1st-half goal from Thiago Motta disallowed and two big chances for Nagatomo; Sneijder returns to the pitch

MILAN - If AC Milan's last home loss in the Serie A came courtesy of the work of Claudio Ranieri (on 18 December 2010) then there must be a reason. Well, there is. And today the Nerazzurri coach did it again thanks to a goal from Diego Milito that decided the derby against AC Milan in the Week 18 match of the 2011/12 Serie A season. The Nerazzurri now have 32 points and their path restarts here.

There were two chances for each team in the first half of the match at the San Siro: a goal from Thiago Motta disallowed for Samuel and Milito being offside in the 5th minute followed by a super save from Abbiati on a shot from Alvarez. The Rossoneri hit the crossbar through Van Bommel with Emanuelson touching the ball just over in the 45th minute. It was then El Principe who opened the scoring just 9 minutes into the second half with a surgical left-footer that sealed the match for Inter at 1-0.

FIRST HALF - In his first Milan derby, Ranieri cleared up any doubts and named the same formation that defeated Parma in the previous game, preferring Alvarez to Sneijder, who began on the bench, and entrusting the attack to the pair of Milito and Pazzini (with the Argentine playing his 200th competitive match in his professional career in Italy). Allegri chose Pato up top with Ibrahimovic, while Emanuelson acted as playmaker behind them. A sold-out San Siro observed a minute's silence in memory of the victims of the shipwreck tragedy off the coast of the Isola del Giglio and Nicholas Savarino, a local police officer hit and killed by an SUV in Milan.

Lucio provided the first spark in the 3rd minute, stealing the ball from Zambrotta and quickly launching a counterattack for Inter that saw Maicon cross low into the box, only for the Rossoneri to intercept the ball. Just a couple minutes later van Bommel's foul on Pazzini gave a free kick to Inter that was taken by Maicon; Thiago Motta moved forward from deep to head into the goal but his effort was disallowed due to Samuel and Milito being in an offside position, despite not influencing the play. Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed himself to be dangerous from the edge of the box when Julio Cesar dropped low to save his effort, but even more dangerous was the triangular play between Boateng, Emanuelson and Pato that ended with the Brazilian volleying high. On 20 minutes Cambiasso blocked a shot from Pato to give up a corner kick, from which Boateng nearly pierced the Nerazzurri defence, only to see his right-footer on the turn go just over. The one-two between Maicon and Milito sent Inter in front of the goal before Nesta closed down, just as Samuel did on Pato at the other end on an inviting low cross from Ibrahimovic. In the 32nd minute the Swede demonstrated some of the skills he learned from taekwondo when he sent his back-heeled effort over the bar from Boateng's cross. Inter came very close to scoring in the 39th minute when Nagatomo's cross found Alvarez in front of the goal; the Argentine controlled with his right before trying to place a shot with his left that Abbiati blocked with his feet. On 45 minutes there were two chances for AC Milan when van Bommel hit the crossbar before the rebound fell to Emanuelson, whose left-footed volley forced a save from Julio Cesar. After 2 minutes of injury time the half ended at 0-0.

SECOND HALF – The teams came out of the dressing room and took to the pitch with the same 22 players, but with a Milito soon to set off the fireworks; he sent the Nerazzurri fans in the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza into rapture when, after Abate failed to clear a cross from Alvarez, he placed an unstoppable left-footed shot past Abbiati and inside the far post to make it 0-1. However, it was a right-footer from Nagatomo, deflecting off of Nesta, that saw the Rossoneri keeper dive to push out the ball for a corner seven minutes later. Next it was Julio Cesar's turn to do his part and punch away a teasing cross from Ibra with Pato lurking nearby. Nagatomo, served by Milito, cut inside from the left and shot, but his effort was too central to bother Abbiati. Then, 76 minutes into the match and after two and a half months away, Sneijder returned to the pitch, coming on for Milito, who exited to a warm round of applause. Julio Cesar showed again why he is so decisive when a creative Ibra passed to Nocerino, who dished the ball to Pato on the turn, but the Brazilian's touch was thwarted by his compatriot in the Nerazzurri goal. Julio Cesar was again called into action on back-to-back chances from AC Milan: in the 83rd minute he punched away Seedorf's shot from distance, followed by a scramble to close down Ibra, served by Robinho, before the referee Orsato whistled the Swede for being in an offside position. Then after three minutes of injury time Orsato whistled again to bring the derby to an end, with Inter walking out victorious.

Inter 0-1 AC Milan (HT: 0-0)
Scorer: Milito 54.

AC Milan: 32 Abbiati; 20 Abate, 13 Nesta, 33 Thiago Silva, 19 Zambrotta (Robinho 66); 27 Boateng, 4 Van Bommel, 22 Nocerino (Seedorf 90); 28 Emanuelson; 7 Pato (El Shaarawy 83), 11 Ibrahimovic.
Unused subs: 1 Amelia, 5 Mexes, 23 Ambrosini, 25 Bonera.
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri.

Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 8 Thiago Motta, 19 Cambiasso, 11 Alvarez (Chivu 67); 22 Milito (Sneijder 76), 7 Pazzini (Forlan 90).
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 20 Obi, 23 Ranocchia, 37 Faraoni.
Coach: Claudio Ranieri.

Referee: Daniel Orsato (Schio).
Booked: Nagatomo 64, Nesta 68, Thiago Motta 89, El Shaarawy 90+2.
Added time: 2+3 minutes.

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