Former Inter striker Hernan Crespo predicts that the Nerazzurri’s Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against AC Milan on Tuesday will be a great spectacle.
Speaking to Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview published in today’s print edition, Crespo predicted a highly entertaining match and suggested that it is the Rossoneri who have more to potentially gain.
The Milan derby is always one of the showpiece occasions in Italian football, and it is especially so when there is something significant at stake.
This season, the city rivals arrive at the climax of the season as direct rivals in both the Serie A title race and for the Coppa Italia.
The two sides do not play each other in Serie A again, but their second leg clash for a place in the Coppa Italia final will have the feel of a real battle for supremacy among two of Italy’s top sides, and could have ramifications for the Scudetto chase as well in terms of momentum.
“At this point of the season, with the two teams separated by two points in the table and five rounds to go, this Cop[a derby could also have an effect on the fight for the title,” Crespo suggested.
Asked who he felt had the more to gain from the match, he argued that “Milan, for two reasons. First, because the opportunity to raise a trophy would bring Pioli’s team to a logical goal as far as opening up a winning cycle.”
“It is the case that a success, or moving onto the next round given that you can go on even with a draw, can linger in the legs and the minds of the players after a derby,” he added.
He also pointed out that “We must remember that asterisk in the table, which is that Inter must have a game in hand against Bologna.”
“Eliminating the Nerazzurri from the Coppa can give Milan the right momentum for the final sprint,” he suggested, “and cause some of the feeling of certainty that Inzaghi’s men have to waver.”
Of Inter’s form he said that “Inzaghi has rediscovered the shape and balance that only Brozovic can guarantee and the team got back moving again.”
“The Rossoneri and Nerazzurri arrive at this derby in even form,” he argued, “it will be a spectacular clash.”