A Jose Mourinho led Nerazzurri side went into the 2009-10 season with hopes of European Glory after 4 consecutive Serie A titles but never making it past the quarterfinal of the Champions League.
With the off-season departure of Zlatan Ibrahimović to Barcelona and the additions of stars such as Diego Milito, Thiago Motta, Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto’o and Lucio, the expectations were sky high in black and blue half of Milano.
However, the Nerazzurri got off to a shaky start at home in season opener against Bari with a 1-1 draw. With the Milan Derby looming in round two, tension was sky high as both Milan giants were at their peak, trying to get off to a quick start and take an early lead in the Scudetto race.
On the other hand, the home side, AC Milan, were coming off a clinical 2-1 win away at Siena on the back of an Alexandre Pato brace. The Rossoneri were a side with the star power of Alessandro Nesta, Ronaldinho, Gattuso, Seedorf and Pirlo, had further reinforced the squad in the summer transfer window with the additions of Thiago Silva, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and David Beckham. Despite the retirement of AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini and the sale of Kaka to Real Madrid, Milan was still a very difficult side to line up against.
Leonardo had the home side lining up in a traditional Milan 4-3-1-2 formation with Storari in goal and defensive line of Jankulovski, Thiago Silva, Nesta, Zambrotta. Midfield trio of Gattuso (c), Pirlo, Flamini and Ronaldinho orchestrating the attack as trequartista behind attacking duo of Pato and Boriello.
Mourinho had the visiting Nerazzurri side also lining up in the same formation. Julio Cesar in goal with defense of Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu. Midfield trio of Zanetti, Stankovic and Thiago Motta with new addition Wesley Sneijder as trequartista followed by the dynamic duo of Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o.
Everything from the build-up to the derby to the atmosphere and choreography by the fans was electric! Right from the start, Inter showed tremendous attacking intent as their strikers were constantly pressing up against the Rossoneri defense. The Nerazzurri were relying on lightning fast counter-attack opportunities with pacey strikers at the top, while the Rossoneri were trying to build out the back methodically in offense.
Inter took the early lead following a brilliantly orchestrated passing sequence between Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Eto’o and Milito, that carved open Rossoneri defenses for a 1-0 lead. The highlight of this build-up leading to the goal was the intelligence and positioning of Thiago Motta. His brilliant movement showcased his ability to read a play two moves ahead and saw Thiago Silva pulling out of his position to cover the run of Eto’o. He looped in behind his marker and into the space vacated by Silva, completely unmarked, received the precise pass of Milito to score Inter’s first goal of the night. A goal that even left Berlusconi and Galliani speechless due to it’s sheer class.
Following the goal, Milan mounted a come-back looking for the equalizer. With a compact defensive setup to beat, Milan were unable to rely on the pace of Pato and Ronaldinho to create chances. Instead, the Rossoneri were methodically trying to build-up offense and trying to break down Inter defenses. With a majority of the team committing forward in attack looking for the equalizer, Samuel Eto’o beat the offside trap by the Rossoneri and was wide open with acres of space ahead and just the goalkeeper to beat.
Maicon lobbed a long pass over the top for Eto’o who seemed destined to score, however Gattuso ran from behind and made a last-ditch effort to prevent another goal and conceded a penalty. Diego Milito comfortably converted from the spot, giving Nerazzurri a two goal as half-time was approaching.
With Gattuso already picking up a yellow-card for pulling down Eto’o inside the box, Milan lost the physical edge in the midfield. Throughout the first half, Maicon was unstoppable coming up from the right-back position. Making powerful runs forward and comfortably getting past Jankulovski with ease. With their midfield unable to cope with the constant movement of Motta, Zanetti and Stankovic, Jankulovski was often left with no cover once Maicon was able to get past him. As half-time approached, Milito played a quick pass through to Maicon inside the box, leading to Inter’s third goal of the match.
Throughout much of second half, Milan were unable to breakdown the Nerazzurri defensive wall. With Pato’s pace taken out of the match, he was left ineffective in attack, often isolated and unable to cope with the physicality of the match. After conceding three goals in the first half alone, Rossoneri were wary of committing too many men forward to avoid letting another one past Storari.
However, in their attempts to clog the passing lanes around the penalty box, they left Dejan Stankovic completely unmarked who unleashed a trademark Deki-bomb thirty-five yards out, past a helpless Storari for an emphatic fourth goal of the night.
With the Nerazzurri faithful delirious and the Rossoneri stunned, the Derby Della Madonnina ended with a 0-4 score line giving the bragging rights and everything in between to the black and blue half of Milano. Magnificent night, brilliant performance capped by two dreamgoals, made it even better for the Nerazzurri faithful with ‘Il Principe’ Diego Milito capping off a man-of-the-match performance with a goal and two brilliant assists.