STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – Faces old and new contributed to Inter‘s 5-1 demolition of AC Milan in a derby that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan score one goal in each half, with a Marcus Thuram screamer in between.
Only for a short while in the second half did the Rossoneri look able to put up a fight, after Rafael Leao pulled one back shortly before Mkhitaryan‘s second of the night.
In the end, however, the Nerazzurri claimed a significant win as former Rossoneri player Hakan Calhanoglu added a fourth from the penalty spot before Davide Frattesi scored his first goal for the club in injury time. The win extended Inter‘s perfect start to the Serie A season to four consecutive wins, while also ending Milan‘s.
AC Milan with no answers to Inter’s quality
Spectacular choreographies from each end of the Meazza highlighted how the rivalry has been reborn in recent seasons, with the Rossoneri’s Curva Sud reminding their opponents of their painful Champions League final defeat against Manchester City last June.
While it was hard to tell which side started better, the game seemed to immediately take a familiar shape as Inter went ahead for the seventh time in a row.
It all started with Marcus Thuram, who assumed the role of his counterpart Leao by surfing down the right to reach the byline, after outmuscling Malick Thiaw. While his first cross got blocked, the Frenchman made the most of the rebound to find Federico Dimarco on the opposite side, from which the Italian delivered a perfect pass that Mkhitaryan turned home with a nice first-time finish.
The roar that greeted the goal was deafening, and off the back of it, Inter almost doubled their lead immediately. They would have led 2-0 had Mkhitaryan not headed wide on the end of another Dimarco cross from an excellent position.
Signs of reaction were immediately evident from Milan, as they tried to push more players into the final third to find quick combinations between the lines, but the problem of limiting Inter’s potency remained for the Rossoneri. The hosts looked threatening whenever they got the ball.
Theo Hernandez caused panic by breaking into Inter’s box but lacked precision in his finish, but as the minutes went by the feeling was that there was the potential for a way back into things for Milan.
At least, that was what it felt like until Thuram took the spotlight again. This time he chased an apparently loose pass from Dumfries and, when the moment to produce a finish seemed gone, he took on Thiaw from the left, cut inside and hit a right-footed rocket that went into the far top corner, leaving Mike Maignan helpless.
Mkhitaryan and Calhanoglu dash AC Milan’s comeback hopes
Inter‘s second came as huge blow to Milan‘s hopes and expectations on the night, and it was a moment from which Pioli’s men didn’t seem to have recovered as the second half got underway under the pouring rain.
However, seconds after the Rossoneri’s coach brought on Samuel Chukwueze to replace Christian Pulisic, a nice direct move from Giroud caught the Nerazzurri’s rearguard unprepared. Leao found himself in front of goal and clinically put the ball past Yann Sommer to make it 2-1.
The Rossoneri looked instantly encouraged by their first derby goal in 2023, looking lively and eager to go in search of an instant equaliser.
In the end, Inter’s experience and composure under pressure, coupled with the quality of their substitutes like Davide Frattesi, Carlos Augusto and Marko Arnautovic, proved to be the difference.
Frattesi was involved in a combination that saw Mkhitaryan find Lautaro Martinez with a delightful cross-field pass before running forward to meet a return from the Argentinian which he calmly controlled and sent into the back of the net after a light deflection.
Things turned from bad to worse for a demotivated Milan side, who saw their former midfielder Calhanoglu put a fourth past Maignan from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time.
The game was more than wrapped up by the point Frattesi’s hunger to score his first goal in Inter colours resulted in his injury-time fifth for the Nerazzurri, firing his side to the top of the table with 12 points.