City of Milano has been coloured red and black on Sunday night as AC Milan recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win over their city rivals Inter in the Derby della Madonnina to put Roberto Mancini under huge amount of pressure.
Tables have turned for local rivals in 2016 and it is Sinisa Mihajlovic’s men who are having the last laugh.
Impeccable performance has seen Rossoneri record an important and a commanding 3-0 win which has now put them back in line for the European places.
AC Milan are just two points shy of AS Roma in fifth, while Inter’s title ambitions are fading after yet another disappointing result in an important game.
Mancini has lost the plot and the latest defeat to local rivals will only put an extra pressure on his players, who are pretty disappointed with their manager’s attitude in the last couple of weeks.
Sinisa Mihajlovic and Roberto Mancini are dear friends and former co-workers, but there was no place for emotions on Sunday as the student outgrew his teacher.
Serbian and Italian tacticians played together, worked together in Mancini’s first spell at Inter, but destiny saw them go their separate ways making them enemies on the night of the first Derby della Madonnina in 2016.
Tactically perfect, Mihajlovic’s AC Milan won every midfield battle allowing Inter very little room to put young Donnarumma in danger. More importantly, the hosts won every mental battle on Sunday night, exploiting their rivals’ anxiousness and despair.
Inter have been in poor form over the last couple of weeks, but it is the poor rapport between Roberto Mancini and his players that has been having the most detrimental effect to the results.
Inter’s boss criticised his strikers for their inability to find the back of the net, lashing out on them in several occasions this term. Mancini has been heavily criticised for his tactical approach in the media as well and chronically defence-oriented tactician has struggled to deliver and meet the expectations.
The visiting team did end the game with ball possession on their side.
Inter’s 53.2% to AC Milan’s 46.8% hides the true picture from tonight’s Derby della Madonnina in which the Rossoneri have been controlling much of the proceedings.
Impatient crowd waited for 35 minutes to see a change on the scoreline.
Keisuke Honda produced a brilliant lofted cross from the right with Alex making an impressive leap to smash the ball into the net and make it 1-0 much to the delight of the home team’s supporters.
We have seen great desire from both sides during the entire 90 minutes, but AC Milan’s defence held strong under the Inter’s attacks which came mostly through the right side of the pitch and through Ljajic and Jovetic in the first 45 minutes.
Crucial moment of the game happened after 70 minutes of play.
Referee Antonio Damato blew the whistle on Alex’s tripping inside the area pointing to the white spot without much hesitation. Mauro Icardi took the ball but his shot met the right post of Gianluigi Donnarumma’s goal.
AC Milan’s keeper had another fine performance tonight. Focused for the entire ninety minutes, the talented shot stopper tested the fans’ nerves a couple of times, but was composed enough to deny his rivals when needed.
M’Baye Niang proved his worth
Three minutes after Icardi’s missed penalty AC Milan struck a huge blow to Inter’s chances and ambitions in the game.
M’Baye Niang sent a brilliant ball into the box and behind Inter defence’s back which was collected by Carlos Bacca, who left Handanovic still on his goal line making it 2-0 for AC Milan.
Down on their knees, Inter were unable to get back into the game as it seemed that Icardi’s miss saw them lose any hope of making a positive result in the match.
M’Baye Niang once again hit the centre stage, this time not with an assist, but with a goal.
His first attempt into the middle of the goal was cleared by Handanovic, but the ball bounced back to AC Milan’s forward for the second and more successful try.
Niang ran towards his manager to celebrate the goal and to thank Mihajlovic for standing up against the club’s hierarchy who were eager to give up on the talent in January. Sinisa Mihajlovic, however, supported his player and was rewarded with a sublime performance against Inter.
It was 3-0 for AC Milan after 77 minutes and the game was already over.
Samir Handanovic was the only bright spark in Mancini’s team tonight and the Slovenian goalkeeper was applauded for his superb defending towards the end of the game.
Handanovic did great to prevent the second-half substitute Mario Balotelli from scoring on 80 minutes. Balotelli’s shot went towards the inside the right post, but Handanovic’s magnificent save cleared the danger and perhaps preserved that little pride that has been left after the proper battering.
AC MILAN: Donnarumma 8 – Abate 7.5, Alex 7.5, Romagnoli 7, Antonelli 6.5 – Honda 7 (Boateng 6), Kucka 7.5, Montolivo 7, Bonaventura 7.5 – Niang 8 (Balotelli 6.5), Bacca 7.5 (Bertolacci 6).
Unused subs: Abbiati, Calabria, De Sciglio, Livieri, Mauri, Menez, Poli, Simic, Zapata.
INTER: Handanovic 6 – Santon 6, Miranda 6.5, Murillo 6, Jesus 6.5 – Medel 6, Brozovic 6 – Perisic 6 (Melo 6), Eder 6, Ljajic 6.5 (Telles 6) – Jovetic 6 (Icardi 6).
Unused subs: Berni, Carizzo, D’Ambrosio, Gnoukouri, Kondogbia, Manaj, Nagatomo, Palacio.
REFEREE: Antonio Damato
Other results this evening:
Chievo 0-4 Juventus
Bologna 3-2 Sampdoria
Genoa 0-0 Fiorentina
Napoli 5-1 Empoli
Torino 0-0 Verona
Udinese 0-0 Lazio