GdS: Seasons and futures at stake in Inter-Milan with the eyes of the world watching

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan and Inter are playing not just for a spot in the final tonight, but also to save a season that has been disappointing on the domestic front.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (as seen below) recalls that Inter have a two-goal advantage from the first leg and thus have a ticket to Istanbul in their pockets, but they have not yet stamped it and Stefano Pioli has a religious faith in his team, deeply convinced that they can turn things around.

The air will be electric and the match tense, with Milan looking to respond after a result at the weekend which saw them lose 2-0 in La Spezia and which ‘further poisoned the air’ given that getting a top four spot will not be complicated.

After the game, the sight of the Ultras preaching from the pulpit and the Rossoneri squad listening below with heads bowed was a poignant one. The fans remain close to the team, but it certainly demonstrated the fragility of the group.

Inter on the other hand have seven wins in a row to their name with 21 goals scored and three conceded and above all they have three derbies since the turn of the year without conceding a goal, which allow the Nerazzurri to take the field with a feeling of superiority that can be intimidating.

With 14 goals scored in the last seven games in the league their attack is in better shape, and Romelu Lukaku is now firing in addition to Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko. If a week ago the scales of the derby were essentially even, now the prediction hangs entirely on the side of Inter.

Until not too long ago, Milan were the team who had a clear identity and Inter were more individualistic. Pioli won a surprise Scudetto, thanks to a collective team manoeuvre that was worked on for three years and which improved the value of the individuals.

Recently Inter have often been identified as a team that relies on its striker, who earned Conte’s Scudetto, yet today it is Milan must cling to its stars like Rafael Leao and Theo Hernandez because they have lost the strength of their style of play.

Milan are no longer compact and aggressive; the team can no longer gather around the ball and fill the area of ​​the opponents. The last two games without scoring a goal have certified it, and Inter play better today.

Inzaghi derailed the Nerazzurri from the rigid rails of a predictable manoeuvre and got more liquid attacking play out of them, such as against Roma when Dimarco scored after 50 consecutive passes.

Until not too long ago, Pioli was ‘on fire’ and the hero of an impossible Scudetto, while Inzaghi looked like a dead coach walking. Now, things have switched and there are calls for the former to lose his job while the latter might stay.

Can you challenge a coach who in two years brought a Scudetto and a Champions League semi-final, with a squad not equipped for these heights? A coach who has improved every young man he has worked on and who has kept the environment connected in the fords and in the hiding of the properties?

However, Pioli knows that much more is being played tonight than access to a final. A season is at stake, with the eyes of the world watching.

Tags AC Milan Inter Milan
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