For the second time this season, Inter Milan secured the victory against their bitter rivals in a win which has them at the top of the Italian first division. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was indomitable in the first half and contributed with a goal and an assist but a rampant second half by Inter saw the Nerazzurri once again claim the right to paint the city of Milan blue in this 2019/20 calendar year.
AC Milan lined up in 4-4-1-1 formation with Çalhanoğlu behind Ibrahimovic as the link between the attack and midfield. Castillejo filled in the right-wing while Rebic took off from the left. Kessie and Bennacer occupied the middle of the park and sat in front of the defence consisting of Conti, Romagnoli, Kjaer and Theo Hernandez.
Inter lined up with the standard 3-5-2 with De Vrij, Godin and Skiriniar in defence. Brozovic occupied the central midfield spot with Barella and Vecino lining up on either side of the Croatian. In the absence of Lautaro Martinez, Alexis Sanchez played off of target man, Romelu Lukaku and looked to act as a foil to the Belgian striker.
Stefano Pioli tinkered with the tactical setup of the team lining Calhanoglu behind the towering Ibrahimovic to roam between the lines and dictate play high up the pitch. Castillejo and Rebic stretched Inter’s central defenders with brilliant wing play and made it difficult for the team to use the flanks as an outlet. Kessie and Bennacer sat behind to block vertical passing lanes and for the team looked to circumvent the five in Inter’s midfield and restrict the play to Inter’s half of the pitch.
For 45 minutes, Milan completely dominated the game, creating chances at every turn and eventually scoring when Rebic stabbed a speculative effort into the back of the net off of Zlatan’s headed pass in Inter’s eighteen-yard area. Zlatan capped off the half by heading a goal from a right-sided corner kick by Samu Castillejo.
In the second half of the game, Inter looked a completely different proposition. Turning the game on its head with a powerful shot from Marcelo Brozovic on goal in the 51st minute, Inter looked to cut off the aerial lanes to Zlatan and did so with great success forcing Milan’s base to play out from the back. Two minutes after the first goal, Alexis Sanchez made a well-timed run into Milan’s eighteen and picked out Vecino inside the box who managed to put his shot on goal past four Milan bodies and into the back of the net.
Eventually, Milan’s fragility from set-piece situations proved to be their undoing as Stefan De Vrij delivered an acrobatic effort in acres of space to lunge the ball into the back of the Milan net to complete the comeback. In what was Milan’s final act, Ibrahimovic almost completed a headed effort to secure a draw but it was Inter who would make the last statement with a towering header by Lukaku from a Victor Moses cross in the final seconds of the game.
Milan will take positives from the first half as they look to put on a more resilient performance in midweek against Juventus in the Coppa Italia. Inter, on the other hand, will be buoyed by this result and how they got it as they continue to make the case as to why they should be Champions come may.