Supercoppa Italiana preview: AC Milan vs. Inter – Team news, opposition insight, stats and more

By Oliver Fisher -

AC Milan and Inter will renew hostilities on Wednesday night in the far away land of Saudi Arabia as they do battle for the Supercoppa Italiana.

Both sides come into the game in a bit of a difficult moment as Napoli continue to run away with the league, but with a derby being played for a trophy for what will be the first time since the last Supercoppa meeting over a decade ago, there is plenty of motivation to try and correct the course.

Head coach Stefano Pioli stated in his pre-match press conference that a final against Inter is almost entirely separate from league form, but believes his side are ready for the game anyway despite their struggles so far in 2023.

Game date: Wednesday, 18 January
Kick-off time: 20:00 (CET)
Venue: King Fahd Stadium
Referee: Fabio Maresca (VAR: Di Paolo)

Team news

As mentioned, Milan are not exactly coming into this game in glowing form as they have won just one of their first four games in the new calendar year, continuing some worrying signs from the winter friendlies.

The Rossoneri resumed the season with a win against Salernitana away from home but they were made to fight right until the end after taking an early two-goal lead. Then, they threw away a two-goal advantage late against Roma, were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by ten-man Torino and game back from two down to draw with Lecce on Saturday.

In terms of injury news, there is one less body in the treatment room as Ante Rebic has been training with the squad and is thus expected to be fit enough for the bench. The other five absentees from the last game – namely Mike Maignan, Rade Krunic, Alessandro Florenzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Fode Ballo-Toure – will not make the game.

According to the latest reports, Ciprian Tatarusanu should be given the nod to start in goal while Mike Maignan’s recovery continues, while Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez remain in the back four. A change is expected though, with Simon Kjaer tipped to come in for Pierre Kalulu, who struggled in the 2-2 draw with Lecce.

The midfield double pivot of Ismael Bennacer and Sandro Tonali should be reunited after the latter missed the Lecce game due to suspension, with Brahim Diaz currently favoured as the attacking midfielder.

Alexis Saelemaekers and Rafael Leao are expected to be the right and left wingers respectively, with previous derby hero Olivier Giroud unsurprisingly down to lead the line.

Probable Milan XI (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Calabria, Kjaer, Tomori, Theo Hernandez; Bennacer, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Brahim Diaz, Leao; Giroud.

The opponents 

Inter had a difficult start to the campaign under Simone Inzaghi as they lost four of their opening eight games including damaging defeats against Lazio, Milan and Roma. Since then, they have only been beaten by Juventus in Serie A and Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The Nerazzurri currently sit one point and two places below their city rivals in the league standings, and although they have won three out of four to begin 2023 their form too is seen as shaky.

A 1-0 win over Napoli was an impressive beginning to the new year, but they then dropped points late on against Monza, were taken to extra-time in the Coppa Italia by Serie B side Parma and only beat struggling Hellas Verona by one goal in their last game at San Siro.

In terms of team news, there has been a lot of speculation over the past couple of weeks about the presence of key players like Nicolo Barella, Hakan Calhanoglu, Marcelo Brozovic and Romelu Lukaku.

Starting with the latter, Lukaku took part in training and Inzaghi revealed today he will be judged in the final session before a decision is made on whether he can appear off the bench. That means Edin Dzeko should partner Lautaro Martinez in the front two, both of whom have history scoring in derbies against Milan.

Club captain Samir Handanovic and midfielder Marcelo Brozovic have been ruled out due to their injury issues, however, but Calhanoglu and Barella are fine and should be accompanied by Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the midfield three.

Andre Onana should be in goal with a back three of Milan Skriniar, Francesco Acerbi and Alessandro Bastoni, and completing the XI are the usual wing-backs of Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco.

Probable Inter XI (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, Acerbi, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Martinez, Dzeko.

Head to head

Starting with the overall record, Inter are the side that Milan have faced the second-most in their history behind only Juventus. The red and blue side of the city have faced each other in 217 matches, with 71 being wins for Milan, 67 being draws and 79 being defeats.

However, when it comes to cup competitions it is the Rossoneri who have the edge. Milan have won 10 Coppa Italia ties to Inter’s 9, and emerged victorious in both Champions League knockout meetings.

