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Preview: An Overview of Sunday’s Monumental Derby Between the Women of Milan and Inter

The derby between the women of Milan and Inter will be contested for the first time in Serie A this Sunday. It will be historic for several reasons, and here’s why.

AS Roma v AC Milan - Women Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

The first ever derby between the women of Milan and Inter in Serie A will take place this Sunday on October 13th, at 15:00, or 3:00 PM CEST (9:00 am EST / 6:00 am PST). The derby will be historic and noteworthy for several reasons, most notably in the fact that this will be the first time the women of Milan and Inter will meet in Serie A. Here’s an overview of what you need to know.

You must have done this before, this can’t be your first time

This isn’t technically the first time the ladies of Milan and Inter have met each other. They also played each other in a Coppa Italia game last season. Milan were the victors in that encounter, as they won the game 5-3. However, the circumstances surrounding this game will be different, as this will be the first time the team’s will meet in Serie A. Let’s hope for a repeat of that first win on this Sunday.

The Case of the Ex

Lisa Alborghetti will suit up for the Nerazzurre against her ex-teammates during tomorrow’s derby. The fact of which, is notable for several reasons, most notably in that Lisa used to be a Milanista, but over the summer, decided to make the switch over to Inter instead.

Lisa’s exodus was sadly, one of many for the Milan women during the summer, which lead to an upheaval, and also induced a sense of insecurity among the Milanisti, as we wondered just how the women’s team would adjust to this. Fortunately, they seem to be doing just fine.

Lisa also holds the distinction of being the first women to have made the switch from Milan to Inter in the top flight, as Inter’s promotion to Serie A made this possible. It is a sign of how much things have changed in terms of women’s football in Italy, and of its ever increasing importance as well.

The only downside to Lisa’s switch (aside from Milan losing a very good midfielder), is how some of the Milanisti chose to react to it. Unfortunately, a few of them did not take her transition well, and lashed out as a result of it. On the one hand, the fact that her move inspired such ribald passion is proof that people are starting to care more about women’s football, particularly in Italy. On the other, the fact that these purported Milan fans chose to act this way towards her, for committing the cardinal sin of being autonomous and thinking for herself, is proof that there are idiots among every fanbase, and they dishonor themselves, and the rest of us in the process.

(It should be noted, however, that some of the Milanisti did defend Lisa when she was being insulted. Proof that not all of us are cretins.)

However, here’s to hoping that the Milan women will greet their former teammate and receive her warmly, and that the Milanisti won’t be uncouth and pepper her with abuse. Keep that kind of ugliness away from the women’s game, or any game for that matter, please.

The Battle of the Golden Girls: Giacinti vs Goldoni

Another reason to pay attention to the derby? Both Valentina Giacinti and Eleonora Goldoni will be playing in it. Both players are currently Italy’s It Girls, and have been getting a lot of attention lately, with good reason for it. Valentina was thrust into prominence after her fantastic performances at the Women’s World Cup, most notably in the game against China, where she both scored a goal and was subsequently voted the player of the match. She’s also been in good form in Serie A, as she’s scored in both games Milan have played so far (and was last season’s Serie A capocannoniere). Valentina has also become a fan favorite in WoSo circles, where she has gained quite the following among women’s football fans. That in turn, has led to an uptick in people following Milan, and they do so in large part, thanks to her. (Sidenote: But seriously, read some of the tags for those posts.)

I think they uh, really like her
Tumblr Dot Com

Eleonora, on the other hand, has also been receiving a lot of attention, but for completely different reasons, with most of it ― and let’s be honest here ― hinging on how ridiculously good looking she is. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you, but it would be a huge mistake to reduce her down to her incredible good looks. After all, Eleonora was actually selected by CT Milena Bertolini to play for Italy at the recent Women’s World Cup in France, but, unfortunately, was unable to play due to acquiring an injury before the tournament had started.

Eleonora also has the distinction of being able to combine the physicality and athleticism of American ‘soccer’ along with the technical ability developed in Europe, thanks to the four years she spent studying in America and playing for Eastern Tennessee University. The Inter forward had a fruitful tenure there, as she broke a plethora of records, and managed to garner several honors in the process.

