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Inter Milan 5-1 AC Milan: Match Recap

A five star, five goal performance propels Inter to fifth-straight derby win

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Serie A TIM Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Inter’s Derby della Madonnina dominance never ceases to delight. The Nerazzurri have met (and beaten) its city rivals five times in 2023, and Saturday’s edition was the most one-sided yet. Inter put five (!!!!!) past Milan, never looking back from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s 5th-minute opener. The Armenian ended the night with a brace, while Marcus Thuram, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Davide Frattesi added goals of their own. A Rafael Leao strike ended Inter’s perfect defensive record, but that’s a small price to pay for a 5-1 derby rout.

Starting XIs

Inter’s XI (3-5-2)
Milan’s XI (4-3-3)

Amidst an electric atmosphere fit for one of the biggest derbies in the world, Simone Inzaghi made one change from the pre-international break win over Fiorentina, somewhat surprisingly bringing Francesco Acerbi back over Stefan de Vrij. New signings Benjamin Pavard, Alexis Sanchez, and Davy Klaasen all rode the bench. Stefano Pioli’s Milan also made a lone switch from a 2-1 win against Roma, with Simon Kjaer replacing the suspended Fikayo Tomori.

First Half

It didn’t take long for Inter to reassert its superiority over Milan. Mkhitaryan found the opener with a somewhat unorthodox deflection off a Dimarco shot, with Marcus Thuram playing a key role in the build-up.

With an early lead secured, Inter was happy to sit back and let the Rossoneri try and find a way past through possession. As you may have suspected, that didn’t go too well for Milan, who could only manage a few half chances before Inter made it pay on the counter. Thuram made it 2-0 in the 38th minute, banging home a wonder strike against the team he was so close to joining in the summer.

That proved to be that for the first half, which ended with the good guys firmly in control. Though Milan held 69% of possession and managed 6 shots (1 on target) to Inter’s 7 (2 on target), the Nerazzurri were far more dangerous with an expected goals of 0.94, almost double Milan’s 0.52xg.

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Serie A TIM Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

Second Half

Milan came out of the break improved, and did enough to make a game of things (momentarily) through Rafael Leao in the 57th minute.

That goal combined with a triple change from Inzaghi, who introduced, Frattesi, Augusto, and Arnautovic, kicked Inter back awake and this time there was no mercy shown. Mkhitaryan notched a brace with a deflected strike in the 69th minute to restore Inter’s breathing room.

The Nerazzurri were awarded a penalty ten minutes later when Theo Hernandez clipped Lautaro Martinez en route to a loose ball, and Hakan Calhanoglu was more than happy to further bury his ex-team with the spot-kick. Milan would have wanted that to be the end of its nightmare evening, but Davide Frattesi had other ideas and opened his Inter account in the third minute of stoppage time to spark understandably wild celebrations from players and fans alike. By the time the dust had settled, Inter’s second half was even more dominant than the first, with 7 shots (5 on target) compared to Milan’s 3 and 1.71xg to 0.54xg.

Player Ratings

Sommer - 6.5: Lost his run of shutouts but didn’t hold any of the blame of Leao’s goal and was only tested once more.

Bastoni - 6: Wasn’t able to be the same force he usually is on the ball, managing only a 79% passing rate, 0 key passes, and 0 crosses, though 7 accurate long balls is nothing shabby.

Acerbi - 7: Proved Inzaghi’s trust in him right with a rock-solid evening. Led Inter in touches (52), completed 4 long balls, and won 6 duels.

Darmian - 5.5: Didn’t have much to do, with the 3rd-fewest touches of outfield starters, 0 duels, and only 1 clearance and interception.

Dimarco - 7: An excellent showing, highlighted by an assist on the opener, a team-high 4 key passes, 3 accurate crosses, and one long ball.

Mkhitaryan - 9 (Man of the Match): Seems to love playing Milan. Tallied 2 goals and an assist but was just as busy off the boxscore, where he won 7 duels, made 2 key passes, 3 tackles, 1 interception, and the second-most touches on Inter (51).

Calhanoglu - 7: Notched another goal from the penalty spot against his old team to go along with a solid shift of 47 touches and 32 passes (3rd highest for each), 1 key pass, 2 crosses, and 4 accurate long balls.

Barella - 5: Not much to write home about from Barella’s night, which included more off the ball (5 duels won, 4 tackles), than on it (30 touches and an 87% passing rate) before an early exit for Frattesi.

Dumfries - 5: Had the 3rd-fewest touches on Inter (30) but the most giveaways (11), but did manage 1 key pass.

Lautaro - 6.5: His quietest game yet with a still quite respectable 1 assist, 2 key passes, and 4 duels won, but Inter clearly had no trouble finding the back of the net regardless.

Thuram - 8: Continues to grow into his role at the Meazza. Added another goal and helped create the opener. Wasn’t very active on the ball otherwise, and won almost as many duels (4) and he had accurate passes (6).

Inzaghi - 9: A superbly coached game. Inzaghi made a bold decision to give Acerbi his first start in months in the derby over an inform de Vrij but it paid off. His subs after Leao’s strike were quite timely as well and kept the Rossoneri from getting a foothold in proceedings.

FC Internazionale v AC Milan - Serie A TIM Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Inter takes sole possession of the top spot in Serie A with twelve points from twelve, two ahead of Juventus. The next outing comes Wednesday in the Champions League group-stage opener at Real Sociedad before a domestic meeting with Empoli next Sunday.

For now, though, let’s just sit back and enjoy a 5-1 Derby della Madonnina victory.

Forza Inter!