STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – A lone Lautaro Martinez goal was all that Inter could muster from almost an hour of clear supremacy over AC Milan, but it proved enough to win the Derby della Madonnina and force their rivals to a second consecutive Serie A defeat.
The World Cup winner’s display was the icing on the cake in a night that saw the hosts outplay a timid Rossoneri side for long stretches, although their lack of precision could have cost them dearly, leaving the door open for a potential Milan comeback until the very end of the match.
The choreographies in each curva and electric atmosphere created by more than 75,000 fans made room for a lively start to the game, although it was the case just for one of the two sides.
Lautaro strikes again against AC Milan
Stefano Pioli’s choice to opt for a 3-5-2 formation, in order to mirror his opponents’ system, begged more than one question from the opening stages, as the hosts easily gained ground and forced the Rossoneri back into their own box.
Lautaro, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Hakan Calhanoglu mustered four shots in the space of 10 minutes, with Ciprian Tatarusanu pulling off a brilliant save to deny the Argentine from a header.
The continuous movement from Inter’s midfield trio allowed them to create spaces and set up camp in the Milan half, piling on the pressure that Milan withstood for over half an hour.
The Biscione eventually found the breakthrough with their fourth corner from the opening 34 minutes, as Lautaro Martinez headed Calhanoglu’s ball home to put his side ahead and score his seventh goal in a Derby della Madonnina.
Milan’s reaction not enough to worry Inter
Inter’s supremacy and lead from the first half didn’t trigger an immediate reaction from the visitors, and even the substitute Rafael Leao, who came off the bench after 54 minutes, was unable to spark the Rossoneri into life.
However, the Nerazzurri were kept on their toes as Milan were always within touching distance of levelling the match, and did have a massive chance fall to Olivier Giroud, whose poor ball control in front of the goal prevented the Rossoneri from going level at the end of a lethal counterattack.
Stefano Pioli’s men couldn’t find a breakthrough in the tense final minutes, meaning they’ve extended their winless streak to five Serie A games, and have now fallen out of the top four and Champions League places.