MILAN – And suddenly, all the adults appeared; freed from the insecurities, brain fog and problems that often plague them. Inter Milan‘s 1-0 win it’s over AC Milan totaling 3-0 aggregate victory over their crosstown players and opening the door to UEFA Champions League the final in Istanbul on June 10. It also showed how this club – whose history of bad decisions, unforced errors, psychodrama, chaos and lost opportunities are embedded in its DNA – can mature into something greater than the sum of its parts and in reality. play with confidence and control.
That last part is important. Because even though Inter were good in the past, even when they won the Treble under Jose Mourinho and were the best side – in terms of talent and execution – they didn’t show the kind of confidence they showed themselves. featured in this Champions League campaign.
This is where the naysayers and pundits will say the 2010 Treble winners have faced off against top opponents in knock-out competitions — Chelsea in paragraph 16, Barcelona in the semi and then Bayern Munich last time – where this side of Inter sent FC Porto (And the skin of their teeth); Benfica it’s Milan stumbling, and they won’t play the A-lister until the end. Very true, but this is not about Inter being good. It’s about Inter being the best they can be, treating the warts like a beautiful place, hiding the weaknesses wisely and not treating any of the problems that are about to come back as if they were a sign of doom. In other words, it’s about maturity.
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Twelve minutes into Tuesday’s game at San Siro, Theo Hernandez he ripped the ball Nicholas Barellaleaving the Inter midfielder vulnerable and 60,000 Nerazzurri instead of screaming out of disgust. That run is over Sandro Tonali smoking Henrik Mkhitaryanburst in the box and provide a good way to reduce Brahim Diaz on penalty. It seemed like a goal that was harder to miss than to score, but real Madrid loanee somehow mis-footed it and it fell into the hands of an Inter player. Andrew Onan.
Most of the blue and black on the pitch sighed before worrying that it would be a sign of things to come, that Milan had their numbers, that they would be torn apart like this all night.
Blue-and-black on the tarmac? Not so much. They took it for granted, got on with it and played their game. Perhaps they had all read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Perhaps manager Simone Inzaghi gave the result in his game statement: “You can’t change the past because it’s gone, you can’t touch the future because it hasn’t arrived, what you do is fix what you have.” Either way, it was the only shot Milan would register all night.
On the contrary, Inter limited the opposition to five shots in total, while making generous attempts (15 in total) and winning the expected battle (xG) (0.91 to 0.54) on the road. This had all the makings of a derby game, but the tension that was present rested squarely on Milan’s shoulders. Which, in some ways, is odd, given the saying that when you’re down 2-0 and chasing the game, you have little to lose. Whereas, for Inter, a mistake, fearing to put it near the finish line, would have followed their past records.
A lot of this has to do with the veteran player who knows how to count his experiences. Mkhitaryan (and Marcelo Brozovicafter the former Armenian withdrew due to injury), Hakan Calhanoglu and Barella won against the Milanese who were inconsistent with Tonali and Rade Krunic (that would be a separate and complete story Ismael Bennacer? We’ll never know). They may not have the legs to cover any grass (and whoever they meet in the end, will be stretched) but, certainly in the case of Mkhitaryan and Calhanoglu, they play and leave attacking players who are determined to show them. he can do blue collar stuff too.
This is where you need to bring Inzaghi back. His opposite number, Stefano Pioli, apparently believes that he will stay deep and hit on the counter, which may explain why, with Bennacer out, he chose a 4-2-3-1 that is more complex and creative. the little messiah wide, not fast Alexis Saelemaekers.
But Inter did not sit down.
They pushed forward and tried to play from behind when they could. There would be no siege. They trusted their aarguard, although it is worth knowing, except Alessandro Sticks (one of the best central defenders in Europe), none of these guys are expected to be starters at the start of the year. Matthew Darmian He was a retired back-to-back player. Onana was a reserve keeper who did not play last season Ajax. Francesco Acerbi he was a 34-year-old cancer survivor who signed on a free transfer as extra cover. Onana and Bastoni are great and the other two are very knowledgeable and quick, and sometimes that’s when it’s needed.
Inter installed the bogeyman Raphael Leoreturn to the muscle injury that prevented him from walking the first leg, and wing-back Denzel Dumfries (arguably the best football player ever to be called a Hollywood big man). Edin Dzeko he pulled his 37-year-old body to join Barella in slowing down Theo’s runs from deep. That’s how many of Milan’s threats have been snuffed out on the spot. It left Tonali fighting the wind in the middle of the park.
Inzaghi’s reforms have made some changes. A fresh Romelu Lukaku coming in the last 25 minutes to outrun (and into) your defenders is about as good as seeing the blue lights flashing behind you as you play fast and loose with the speed limit.
Above all, Inter were not surprised. Not because of the event, not because of tactical errors (it got complicated, as derbies do), not because of their reputation. Heck, they might have told themselves that, of all Milan’s European generations with seven European Cups, that’s it Nerazzurri who were in the Champions League last time (2010 vs. 2007).
They can smoke in Istanbul, whether it’s Treble-chasing Manchester City or they are defending champions Real Madrid, but they are playing with house money. Whatever happens, it is unlikely that they will beat themselves in Istanbul, like many of Inter’s previous teams. They are too big for that.