Stefano Pioli will once again face off against Antonio Conte tomorrow night, this time in probably the biggest meeting of all.
As 90min recall, there have been 11 meetings between Pioli and Conte ranging from the first in 2008 to the most recent in 2021. The current Milan boss has won only once, with three draws and a rather worrying seven defeats.
The first encounter was back on 8 March 2008 in Serie B as the two then-young coaches met representing Bari and Grosseto, with the game ending in a 2-2 draw. Then on 13 December of the same year, in the same division, Conte’s Bari came out 1-0 winners over Pioli’s Piacenza.
On May 9 2009, with Bari having just celebrated promotion to Serie A, Piacenza got an impressive 2-2 home draw. It would mark the last meeting of that decade for Pioli and Conte.
Fast-forwarding to 8 December 2011 and the Coppa Italia, Conte was at Juventus and Pioli at Bologna, with Claudio Marchisio scoring the match-winner for the home side to reach the quarter-finals.
In March 2012, Pioli’s Bologna thwarted Juventus with a 1-1 draw as Gaston Ramirez assists Di Vaio and Andrea Pirlo assisted Vucinic. In March 2013, in Serie A, Juve won 2-0 away at Bologna with Vucinic and Marchisio scored again. In the post-match, Pioli made a comment about the exaggerated celebration of his opposite number Conte.
On 6 December 2013, Juve again beat Bologna 2-0 at the Stadio Renato dall’Ara through goals from Arturo Vidal and Giorgio Chiellini.
We have to wait just over six years to witness another confrontation between Pioli and Conte. This time Milan was the setting, with the half-time score being 2-0 to the Rossoneri thanks to Rebic and Ibrahimovic. However, Brozovic and Vecino got it level, then De Vrij and Lukaku scored as Conte’s team engineered a remarkable comeback.
Finally a win for Pioli, on 17 October 2020 in Serie A. The signs of recovery from Milan have been evident for months and Pioli’s first and only win against Conte comes in the second derby, at an empty San Siro due to Covid. Ibrahimovic scored a rebound after a saved penalty and tapped in from Leao’s perfect assist, but the Nerazzurri halved the deficit through Lukaku though couldn’t repeat the same comeback.
On 26 January 2021 Milan were beaten in the cup by Inter. Ibrahimovic scored in the first half, then naively got sent off in the second half. Lukaku equalised from the spot and Eriksen scored a perfect free-kick in the 97th minute.
Finally, the most recent meeting on 21 February 2021. A very one-sided game saw Inter take the lead with Lautaro after an assist from Lukaku and, after three great saves from Handanovic, he scored again before Lukaku made it 3-0 to secure a huge three points for the Nerazzurri en-route to the Scudetto.