The Rocky San Siro Horror Show
The scoreboard doesn't lie--Milan were quite simply awful tonight.
Never have I watched a derby so one-sided in recent memory. Never have I saw a Milan team so meekly surrender their pride and allow themselves to be steamrolled by the opposition.
It is quite clear now that the opening-day victory against Siena was a false hope for optimism.
It is one thing for the Milan midfield to play around the midfield of a lower league club. It is quite another when it was put up against top-class opposition.
Ronaldinho was simply awful in this game. Gattuso should not have even been on the field to pick up that needless red card so far was he away from the game.
Andrea Pirlo looks like a man who might have been wishing he had accepted that call to link up with his old boss Carlo in London.
Clarence Seedorf has had his critics over the course of last season, but when he came on, at least he was a man who wanted to play for some pride. He was always busy, always looking for the ball.
I wish the same could have been said about some of his teammates.
The simple fact is: Milan are past it. That hurts for me to say. There was little or no passion evidenced in this match. There were no leaders on the field of play.
It hurts enough seeing a Milan derby without Paolo Maldini making interceptions without adding the extra pain the lack of leadership on the field causes.
I had a belief that the preseason horrors were simply because there was nothing really to play for. I mean, short of an extra bit of revenue, what are preseason friendlies really useful for?
But to see a team capitulate so badly in the derby against their city rivals is enough to bring a tear to the eye of any Milanista out there.
Of course, Gattuso's sending off had a large role to play in the eventual outcome of the game. But if truth be told, even if Milan were playing with 11 men, I doubt it would have really made much of a difference.
For the first 15 or so minutes, Milan were playing good football. They were imposing their style of play on Inter.
Then, it all went wrong.
Mourinho's teams always have that workmanlike quality about them.
Mostly, he employs men who are willing to dig in and grind an opponent down. Well, that's exactly what the Nerazzuri did tonight. They ground Milan down until they seized control of the midfield.
Once they gained this control, they never let go.
And what were Milan thinking of, granting Maicon the keys to the San Siro? Every time he got forward, Inter looked dangerous. He had a direct hand in two of their goals, and but for an offside flag would have provided the ball to allow Samuel Eto'o his derby goal.
On the evidence of his display tonight, Inter have struck gold with the signing of Sneijder. They have probably found that extra element of flair that any workmanlike squad needs to flourish.
That is bad news for any Rossoneri fan out there who harbours dreams of us actually winning the title.
Last season, Inter were saved on numerous occasions by a piece of audacious skill from Ibrahimovic. From what I saw tonight, they will not need too many of those.
Eto'o looks to be an absolute bargain. He was a constant menace throughout the game, pulling the Milan defence all over the pitch with his movement.
Inter's one-touch passing on the edge of the box was simply sublime, and as a Rossoneri, it is hard for me to write that statement. They tore the Milan backline apart for their first and third goals.
We are only in Week 2 of the new season. There will be better displays from the Milan team than what fans witnessed tonight.
But the simple fact is, barring a miracle, Milan will not be able to stop the Nerazzuri juggernaut this season.
It is looking more and more like I will have to hope Juventus can stop Inter from "winning" their fifth Scudetto in a row.
For a passionate Rossoneri, that final sentence is one of the most painful I will ever write.
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