Derby Draw Disappointing for Both Inter and AC Milan
Massimo Allegri is right: Milan need to be more clinical. The Rossoneri will be scratching their heads after the weekend derby clash with local rivals Inter, because they were by far the better side on the night and yet still left with only a draw.
Of course, Samir Handanovic was on blistering form in the Inter goal, and on another night Mario Balotelli might have had a hat-trick. But even so, this was a game that Milan lost more than a draw Inter earned.
And while spirits at Milan might be a little low after seeing two points slip through their fingers, there'll be little celebration at Inter either.
Andrea Stramaccioni's side has fallen apart at a crucial stage of the season after showing promise.
In November, they ended bitter rivals Juventus' unbeaten run and became the first side to win at the Turin team's impressive new stadium. The slide had been arrested, it seemed, and the Nerazzurri were marching up the table, back where they belonged.
For a young man predicted to be at the start of a long Inter career earlier in the season, Stramaccioni seems like he's already out of ideas.
He might argue that it was his decision to introduce young Ezequiel Schelotto that ultimately turned this game into something salvageable, but as the boss of one of Europe's top sides, he should be doing more than scrounging for scraps in the dying minutes.
Only the Europa League campaign remains on track for Inter now, and it's a competition that hardly befits their stature. They lay fifth in the league with 44 points, just two more than seventh-place Catania—who they face next.
Calcio Catania's form this season has been impressive, and though his work was undoubtedly important, there was clearly more to their incredible season last year than Vincenzo Montella. Rolando Maran has continued on the bench and has the Sicilians looking like they belong up the table.
The betting man would not wager against the Elefanti getting a win against Inter. They've been good enough to beat the likes of Roma and Fiorentina this season, and they hammered Lazio 4-0. Should they pull a result against the Nerazzurri and send them back to Milan without anything to show for their trip down south, talk of a crisis at Inter will surely begin.
As for their cross-town rivals, Milan will know that they can't continue to be as wasteful for the rest of the season. Their impressive win over Barcelona taught us a thing or two about the quality of this side, but it was a different story against Inter, and a better team would have made the Rossoneri pay.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia afterwards, Allegri said:
“I am not angry. I’m happy with what the team did, an excellent first half with many scoring opportunities. [But] We should’ve controlled possession better to make Inter run after us, as we ended up doing things that we shouldn’t in a game like this.
“In the first half Inter couldn’t get near us and we should’ve been better with them being tired after the break, but we didn’t. Schelotto did well and it was good Yuto Nagatomo cross. We need to score goals when we get the opportunities, because we cannot expect to have the game in hand for the entire 90 minutes. We have to take our chances better.
“When a match is hanging by a thread, you have to kill it off. Possession is crucial when you are in control of a game, but we gave the ball away too many times".
The manager will take solace from the fact that more ground was not lost to Inter, and that they haven't lost momentum after the Barca clash. And continuing with that form is vital, because along with the upcoming return leg against the Catalans, Milan have the little matter of Lazio to deal with too.
Win that, and they'll be a step closer to Champions League qualification for next term. Lose, and they'll be looking over their shoulders at Inter. It's still all to play for in Italy's second city.
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