The two sides have only met once before in the Supercoppa Italiana and that was back in 2011 when the game was held in Beijing, with Max Allegri’s Milan triumphing 2-1 thanks to goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Kevin-Prince Boating.

Then of course there was the league meeting in the derby earlier this season when a goal from Marcelo Brozovic put Inter ahead but a Rafael Leao brace either side of an Olivier Giroud strike turned the game in the Diavolo’s favour, as they eventually held on to win 3-2.

Match facts…

➤ As mentioned, will be only the second meeting between Milan and Inter in the Italian Super Cup, having previously met in August 2011: on that occasion, the Rossoneri won 2-1 under Massimiliano Allegri, thanks to goals from Ibrahimovic and Boateng following Sneijder’s strike.

➤ Following their win on 3 September 2022 in Serie A, Milan could win two matches in a row against Inter for the first time since 2011, when their last success in a streak of three came in the Italian Super Cup.

➤ This will be only the third final between Milan and Inter after the Coppa Italia in 1977 and the Italian Super Cup in 2011: the Rossoneri have won their previous two in 90 minutes, scoring exactly two goals in both of those.

➤ This is the 35th Italian Super Cup edition: 71% of the previous 34 have been won by the Serie A winners.

➤ Following their 2-1 victory against Juventus (AET), Inter will be looking to win back-to-back Italian Supercups for the first time since 2005 – 2006 (both at extra time), respectively against Juventus and Roma.

➤ Simone Inzaghi has won each of his three Italian Super Cup Finals as manager (two with Lazio and one with Inter): he could equal Marcello Lippi and Fabio Capello (both four) as the manager with the most Final wins in the competition.

➤ Olivier Giroud and Edin Dzeko (respectively 36 years, 110 days and 36 years, 307 days on the date of the match), could become the oldest players to find the net in Italian Super Cup history should either score in this game, overtaking Cristiano Ronaldo ( 35 years and 350 days against Naples in 2021).

➤ After nine appearances without finding the back of the net against Inter, Rafael Leão scored a brace in the most recent encounter (on 3 September 2022 in Serie A): the last Milan player to score in back-to-back Milan derbies before turning 24 years old was Kaka in 2004.

➤ After scoring against Juventus in Italian Super Cup last season, Lautaro Martínez could become the first player to find the net in two editions in a row of the competition since compatriot Carlos Tevez, who did so between 2013 and 2014.

Ones to watch

For Pioli’s side it is quite obvious who the leaders of the attack are and who could well be the thorn in Inter’s side. Leao scored an electrifying brace to light up San Siro the last time the sides met and he should square off against Skriniar while hoping to get in isolation with Acerbi.

Then there is the man for the big occasion Giroud, who has netted in each of the last two league derbies including a brace back in February as Milan came from behind to reopen the title race. In defence, Tomori and Kjaer will simply have to be at their best to stop Dzeko and Lautaro, then of course the double pivot of Bennacer and Tonali will be of paramount importance.

Inzaghi’s side will hope to get contributions from former Milan man Hakan Calhanoglu in midfield as well as their metronome Nicolo Barella, while the front two will obviously have a big part to play as aforementioned.

One of the feistiest sub-plots to recent Derby della Madonnina matches has been the battle between Theo Hernandez and Denzel Dumfries down Milan’s left side. The Frenchman saw red for a bad challenge earlier this year and the pair continued their hostilities back in September.


This really does feel like a coin flip, not just because form tends to go out of the window for derby games but because even if they did historically follow form it would still be tough to call. Inter probably come into the game with more of a spring in their step, yet given what is on the line we cannot help but anticipate a cagey encounter that might go all the way.

AC Milan 1-1 Inter (AET, Milan win on penalties)

Tags AC Milan Milan Inter


  1. happy to see Kjaer back to starting line up pairing up with Tomori. One aerial and one speed. I hope Milan play 433 with Saele as mezzala and Diaz as RW.

  2. Milan has lost their plot completely. Their is no heart in that team. Only Bennacer is trying to create some magic. Leao is not worth half the money he earns and dont know whats the fuss. Backline is very weak and definitely a great keeper is needed. It’s going to take a long time for AC Milan to get to a high competitive level.

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