One of the big games in the European football fixture calendar took place on Sunday night, as Serie A saw AC Milan and Inter Milan battle it out in the local derby.
At the break it remained goalless, with AC Milan having more intent and attacking creativity than Inter. Kaka's shot from 20 yards struck the crossbar in the closest effort either side had to a goal. After half-time, AC remained the more adventurous side and deservedly won when Nigel De Jong headed home from close range.
|AC Milan Player Ratings|
|Inter Milan Player Ratings|
First half quick analysis
Inter started with more expansiveness to their play and more players looking to get ahead of the ball. AC, by contrast, were happy to see Mario Balotelli drop deep, but nobody made the runs beyond him to take advantage.
Both left-sided players, Kevin Constant for Milan and Yuto Nagatomo for Inter, were interesting out-balls to switch play and progress downfield, though the delivery from both was not always what it might have been.
Right-back De Sciglio had a dreadful first half, mis-controlling the ball, failing to make tackles and generally struggling with his decision-making, though his side as a whole grew into the match to dominate possession from around the midway point of the half.
Kaka and Adel Taarabt were more heavily and regularly involved than Mateo Kovacic of Inter, with Inter's front two scarcely involved at all and lacking in support. Kaka's rocket shot off the bar was the best moment of quality in the first half, in either final third.
Second half quick analysis
Milan continued as the side in the ascendency after the break and created far more shooting opportunities than their rivals.
Taarabt was often quick to move forward in possession in his No. 10 role, but his final pass was frequently lacking, if he even made it instead of overrunning the ball, as he often did.
Milan's diamond saw them dominate play in midfield, with Kaka's movement down the channels a good option in attack to pick up the ball between Inter's three central defenders. It wasn't until late in the game when Inter went to a back four and pushed more numbers into the centre that the away side started to get bodies into the final third.
Overall, both sides lacked quality in the final third far too often and it wasn't a great surprise that the opening goal came off a set piece rather than a move in open play—though Balotelli's delivery was indeed excellent on that occasion.