AC Milan 0-0 Inter: Wasteful Rossoneri held to a draw in first leg of semi-final

By Oliver Fisher -

It will be all to play for in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final between AC Milan and Inter as they played out a 0-0 draw at San Siro on Tuesday night.

The result might have actually been rather predictable given that Milan had dropped points to two of the bottom four in their last two league games while Inter are winless in four in Serie A action, with both sides looking for a bit of a confidence boost that the derby can provide.

There was plenty of heroic defending on show from both sets of centre-backs in truth, though the overriding theme was a lack of quality and composure in the final third as the respective goalkeepers should have been tested more than they were.

A 0-0 means no away goal for the Nerazzurri and in seven weeks the sides will meet again for a winner-takes-all second leg to see who faces the victor in Fiorentina-Juventus in the other semi-final.

Stefano Pioli elected to make four changes to his starting line-up from the team that drew with Udinese as Alessandro Florenzi came in at right-back, Ismael Bennacer took over from the suspended Sandro Tonali, Alexis Saelemaekers came in on the right wing and Rade Krunic got the playmaker role.

The theme of the opening exchanges was perhaps predictable for two sides who are winless in six league games combined as both Dzeko and Leao has chances to seize possession in a dangerous position but were let down by their first touch.

Then, Milan began to turn up the pressure as they had two great chances to take the lead before the ten minute mark. The first came via a sloppy giveaway from the ‘away’ side that ended up at the feet of Saelemaekers, but Handanovic was equal to his effort and parried well. After that it was Theo who surged in behind after an excellent give-and-go, yet with the goal gaping he dragged his effort wide.

The first save of the match for Maignan was a fairly straightforward one to make as a rare forward run from Bastoni ended with the Italian having a deflected shot trickle through into the Frenchman’s grasp.

There was a moment of danger when it looked like Perisic might add to his 7 goals contributions in 8 games against Milan for Inter with what seemed a pinpoint cross to Dzeko, but the Bosnian was crowded out well at the far post by Romagnoli.

Milan were forced into a change in the 25th minute as Romagnoli was complaining about having tweaked his groin in the aforementioned challenge with Dzeko, so he gave the armband to Kessie and Pierre Kalulu came on.

Moments later Leao missed two great chances to at least get a shot off on target, the first time the Portuguese winger had space to let fly on the edge of the box but curled wide with his left food as Giroud called for it to his left, and the second time the high press saw Saelemaekers feed him yet he cut inside and fired way over and wide.

The Nerazzurri had another threatening moment just over five minutes before the half-time interval when Bastoni was fouled about 10 yards from the corner flag meaning Calhanoglu had the chance to whip in a dangerous ball. He did just that, but it was well cut out and flicked behind for a corner.

A brilliant ball from Florenzi found Saelemaekers in space down the right side and he cut the ball back to Krunic, who set himself well before seeing his shot well blocked in what was the last chance of a frantic first half.

Early in the second half Milan continued to try and get on the front foot with intensity and quick vertical play, and it was Inter who had Handanovic and Perisic to thank as the former saved a curling Leao shot from around 20 yards but parried it into the path of the latter who desperately cleared.

The Diavolo did everything but score as this time it was a diving block that denied Saelemaekers after some fantastic play saw Giroud get the ball with his back to goal and lay the ball into the path of the Belgian, who maybe in hindsight could have taken another touch.

The final finish was again lacking for the home side as a smart quick throw-in to the byline found Krunic who cut back inside onto his left foot to create the space to shoot from around 8 yards, though he dragged his shot well wide of the near post.

Just before the hour mark the medical staff were again on the pitch treating an injured Milan player as Lautaro Martinez went for a loose ball and stood on Maignan’s wrist. The striker got a yellow card for what was perhaps a clumsy but not a malicious challenge, while the goalkeeper continued.

A triple chance came in the 66th minute for the Rossoneri with a rather frustrated looking Leao coming off for Ante Rebic, Krunic making way for Brahim Diaz and Saelemaekers taken off in place of Junior Messias, with the entire trident behind Giroud therefore changed.

Moving into the final quarter of an hour it was Inter who came close to opening the scoring as they worked the ball to the spare man Dumfries who dragged a ball across the edge of the six-yard box and Kalulu intervened in the nick of time to beat Dzeko to a tap-in.

At the other end there was another big chance for Milan when Brahim Diaz drove a counter-attack forward and slipped Rebic through on the left but he inexplicably tried to cut it back, with Giroud then eventually being crowded out at the far post.

Just inside the final 10 minutes a final change came from Pioli with Florenzi making way after a very solid shift down the right, and Calabria came on for him.

The last few minutes of the game would filter out in the end as neither side seemed willing to take a big risk to get their noses ahead, so they will have to do it again in what is essentially a straight knockout game in seven weeks.

Tags AC Milan Milan Inter


  1. Blame it all on salamakers who should have buried the game with those two clear cut throat chances. This is why I pray we don’t win this scudetto this season. Cause if we do. It’s gonna be gambling next season with no reinforcement. Rebic needs prayers.. And I still wonder why Milan doesn’t know how to put in crosses.. I wonder what they do during training session.. Our crosses are like athletes throwing javlin at the Olympics.. From one end to the other end of the field..

  2. Handicapped from the first whistle in #10 position and RW, I wasn’t really expecting a high scoring game.

    Pioli probably reacted to the criticism of the LW dependency, as we saw more balls thrusted to the RW tonight, albeit with some wasteful crosses and final touches from Salemakeers.

    We need away goals going into the second leg, and it was good enough for our defence to peg Inter bag all through the game. Florenzi is spectacular, he kept Peresic at bay all game. Good to see the Right back position is well fortified.

    As for Theo and Dumfries. Theo of course came out on top again. It is gradually becoming a fierce rivalry between those too and they might want to watch it, the IFF will have eyes on them in every derby…..Lol.

    Our double pivot had a good game today as well. Only problem was our finishing, grossly wasteful and it was dreadful to watch. No words for Lord Krunic, #10 is not his position. Giroud could have finished better on one than one occasion, same for Leao.

    Our subs came off the bench with energy and still couldn’t change the game. Maybe Rebic needs to start playing from the start. He needs enough momentum to effect games properly.

    It’s painful to see Maldini and Massara in the stands every game, watching our defence but in good shifts, and still find ways to bring in more defenders, when the attacking third is clearly where our problems lie.

    Manageable result for the team today, considering we played better. Lets hope for a better second leg. Forza Milan!!!

Comments are closed

Serie A Standings

Live football scores . Current table, fixtures & results.