The Champions of last season faced their town rivals AC Milan. It was a chance for the Nerazzurri to cut their 7-point deficit against their neighbors. A loss for Simone Inzaghi‘s side would put them out of the title race. Despite dominating this fixture in recent years, Inter had to be worried. AC Milan had only dropped points against Juventus, and alongside fellow table-toppers Napoli, they are the team to beat in Serie A.
The teams have contrasting fortunes. Inter Milan is dominating their UEFA Champions League group while AC Milan only have 1 point from a possible 12. The Rossoneri lead in Serie A with Inter striving to match them. The derby promised to be a delicious affair.
Things started frantically. There was such an energetic pace to the game as the action moved from end to end. Stefano Pioli made one tactical change, dropping Franck Kessie in between the CBs. That change backfired when former AC Milan playmaker Hakan Çalhanoğlu pressed him high, and their legs tangled. The referee gave it, and the Turkish midfielder slammed it down the middle and celebrated in front of the Curva Sud. AC Milan 0-1 Inter Milan.
Six minutes later, AC Milan equalized. Sandro Tonali swung in a free-kick, Fikayo Tomori and Stefan de Vrij went for it, and the latter headed it into his net. AC Milan 1-1 Inter Milan.
Ten minutes later and Milan gave away another penalty. Fodé Ballo-Touré was caught on the wrong side by Matteo Darmian, and even though he won the tackle, the ref gave the penalty. This time Lautaro Martínez, scoreless in six games, stepped up and fired to Ciprian Tătărușanu’s right. The Romanian followed it and saved.
The game continued frantically, and Rafael Leão had the next shot on target. He drove into Inter’s box before firing at Samir Handanović, who palmed it back to the Portuguese attacker. From the rebound, Leao blazed over. Inter then had a great chance to score after Alessandro Bastoni underlapped into the box and crossed for Nicolò Barella. His shot was on target, but Ballo-Touré cleared it off the line. Inter carved out another chance when Edin Džeko set up Lautaro, but the Argentine dragged his shot wide. Halftime.
Pierre Kalulu replaced Ballo-Touré at left-back. A smart decision seeing how the derby jitters were getting to Ballo-Touré. Milan had been allowing Inter Milan many setpieces, and Çalhanoğlu was dropping dimes. The Nerazzurri man whipped in one on 48, but Džeko headed too high.
On 54, Lautaro dropped his shoulder and slipped away from Fikayo Tomori before firing. Kessie and Tomori deflected the shot over. Çalhanoğlu then flashed a shot wide of the goal mark. Alexis Saelemaekers replaced Brahim Díaz, while Ante Rebić replaced Rafael Leão. Rebić came on with a mission as he drove at Inter before his shot was deflected for a corner. From the corner, Zlatan Ibrahimović curled a left-footed shot wide. Arturo Vidal replaced Barella, who pulled his hamstring, while Ismaël Bennacer replaced Sandro Tonali.
On 72, Kalulu made two fantastic blocks to prevent Vidal from scoring. Joaquín Correa replaced Džeko and Denzel Dumfries Darmian.
Ibra scored a free-kick last week against Roma, and he came close again on 82, but Samir Handanović saved it. Bennacer then fired wide with his right from a corner-kick melee. Tiémoué Bakayoko replaced Rade Krunić and Alexis Sánchez replaced Lautaro Javier Martínez. Saelemaekers drove forward and hit the bar from a rasping hit before Kessie shot wide from the rebound. It ended that way. AC Milan 1-1 Inter Milan. The first draw in this derby since 2018.