All square at San Siro as Milan held by Inter

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Mario Balotelli came up against his former club in the Milan derbyGettyImagesMario Balotelli came up against his former club in the Milan derby

Despite a dominant first-half display, Milan were held to a 1-1 draw at San Siro on Sunday night, as Inter grabbed a share of the spoils. The Rossoneri should arguably have been out of sight by the break but were made to rue their missed chances. However, they temporarily hold on to third place in Serie A depending on the outcome of Lazio's game on Monday night.

- Highlights: Inter 1-1 Milan (UK and Ireland)

Aside from a nervy opening to the game, the first half was very much a one-sided affair. After Stephan El Shaarawy had given Milan the lead, Mario Balotelli was twice denied a perfect return to the Derby della Madonnina by Samir Handanovic.

Tactically, coach Massimiliano Allegri had also outdone his opposite number Andrea Stramaccioni in the opening 45 minutes. Milan broke down either flank with ease, finding Mattia De Sciglio and Ignazio Abate on the overlapping run countless times.

The midfield duo of Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo were working to great effect, and the decision to continue with Kevin-Prince Boateng to complete the attacking trident was paying dividends after a similarly impressive performance on Wednesday night against Barcelona.

However, unfortunately for 'Super Mario', he found Handanovic in fine form as Milan failed to convert their pressure into goals. As with any game, but especially one of the magnitude of the Derby, taking those chances are key to victory.

By failing to do so, Inter were given a lifeline as Stramaccioni made strategic changes at halftime and his substitutions during the second half worked to great effect to swing the game back into his favour.

It was a frustrating return to the derby for Balotelli, who gradually became further annoyed as the game wore on. Having tipped him to score and be decisive, only the heroics of Handanovic denied him having an influential role in the outcome of the game.

As mentioned prior to the game, it appeared that the mid-week exploits had a negative effect on the Rossoneri as the game drew to a close. Stramaccioni was right in his post-match analysis stating that Inter ended on more of a high, but they were lucky to still be in the game after their absence in the first half.

Milan now have a week to prepare for the visit of Lazio, which will be another crucial game in the race for the third spot. However, the players will want to heed the words of Allegri from his interview after the game.

"I am not angry. I'm happy with what the team did, an excellent first half with many scoring opportunities," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"It's a shame, as we should've won, but then we beat Udinese when we deserved to draw, so that is football. But when a match is hanging by a thread, you have to kill it off," he concluded.

Sunday night's Derby was very much a missed opportunity for the Rossoneri, who appeared to have it under control. However, they must learn from their mistakes in failing to maintain that control throughout an entire game and hope for better luck in the future. It might also come as a great relief that Handanovic doesn't stand in their way every weekend.

Was the draw a fair result on Sunday night? Where did Milan go wrong in the second half?

For all the latest Milan and Serie A news, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

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