The AC Milan Women beat Inter Milan by a score of 4-1. The match was noteworthy for several reasons, chief among them being the fact that Valentina Giacinti was the first Milan player to score a hat-trick in the first half since Jose Altafini.
Highlights of the match are below…
Milan took the field in a 3-5-2 formation. The key difference between this match and their last few matches was that Yui Hasegawa was fielded as a right centre-mid. Normally, she plays on the left.
The midfield trio of Jane, Vero, and Hasegawa played very well during this match. Jane was the holding midfielder who held things down in the middle of the park, while Vero and Yui provided balance in-between the lines.
Inter, on the other hand, fielded a 4-3-3.
The Nerazzurre chose to field Caroline Møller as a false-nine in this formation. Perhaps they were looking to build off of her performance during the last derby, where Møller scored a stunner against Milan that helped them win that match.
And for the first few minutes of the match, it nearly worked.
The Match Itself
The first few minutes of the match were characterized by uncertainty for Milan. Inter Milan began the game by attacking and trying to take advantage of Milan’s defensive frailties. One example of this happened at the seventh minute of the match, as Yoreli Rincón hit a powerful shot that was saved by Mária Korenčiová. The Rossonere were fortunate that it didn’t go in.
Milan were unable to hold the ball for the first ten minutes, as the Nerazzurre pressed and probed them. As a consequence of this, Inter took the lead through Møller, who scored yet another fantastic goal. The midfielder found a lot of space in front of goal and took a long-range shot that found the back of the net. Milan’s poor defensive marking was the main culprit here.
For the first 15 minutes, it seemed like Milan were making the same mistakes they made during the last match against Inter, and were heading towards another defeat. And when Inter’s Beatrice Merlo ran unchallenged through the midfield, it just compounded that feeling.
It took both teams at least fifteen minutes to absorb the pressure from one another and to get their heads in the game. It also took quite a while for Milan to change their defensive positions, thus giving the Nerazzurre room to explore while they were doing so.
The Rossonere gave Inter too much space near the penalty area, which resulted in the Nerazzurre taking a few shots from outside of the box. They did so mainly because Milan’s defense didn’t employ any close player-to-player control or couldn’t stop them from shooting.
The tide began to turn for Milan after Giacinti scored at the 15th minute. The goal came began with a buildup of play through the midfield after Hasegawa made an intelligent pass to Jane, who then fired a powerful shot from outside the box. As Inter’s Chiara Marchitelli parried the shot, Giacinti was well-positioned to score a brilliant header.
The goal was also her 50th for Milan, and she made history with by becoming the first Rossonere to score 50 goals in the league. From that moment forward, Milan slowly but gradually began to take control at the match.
The Rossonere were then awarded a penalty at the 30th minute, after Vero Boquete’s precise cross into the box found Natasha Dowie, who then accelerated towards goal.
Marchitelli then fouled her and left her on the ground, and was thus awarded with a spot-kick. Giacinti stepped up to take it, then scored her second of the night.
This was then followed up by Dowie sprinting down the right-wing, then passing the ball to Giacinti, who then completed her hat-trick. Valentina’s movement was exceptional, as she quickly moved towards the ball and used her body to launch the ball with incredible strength and precision.
During the second half, Milan tried to keep the ball in their own half to prevent Inter from attacking on the wings. It was a tactic they employed during the first half of the derby, only they were more successful during the latter half of the game.
During the second half, Inter only had one shot on target at the 72nd minute, thus forcing Korenciová to make a great save. Other than that, Inter failed to properly threaten Milan’s goal.
The Rossonere, on the other hand, would get their fourth goal at the 65th minute. They would then emerge as the deserved winners of the Derby della Madonnina, and swing the momentum back into Milan’s favor. And with that win, Milan is once again, red and black.
Natasha Dowie should be commended for her performance during this match. Dowie has proven to be a great team player, as she was involved in the build-up of three of the team’s goals. She also provided the assist for the team’s third goal, and she has registered five assists this season.
She is, inarguably, one of the team’s best players.
Giacinti’s Golden Goals
Valentina Giacinti scored four goals during this match. She also became the first Milan player to score a hat-trick during the first half since José Altafini.
The Rossonere skipper also has 16 goals for the season, and she’s second in the league to Juve’s Cristiana Girelli.
Valentina Giacinti has proven to be truly invaluable for Milan, and her performance just cemented this.
Yui’s Touch and Vision
Yui Hasegawa also played quite well during this match. The midfielder excelled in her role, despite being fielded on the right and not on the left as she usually is.
The fact that she did so is a testament to how talented she is as a player.
Her touch, vision, dribbling, passing and sense of balance are all exceptional. The way she spun around and laid the ball directly into Giacinti’s path is a testament to this.
Yui was one of the keys to winning this game and Milan are fortunate to have her.
Not surprisingly, Milan dominated this match. The team had 54% possession and registered 17 shots on target. They also had six corners while Inter had four.
They put on a thoroughly dominant display and were the deserved winners.
Serie A Femminile will go on hiatus for the international break. Italy will play a friendly against Iceland on April 13th. Only two members of the current Milan squad have been summoned to the national team for this outing. The two players are Valentina Giacinti and Valentina Bergamaschi.
The two players will also have meet Berglind Björg Thorvaldsdóttir once again (while I play Bittersweet by Fantasia and try not to cry in the background).
They’ll also meet Guðný Árnadóttir before playing her in the league again. Once the league returns from hiatus, the Rossonere will play Napoli CF on April 18th. The match will take place on Sunday, at 12:30 CET. Napoli have lost their last two matches and are barely hovering above relegation.
Expect Milan to carry the momentum from this win into their next match as to win that game as well.