Her Serie A debut, on the other hand, has gotten off to a slow start (as, again, she’s still recovering from an injury, which might have been acerbated when she played for Italy during the recent Universiade that was held in Napoli). However, she did score in a friendly against Como, which will no doubt give her a boost of confidence. Attilio Sorbi (Inter’s coach) chose to bench Eleonora during their first game against Hellas Verona due to, again, Eleonora being out of shape due to recovering from an injury. But the fact that he chose to start her against Como, and she repaid his faith in her by scoring, means she’s on her way back.

If she does start on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how she matches up against Giacinti, as it will put two rising stars on a collision course with one another. And let’s hope for a supernova explosion in their wake.

Golden Girl Goldoni
Eleonora Goldoni

The Form

Inter are the Serie A debutantes, which means they are surely but slowly, making their way in the league. The Nerazzurre have gotten off to a slow start in the women’s top flight. Their debut game against Hellas Verona ended in a 2-2 tie. (And it was, of all people, Benedetta Glionna, on loan from Juventus, who denied them their first ever win.) They also managed to scrape by a tough but spirited Empoli side, thanks to a penalty converted by Gloria Marinelli. And that’s in addition to the fact that they tied Serie C minnows, Como, in a friendly game that ended 1-1.

Milan on the other hand, have been flying. They are currently on top of Serie A on the strength of a seven goal differential. Their confidence has no doubt been buoyed by this, and the fact that they beat a strong Roma side in their first game of the season, in what was a tough contest they were not expected to win. Milan will look to continue their win streak by doing what suits them best, and they’ll most likely do so by deploying a 4-1-4-1 against Inter, the same formation that allowed them to score four goals against Orobica. (It will either be that, or a 4-3-3, as Ganz is flexible with his formations.) The team will be looking to deploy a similar offensive threat against their crosstown cugine.

The only thing to worry about, however, is how tired both Valentinas must be after playing in Italy’s recent European qualifiers against Malta and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Giacinti played both matches, and her form suffered in the last game in particular, as she spent most of the game being offside and arguing instead of scoring goals (and she also briefly left us in a state of panic as she went down with an apparent injury for a few minutes. Fortunately, she’s just fine now). One wonders though, if she’ll carry that over with her into this game. However, it should be noted that both Valentinas play better for Milan and Ganz then they do under Bertolini.

Here’s to hoping they’ll be able to shake that off and play what is most certainly, one of the most important games of their lives. Milan will enter this derby in a unique position, as they’ll enter it with the full knowledge that they are on top of the Serie A table, and also with something the Milanisti haven’t experienced in a long time: a sense of confidence.

And Milan will actually have a chance to beat Inter. When’s the last time you’ve heard of that?

Other things of note:

  • Federica Rizza, Milan’s starting right back, will be out of the derby due to injury. Fortunately, her replacement is Francesca Vitale, who is a defender that has a wealth of experience. Francesca also captained Milan when they were in Serie B, and fighting to achieve promotion. A fan favorite, Francesca should be able to slot right in and apply all of her wealth of knowledge and technical ability to the position, and will hopefully overcome the jitters of knowing that she will have to play her first, full 90 minutes of the season, in the derby against Inter. We believe in you, Francesca!
  • The game will not be played at the San Siro. Unfortunately, due to how delicate the pitch in the stadium apparently is, the ladies were denied the opportunity to play the first, ever derby between the women at the hallowed stadium. Instead, the game will be played at the stadio Breda di Sesto in San Giovanni, which is the Inter women’s home base. It’s an unfortunate, and missed opportunity. However, there is a small consolation in knowing that Milan will try to have the game between Milan and Juve contested at the San Siro instead (in what is most certainly a 2012 déjà vu). Here’s to hoping they’re successful, both in getting the right to play in the stadium, and in the derby against Inter.
  • Refiloe Jane will be the first South African to play the derby for either the men, or the women. The fact of which, has become a source of great pride in South Africa. Let’s hope she’ll play well and make them even more proud on Sunday.
  • Tickets for the derby have now officially been sold-out. Which means we’ll have a full, packed house on Sunday, and our girls will get all the support they deserve and will most definitely need!

With all of this in mind, here’s to hoping you’ll be intrigued enough to watch. The game will be broadcast on Sky Sport in Italy, and will most likely be streamed on the official account for the Inter Women, and on the AC Milan app.

The ladies will have a chance to make history this Sunday, and here’s to hoping that this will be a beautiful chapter that they can add to their ever unfolding story.