Saturday's thrilling match between rivals Inter Milan and AC Milan was one of the best of the year in Serie A. AC Milan won the Derby della Madonnina, a crucial victory in the Scudetto race. Although Inter Milan still have a game to play, AC Milan and Napoli are now only one point behind the Nerazzurri, who will play at the Stadio Maradona this Saturday in another key game against Napoli.
Inter Milan were the better team of the match for more than 70 minutes on Saturday. In the first half they scored the opening goal with Ivan Perisic but failed to build on that lead, and that proved costly.
AC Milan were in trouble and rarely threatened in the first half, only taking one shot on goal in the entire first 45 minutes. At the start of the second half, however, AC Milan tried to be more aggressive on the ball. But still, Inter Milan were in control -- too much in control. Simone Inzaghi's side exaggerated their confidence and slowed down the pace, becoming too passive. Inzaghi's substitutions then underlined this feeling.
To be clear, Inzaghi's changes were not the only factor for allowing the game to slip away, but they showed some presumption to their opponents. Lautaro Martinez, Ivan Perisic (injured) and Hakan Calhanoglu were subbed off, and they probably were the most dangerous players of the night. AC Milan, on the other hand, minute by minute began to understand that the opponent was a little satisfied and was not as dangerous in the second half.
When Olivier Giroud scored the equalizer, the match completely changed from a psychological point of view.
It seemed that the teams switched completely emotions, attitude and confidence. Inter Milan started to panic and to lose self-control. Bad passes, confusion and nervousness took over, while AC Milan fans didn't even have time to celebrate the first Giroud goal before he came up with the winner three minutes later.
AC Milan showed that they are a strong team and even during a difficult game they found the right moment to overturn the result. It demonstrates that Stefano Pioli has changed the mentality of this club since he took over in October 2019.
Inter Milan, on the contrary, probably already thought they had won the Derby della Madonnina after an excellent first half and a good start of the second half. Now it will be very important to see how this team will react in the coming weeks with huge games coming up: vs. AS Roma on Tuesday (Coppa Italia), vs. Napoli on Saturday (Serie A) and vs. Liverpool next Tuesday (Champions League). (Serie A and Champions League games can all be streamed exclusively on Paramount+.
The only other defeat of the season in Serie A came Oct. 16 against Lazio, but from that moment on Inzaghi's team completely changed its mentality and recovered more than 10 points from their rivals for the title race. Inter Milan fans hope that this defeat against AC Milan will only be a one-night mistake and not the beginning of a crisis.