The Milanese derby’s darkest hour?
It is one of the most iconic snapshots of the Italian game. Inter’s Marco Materazzi leans on the shoulder of Milan’s Manuel Rui Costa as the pair of them gaze in disbelief or bemusement at what is unfolding before their eyes. Fireworks rain down upon the pitch of the San Siro in a scene more reminiscent of Dante’s Inferno than a Champions League encounter.
It was a night which did little for the reputation of the city or the nation as a whole. That image, or something similar, was flashed around the planet for all to see. The following day, everyone wanted to know if that was typical of Serie A in general and Milanese derbies in particular.
The answer, of course, was no. The two sides do, however, share a mutual and deep dislike. The message en route to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza is a pretty simple one no matter which team is at home. It flutters on flags and scarves at the stalls which line the way to one of European football’s major theatres. “Odio il mio cugino” is the battle cry which splits the city of Milan - I hate my cousin...
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