Derby heartache for Milan

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic is clattered after saving an attempt on goal from Gianpaolo PazziniAPInter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic is clattered after saving an attempt on goal from Gianpaolo Pazzini

It is often said football officials have performed well if they generally go unnoticed during the game, especially one of the magnitude of a Milan derby. By allowing the flow of the ninety minutes to go relatively unbroken and calling the correct decisions, they play their part in an enjoyable spectacle for all. Paolo Valeri and chums clearly have a different manual to some of their colleagues, but while Interisti forgive and forget during their celebrations, the Rossoneri are left with yet another defeat.

"Seeing as I never talk about referees, I'm afraid I have to now. The referee affected the game. This is not an alibi and perhaps today the referee was unlucky, but the incidents were really obvious." - Massimiliano Allegri.

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The blame for the defeat cannot entirely be laid at the feet of the officials. The statistics of the game present a fair indication of what unfolded at San Siro; Milan had a 66% share of the possession, with a pass accuracy of 90%. No less than twenty shots reigned in on Samir Handanovic's goal, of which just five were on target. A couple of Riccardo Montolivo's efforts are still being sighted around the world throughout the night. The problem was fairly evident, Milan could not find a way to nestle the ball in the back of the net. With no Stephan El Shaarawy to carry them this time, they came unstuck.

It was a case of 'from hero to zero' for Christian Abbiati, who had a horrendous opening five minutes. After misjudging the flight of the ball in the build-up to Walter Samuel's winning header, he almost gifted Diego Milito a second just moments later. However, his error should have been made incidental, with the Rossoneri unable to punish 10-man Inter after Yuto Nagatomo saw red.

Montolivo had a goal wrongly ruled out in my (biased) opinion, while Antonio Cassano succeeded in winding up every Rossonero in the stadium with his cheerleading antics. The grin which accompanied his hand waving and wonderfully dramatic falls to the ground suggested he was enjoying himself with Allegri and Ambrosini amongst those to lose their cool. More infuriating though, was the lack of clinical presence in front of goal. With some decent build-up play, Milan failed miserably in the final third, something which will hopefully be rectified by the return of Alexandre Pato after the international break. We've been here before with the Brazilian, but his two-goal cameo for the Primavera side on Saturday is hopefully a sign he is ready to return.

"This derby has not changed anything. I even enjoyed it, as the team played very well and created so many opportunities, but we couldn't do any more than that other than score a goal. To be fair, we had scored...

"We tried to spread the play, but it was difficult to break down a team that played in defence for 80 minutes."

With that, the speculation will resurface as to whether Allegri will still be in charge at the Olimpico in a fortnight when Serie A resumes after the break. Still firmly stood amongst the pro-Allegri camp due to the lack of a viable replacement, he may have to rely heavily on the contribution from Pato to score the goals that will rescue our season. Having been the better side for almost the entire game, all it lacked was the quality, and bit of luck, in front of goal to wipe that smile off Cassano's face, but it wasn't to be.

How did you rate the performance from Milan? Did the referee ruin the game? What needs to change over the international break?

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