CorSera: From the dugout to the field – the battles that will decide the Supercoppa

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan and Inter will contest the Supercoppa Italiana tonight at the King Fahd Stadium in Saudi Arabia, and it is a game where the outcome will be heavily influenced by key duels.

As Corriere della Sera (via MilanNews) reports this morning, both Milan and Inter are not coming from particularly positive moments, so the first duel will be the one in the dugout between Stefano Pioli and Simone Inzaghi.

Pioli will have the greatest pressure given that the Rossoneri have picked up two points in their last two league games which came either side of a Coppa Italia elimination at the hands of 10-man Torino.

What both the Milan boss and Inzaghi have worked on is the defensive department, a strong point of last season for both and which has now almost become their Achilles’ heel. Milan as the Italian champions have conceded six goals in their last four matches, while the Nerazzurri have the third-worst defence away from San Siro.

Corriere della Sera have picked out three battles that could determine the game on the field, starting with Rafael Leao against Milan Skriniar. Both have been talked about for their on-field performances and off-field matters given the negotiations over contract renewals.

The head-to-head between the Portuguese and the Slovakian international could be decisive as it was in the September derby when Leao came out on top, scoring a brace and leading the Inter defence on a merry dance.

However, the match could also be decided in the midfield and the future of Italy – Sandro Tonali against Nicolo Barella – is a mouth-watering duel. There will be a no-holds-barred battle between the two players, who have shown in the derbies that they are vocal leaders but also leaders through actions.

Up front, the challenge will be between the two great strikers over the age of 35: Olivier Giroud against Edin Dzeko. They are the same age but still possess the same ability to be decisive, with the Frenchman having netted in the last two league derbies but the Bosnian scored in the last one to make it a nervy finish.

Tags AC Milan Milan Inter
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