The Milan Derby: A Tactical Breakdown of Inter’s 2-0 Victory in the UEFA Champions League
The Milan Derby is one of the most intense matches in European football. As two of Italy’s most successful clubs, Inter Milan and AC Milan always put on a show for the fans. On the 15th of September 2021, the two teams met again, but this time in the UEFA Champions League. Inter Milan came out on top with a 2-0 victory. In this tactical breakdown, we will examine how Inter managed to defeat their rivals.
Inter played with a 3-5-2 formation. The three centre-backs were Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij, and Alessandro Bastoni. The wing-backs were Denzel Dumfries and Ivan Perisic. Marcelo Brozovic, Nicolo Barella, and Hakan Calhanoglu played in midfield, with Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko leading the line in attack.
AC Milan’s Formation
AC Milan played with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Simon Kjaer and Fikayo Tomori formed the centre-back partnership, with Davide Calabria and Theo Hernandez as the full-backs. Franck Kessie and Sandro Tonali played as the double pivot in midfield. Ante Rebic, Brahim Diaz, and Rafael Leao played in the attacking midfield roles, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line.
Inter applied a high press in the game, which disrupted AC Milan’s passing game and prevented them from building up play from the back. The three centre-backs played a key role in this tactic, as they would push up to close down the space for AC Milan’s midfielders. This forced them to either play the ball long or make a mistake, which allowed Inter to regain possession quickly.
Inter’s wing-backs provided width in attack and helped stretch AC Milan’s defence. Denzel Dumfries and Ivan Perisic were constantly overlapping and creating chances for their teammates. This caused problems for AC Milan’s full-backs, who had to choose between marking their man or staying back to defend.
Inter’s first goal came in the 45th minute, when Nicolo Barella scored a stunning goal from outside the box. The second goal came in the 66th minute, when Denzel Dumfries headed in a cross from Ivan Perisic. Both goals were the result of excellent teamwork and individual brilliance.
AC Milan’s Struggles
AC Milan struggled to create chances throughout the game, largely due to Inter’s impressive defensive performance. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is AC Milan’s main goal threat, was kept quiet by Inter’s three centre-backs. AC Milan’s midfield also struggled to get a foothold in the game, as they were constantly under pressure from Inter’s pressing.
Summary: Inter Milan’s victory over AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League was a result of a well-executed game plan. They applied a high press, used their wing-backs effectively, and defended solidly. AC Milan, on the other hand, struggled to create chances and were frustrated by Inter’s tactics. Overall, it was a deserved victory for Inter, who will be hoping to carry this form into the rest of the tournament.
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