By Petar Todorovski
Zlatan Ibrahimovic played an outstanding game helping his team mates to win the Derby della Madonnina against Inter Milan. The Swede scored the only goal from penalty and was giving a huge headache to Nerrazzuri defenders throughout the whole match, to find his team on top of the Calcio again after afternoon’s victory of Lazio.
Ronaldinho was on the bench again, as Robinho was selected to start the game in the attack with Zlatan. Seedorf played just behind them; Flamini, Ambrosini and Gattuso were in the midfield as Andrea Pirlo was not fully recovered yet to start. Veterans Alessandro Nesta and Gianluca Zambrotta returned to the backline to add experience for the important match, together with Ignazio Abate and Thiago Silva.
Rafael Benitez started the game with this years’s best scorer Eto’o and last years’s one, Diego Milito. Wesley Sneijder had the task to feed them with balls, while Marco Materazzi returned to the first team after a long time.
AC Milan started furious, kind of unusual play for derby. But it was worthwhile! Clarence Seedorf could open the score sheet after three minutes, but his header ended wide. Nevertheless, Rossoneri didn’t wait too long to take the lead. In next minute the world recorder for making foolish fouls, Marco Materazzi, carelessly tripped the Swedish towering striker in the box. Ibra took the responsibility and scored with ease, sending Castelazzi on the wrong side.
Ibrahimovic didn’t stop yet. He fired a formidable volley kick finishing inches wide, employed Mathieu Flamini who was stopped by Cordoba, and passed wonderfully to Robinho who managed to enter offside before scoring.
Benitez had to substitute Joel Obi in 36th minute, when young attacker Coutinho was brought on. The only serious scoring opportunity for Inter was Sneijder’s free kick, which finished in the side netting. Nerrazzuri had every right to be angry with referee Tagliavento when he decided not to send off Gennaro Gattuso before, having in mind that Milan’s captain deserved second yellow card.
However Gattuso was substituted on the half time period for the good of the team. Andrea Pirlo came on, while Rafael Benitez made changes in attack, as Goran Pandev was brought on instead of invisible Diego Milito.
Inter tried to put some pressure in attempt to equalize, but all they could do were Sneijder’s long range kicks. Their chances grew up after the little fight between Abate and Pandev. Both were shown yellow cards, but for Milan defender it was second, meaning that he has to go out.
Inter tried to attack even more, but Allegri’s side continued playing wise through counter attacks. In one of them they almost doubled the lead, but Seedorf’s kick finished inches wide.
Until the end Inter played with the ball more but they failed to create any clear chance against resistant Rossoneri, so the game ended with victory for the Red and Black side of the city.
The man of the match Zlatan Ibrahimovic hailed the team spirit and the victory with a man down.
On the other hand, Massiniliano Allegri was delighted with the way team played the game, but blamed his players because they didn’t extend the lead. “I liked the attitude of the side as we played great football, and deserved to win,” he said, “We could have scored a second goal at one stage, and it is a shame we were unable to. We fought hard for the ball, and this is fundamental for allowing the side to push high up the pitch,”
AC Milan is on top again with 26 points, one ahead of Lazio, but now with three more than third placed Napoli. Rossoneri secured a real confidence-boosting victory, ahead of the home game against underperforming Fiorentina. That would be a great opportunity to extend the lead on the table for the main title contender so far.