Richard Hall – Nerazzurri Classics: “‘One Of The Best Derbies In Living Memory’
Every week SempreInter.com editorialist, Richard Hall, takes a look back at the glorious history of Inter by highlighting a certain match, hero or any other event in Inter’s history worthy of being labelled Nerazzurri Classic’s. Ahead of tomorrow’s away derby against Milan, Richard looks back at a truly classic fixture between the two Milanese teams.
Roberto Mancini’s Inter faced Milan in the Derby della Madonnina in October 2006. Like a drug the cocktail of euphoria from the World Cup win was tainted with the come down of league football and Calciopoli had. This had enveloped Italian Football but had left a strong looking Inter, who found themselves with a superb chance to start a domination of the Italian league. The Derby was their first real test. Dejan Stankovic scored one and got two assists producing a man of the match performance. Inter went on to beat AC Milan 3-4 in an epic match at the Giuseppe Meazza. The memorable victory moved Mancini’s men three points clear of Palermo at the top of the by the end of play and would allow them to grab a march on the rest of the competition.
Serbian midfielder Stankovic, who had excelled for Inter since all season started proceedings, he crossed for Hernan Crespo to head in the opener on 17 minutes. It took only five minutes after the restart before he collected a pass from Maicon. The Serb then executed an unstoppable right-foot shot into the top left corner to collect what this was already, his fourth of the season.
Inter continued to press on and apply pressure despite holding the 2-0 lead. Good defending limited Milan to shots from distance with Kakà twice pulling superb saves out of Julio Cesar. At half time the score was at 0-2 and Inter were cruising. Carlo Ancelotti made three half-time substitutions, bringing on Oliveira, Gilardino and Maldini on for Ambrosini, Inzaghi and Jankulovski in a desperate attempt to save the game. The fact that he used up his entire bench spoke volumes about Inter’s level of performance.
Inter then dealt a hammer blow to Milan when within two minutes Ibrahimovic fired past Dida following a central run on goal by Stankovic. This was starting to look like it could turn into a massacre and the Rossoneri were aghast. Milan however, showed some fight and pulled one back soon after when Seedorf’s shot deflected off Cordoba into the net with Julio Cesar wrong footed and with no chance. Mancini brought on Figo and Burdisso for Dacourt and Grosso as he prepared to change tact sure out the back whilst giving more creativity to his front players.
Marco Materazzi was soon on the score sheet as he headed in a Figo cross on 68 minutes, Mancini’s substitute seemed to have paid off and Inter were now 4-1 up and the game looked over. Matterazzi was then sent off for a second bookable offence for celebrating and partly removing his jersey. The defender left the field pointing at the name on his back still, confident that the three points were in the bag. With the Nerazzurri down to ten men for the final twenty minutes, Milan picked up the pace and reduced the deficit. Gilardino met a Cafu cross from the right headed well into the top left corner. Inter still thought this would be too little too late.
Kakà then left Inter hearts racing as he set up a tense final few minutes after he lobbed Julio Cesar and put the game at 3-4. Inter did hold out Stankovic’s celebrations echoed the importance of the win. This really had been one of the most enthralling Milan Derbies of recent times.
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