AC Milan held onto top spot in Serie A with an exhilarating 2-1 win against great rivals Inter at the San Siro on Saturday evening.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Milan a rapid start to the game, bagging twice in three first-half minutes, before Romelu Lukaku brought Inter firmly back into the match just before the half hour mark with a well-taken finish.
Antonio Conte’s men thought they had a priceless opportunity to equalise late on as Lukaku was seemingly fouled by Gianluigi Donnarumma, with a penalty being awarded. VAR intervened however to ensure Milan remained in front and claimed a valuable three points.
Here are three things we learned from an extremely entertaining clash in Milan:
Ibra writes his name over Milan derby once again
Considering his standing within world football and the aura that he has built around himself, Ibrahimovic was always going to have a say on proceedings at the San Siro. The Swede was instrumental in the victory, not just with his goals but with the sheer class and excellence in which he led the AC Milan attack.
His first goal, a rebounded strike from his original penalty, was closely followed by another, this time as he polished off a wicked counter-attack. At 39 years of age, the Swede just seems to be getting better and now only five men in history have scored more in the Milan derby than Ibrahimovic’s nine goals.
Early season openness?
It could well be argued that had this match be played later in the season once the battle for the Serie A title had intensified, it might well have not had been entertaining as it was. It really was a wide open affair, with chances coming thick and fast for both sides, an aspect that might be hard to imagine if the campaign was older and the margin for error was smaller. This is neatly displayed in the statistics with the sides having shared 30 shots between them throughout the course of the 90 minutes.
Whilst Inter enjoyed the majority of the chances following the break, their opponents still threatened albeit conservatively as they attempted to hold onto their lead. Achraf Hakimi arguably had the best opening of the match but his diving header from Arturo Vidal’s cross dropped wide of goal.
Milan remain perfect
Despite the fact that it is early in the 2020/21 Serie A campaign, the victory is definitely a marker put down by Stefano Pioli’s AC Milan. The Rossoneri now sit three points clear at the top of the table having won each of their opening four matches. It is actually the first time that the club have managed to win their first four league matches of a season since the 1995/96 campaign, ironically a year in which they lifted the title.
The early gap to some of their rivals will also be extremely satisfying for Pioli and his players. Following the win, Milan now sit five points clear of Inter and Juventus respectively, a statistic that will give them a considerable amount of confidence as they attempt to lift their first league title in over a decade. As a matter of fact, the price on them to do that has shifted following their fantastic three points at the San Siro. They can now be backed at a price of 13/1 with Betfair to do just that come the end of the season.
Inter Milan: Handanovic (6); Kolarov (7), de Vrij (6), D’Ambrosio (6); Perisic (7), Brozovic (7) (Eriksen (6), 68′), Vidal (7) (Sanchez (N/A), 84′), Hakimi (7); Barella (6), Lukaku (7), Martinez (6).
AC Milan: Donnarumma (7); Hernandez (7), Romagnoli (6), Kjaer (7), Calabria (7); Kessie (7) (Tonali (N/A), 87′), Bennacer (6); Leao (7) (Krunic (6), 63′), Calhanoglu (6), Saelemaekers (6) (Castillejo (7), 63′); Ibrahimovic (8).
Goals: Ibrahimovic (PEN 13′, 16′), Lukaku (29′)
Referee: Maurizio Mariani
Yellow Cards: Kjaer (22′), Kessie (45+1′), Ibrahimovic (60′), Brozovic (64′), Vidal (69′), Hakimi (83′)
Red Cards: N/A
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