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Inter Milan (3) 3-0 (0) AC Milan: Coppa Italia Match Recap

Lautaro shines as Inzaghi finds derby victory at long last

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Coppa Italia Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

The Derby Della Madonnina has not been kind to Simone Inzaghi - first came a 1-1 draw decided by an Inter own goal and penalty miss, followed by a defeat at the hands of two moments of magic from Olivier Giroud, and most recently a dreary 0-0 draw in leg one of the Coppa Italia semi-final over a month ago. As if a spot in the final and bragging rights wasn’t enough, the nail-biting title race between the two Milanese clubs made leg two all the more important. And for the first time yet in the derby under Inzaghi, Inter did not disappoint. Instead, the Nerazzurri sprung a delightful surprise with a dominant 3-0 win, spearheaded by a brace from Lautaro Martinez and a late strike from the new kid on the block, Robin Gosens. Not a bad Tuesday night, eh?

Starting XIs

Inter’s XI (3-5-2)
Milan’s XI (4-2-3-1)

Inzaghi made several changes from the win over Spezia, bringing Stefan de Vrij and Lautaro Martinez (partnered by Joaquin Correa) back into the XI and switching Denzel Dumfries for Matteo Darmian. Milan lined up in their usual 4-2-3-1, but with more defensively minded Franck Kessie at attacking mid over Brahim Diaz and last derby’s villain Giroud up top.

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Coppa Italia Photo by Mattia Ozbot - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

First Half

With Adriano watching on, Inter got off to a dream start and opened the scoring within four minutes. Darmian served up a perfect cross to Lautaro, whose finish on the volley into the top corner was even better.

Inter didn’t let the early goal cause complacency and continued to give Milan problems with its high press. There weren’t any more clear chances but it kept the Rossoneri from getting any cohesion in the final third. Milan’s first real chance of the half came in the 30th minute when a low long-range Alexis Saelemakers volley forced Samir Handanovic into a diving save. Giroud made an important block for Inter a few minutes later, inadvertently diverting a goalbound Tonali attempt wide. Milan came even closer in the 39th minute when a defensive mix-up forced Perisic into a goal-line clearance to preserve Inter’s lead. The Croatian’s save proved even more important, as Lautaro made it 2-0 just moments later with a deft chip. Correa got the assist to Inter’s first counter-attacking goal in what feels like years.

The first half wasn’t quite done, however - Leao had an angled shot pawed away by Handanovic while Lautaro bounced a header just wide of the post in the final minutes before the break. Ultimately, though, the 2-0 scoreline remained intact.

Second Half

Pioli made two changes to start the second half, bringing on Diaz and Junior Messias to inspire some life into the attack. Combined with a more defensive posture from Inter, Milan was able to string together some passes in the final third and put the good guys under a bit of pressure. The Rossoneri thought its work had paid off in the 67th minute when Ismael Bennacer whizzed a low effort in from the top of the box and made Interisti start to sweat, but VAR was there to rescue the Nerazzurri. The referee spotted Piere Kalulu in an offside position and blocking Handanovic’s line of sight, so the goal was disallowed.

Milan struggled to get back to its previous play after the mental letdown of the disallowed goal, and the addition of multiple subs by both teams only further benefitted Inter as it ran out the clock. The Nerazzurri weren’t content with a mere two-goal lead, however, and iced the cake in the 82nd minute via Gosens’ first-ever strike in an Inter kit.

Player Ratings

Handanovic - 7.5: Another shutout, and one he definitely had to work for with six saves.

Bastoni - 7: Put in a very industrious performance without the passing we’re used to, ending the day with 4 clearances and one blocked shot. Exited with another thigh injury late on, so might miss out against Roma.

de Vrij - 7: Good to see him back in the XI. He didn’t disappoint, totaling 4 clearances, 3 accurate long balls, and 2 blocked shots, as well as keeping Giroud quiet across all ninety minutes.

Skriniar - 7: Had a few iffy moments against Leao on the dribble but was generally as solid as ever, winning 3 duels and 3 interceptions.

Perisic - 8: Simply superb. A menace to Milan on both sides of the ball, making 5 clearances and 5 accurate long balls, as well as totaling 7 duels won and the fourth most touches on Inter (51).

Calhanoglu - 7.5: Continues to be one of Inter’s star performers. Had 55 touches (2nd most), 2 key passes, 7 crosses, and 3 successful long balls in another well-rounded showing in the center of the park. Bonus points for his post-game Instagram post.

Brozovic - 7: Didn’t quite have the same level of influence as usual, but still the heartbeat of Inter’s midfield with the most touches (57) and accurate passes (40).

Barella - 7: Another very good outing from the Italian, who won 3 duels and notched the second-most passes (55) and touches (37).

Darmian - 7.5: Deserved to get a start after letting Dumfries shine recently, and made the most of his opportunity with a peach-perfect cross to Lautaro for the opener. Other than the game-winning assist, most of his work came in the defensive third where he registered 3 clearances, 3 tackles, and 4 duels won.

Lautaro - 9: The type of performance Inter desperately needed from its number 10 in his return from a short journey on the bench. Scored two stellar goals and looked the best he has in months. Having this Lautaro for the rest of the season would be a huge asset.

Correa - 7.5: Continues to improve with regular game-time. Got the assist on Lautaro’s second with a nifty pass and is starting to put his name on a starting role.

Inzaghi - 8: Let’s give Inzaghi some credit; Inter’s back in the Coppa Italia for the first time in over a decade after losing a handful of semi-finals back to back and just beat its biggest rivals 3-0 in the semifinal. All of his lineup choices paid off and sealed the victory with the introduction of Gosens. An excellent night from Il Mister.

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Coppa Italia Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Inter now returns its attention to Serie A, where it hosts Roma Saturday before traveling to Bologna the following Wednesday. The Coppa Italia final will be against the winner of Juventus/Fiorentina (to be played Wednesday evening) on May 11th.

Forza Inter!