bonera and Ambrosini have no business playing for Milan. Allegri must go! Congrats to Inter but they'll realistically maybe finish 5th or 6th. Milan might finish 10 to 15.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 2:47pm
Inter's play really wasn't impressive at all. For five minutes they were attacking milan. After that Milan controlled the game and created chance after chance. The team's only good players were who were over 30 (cambiasso, samuel, zanetti, milito). Inter was lucky to get away with their defending because the disallowed goal and penalty really should have been given. On the first Handanovic jumped on top of Emmanuelson and on the second Samuel very discreetly pulled Robinho down. Come on.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 2:16pm
i think milan fans should stop crying over spilled milk. max have no excuse at all not to get something from the geme yesterday, montolivo's goal was never a goal because the whistle had gone before he played the shot and for the penalty claim, it would have been more controversial had the ref gave it because robinho went down too easily.kudos to inter for resolute defending but still need to improve on the attacking play.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 1:47pm
@Interista23 : Well said. Milan can cry all they want but the fact is that we had the best chances of the game(Milito and Palacio) while Milan could not score a single goal inspite of a one-man advantage for a full half!

I just hope Coutinho is given more and more chances and we keep Livaja as an understudy to Milito as he has a lot of potential.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 1:42pm
Inter showed that they are by far the stronger team last night, winning a derby proves that itself but winning with 10 men amplifies the win tenfold! AC keep moaning about refs well we were down to 10 men very harshly to I must add as both yellow cards were harsh but Inter are use to playing AC with 10 men it has become a trend, out of the last 10 sendings off in derby over 6 years 7 have been Inter players! Not the first or last 10 man victory by Inter over AC I am sure! Forza Inter
on the 8th October, 2012 at 1:16pm
Enough of this playing like a small club garbage already! We didnt play too well and were a man short for half the game yet we(Inter) still came out on top, thats called grinding out results, thats what good/great teams do when the chips are down. Exactly what this poor/average Milan team are incapable of. FORZA NERAZZURRI PER SEMPRE!!!
on the 8th October, 2012 at 12:48pm
It was not a penalty bcoz handanovic got the ball when he punched it away and emanuelson clipped his legs while in the air which didnt allow him to land on his feet.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 12:23pm
That said, I see the Inter game as typical of this season. Typical that we lost (I knew we would), typical that there should be some controversy involved in the match, typical that Milan's efforts should be characterised by a lack of effective finishing. I really hope Max can start sorting stuff out during the international break.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 11:24am
One thing confuses me: if Montolivo's goal was disallowed because of a foul against Emanuelson, what was awarded instead? I didn't see the match, but I read that the Inter keeper mistakenly got him on the head when trying to punch the ball away. If that's so, and it was a foul, shouldn't Milan have had a penalty? I don't get it.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 11:24am
While Milan on the other hand are struggling because of Boateng and Abbiati poor poor performances. Boateng can't score and Abbiati makes silly mistakes. Still Forza Milan per sempre.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 11:05am
Inter will never attack unless they are behind. They are a very poor team offensively despite having quality players like Cassano Milito Countinho and Palcio. They are relying on counter attacks. Against Sienna they lost becauseucky for them it is paying dividends. While Milan again and again show how poor Abbiati and Boateng are time after time. they attacked. Inter are playing like bottom sides in Serie A.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 11:03am
Two top sides? Two? Last night in the Milan derby there was only one, the one that won in spite of playing a poor game overall. If Milito scored from that chance it would have been a blowout!
on the 8th October, 2012 at 10:14am
As a massive Roma fan very relieved to beat Atalanta. We rode our luck and where fortunate overall as Atlanta could quite easily have had 3 goals. We need to massively improve at the back, the balance of the team isnt there yet. Zeman dropping De Rossi, Osvaldo and Burdisso I think we back fire on him. In my view Zeman isnt the man to take us forward, although in the pressure cooker than is rome who is. We now need to build on that result and beat Genoa which will be a tough game.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 10:07am
That is my guys up cos i no you guys wouldn't disappointing me and all the inter fans around the world who care for you guys and believe in your spirit.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 10:06am
No real mention of Lazio - why bother with only 5 wins from 7 games.
on the 8th October, 2012 at 9:36am

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