Not a great match, but the big winners of the Derby della Madonnina are Inter, beating AC Milan 1-0 with a very late goal from Rodrigo Palacio, giving the Nerazzurri a deserved win after looking like the better and more dangerous team in the second half.
That was it pretty much. One 86th minute goal from Palacio, tricking the Milan defense and keeper with a cheeky heel, and one red card during injury time, as Sulley Muntari brutally shoved Mateo Kovacic. It didn’t stop Milan from getting one last chance to try and save a point and part of their honor, but Samir Handanovic, in awful form of late, put on the needed slight touch in order to deny Nigel de Jong an easy goal.
Everything wrong with Italian football and both these teams over the last few years came crashing down on the first 45 minutes. No one trying to attack, no one trying to break the mold, as lone strikers – Palacio and Balotelli, looked completely isolated and deprived of what was actually happening on the pitch.
When did things change? When Mateo Kovacic joined instead of Saphir Taider, making Inter look a lot more balanced and aggressive in the midfield, while Milan waited too long with the necessary substitution, introducing Giampaolo Pazzini only after conceding the goal.
Inter won’t be in the title race thanks to this win, but they’re much closer to Napoli and that Champions League spot than before, five points behind, now at fifth. Maybe this will release something in Mazzarri, who has been looking quite limited afraid in recent weeks since the ownership changed.
Milan? It’s hard to put a finger on just one, or even three things that need changing. As with most clubs doing terribly, and Milan, now falling to 13th, 27 points below Juventus and 12 points from a European spot, are doing horribly, the manager might be the one to pay the price.