It was very evident early on that this one was on a knife's edge. The same fans pining, screaming even, for youth were out immediately. Forgetting their previous whines, and claiming why Saponara in this match!? Seems as they had forgotten that not but a few days earlier they asked for the introduction of youth. But it was not youth that made or lost this match, it was the "Superstars" that failed when the lights were the brightest.
It started brightly enough, a bit uneasy as Inter pressed to death in the early minutes, but Milan weathered the storm and pressed on. Saponara was a productive and efficient, DeJong his usual self, and Constant had not yet been turned inside out by the nearest attacker. As the game progressed, Milan continued to grow with solid chances but when the team needed a bit of final bite and polish the big boys were nowhere to be seen. Now while admit Kaka has been instrumental of late he was relatively useless and nowhere to be found in this match. Only once did he press off the ball, and while Saponara started to find himself in the match, playing simple and elegant two and three touches passes, Kaka became more and more of a ghost. This was nothing compared to Balotelli, whose inconsistency is becoming infuriating.
We know he can do it on the big stage, we know he can do it in the Provincies, we know that when he wants to play few can match what he is capable off. The problem with Mario is not if, but when, and it has become painfully clear that no matter who is in charge, or for what jersey, Mario Balotelli plays for himself and no one else. This is not the way forward for a team needing both a hero and a leader. Completing only 60 percent of his passes, winning none of his first time balls in the air, it almost seemed like he was completely checked out of the match. That was until he was fouled of course, and then all the energy he was not channeling was being used to flop around like a dead fish on the San Siro turf. It was simply disappointing to watch. On a day in which heroes are made, our "hero" was a goat.
In the midfield, Milan struggled at times and while Saponara was busy off the ball he didn't do much in terms of stopping the Inter highway down the middle field. When the middle didn't work Nagatomo was keeping DeSciglio pinned back and while Milan was the better team in passing and possesion, it was almost as though they couldn't break through the neutral area of the pitch with any sort of the tempo. If and when the tempo did increase the team looked better but it was more the exception than the norm and the theme of inconsistency has been evident not just in this match or in it's phases, but in the season as a whole.
Simply put, this team is inconsistent. While you can argue Poli should have buried his chance or both teams had shouts for a PK, neither team looked willing to control the match. A true testament to the state of both Clubs as they rebuild and rework for a better future. In the end it was a moment of absolute serendipitous brilliance from Palacio to determine the winner. But the battle of attrition could have gone either way and I can't help but think a draw would have been the fair result, but football is not fair.