When the clubs meet again at San Siro on Tuesday, less than a week after their thrilling first leg derby victory, Inter Milan will be looking to defeat city rivals AC Milan.
The fifth and final Derby della Madonnina of the season will determine who will represent the Nerazzurri or Rossoneri part of Italy’s second city in next month’s final as Inter stormed to a two goals lead in the teams’ Champions League semifinal encounter.
Inter Milan defeated AC Milan 2-0 in the first leg of their semifinal match, moving one step closer to claiming a fourth European Cup/UEFA Champions League (UCL) title. In preparation for the upcoming Derby della Madonnina, which Inter has recently excelled in with 10 victories from the last 15 games in all competitions (D2, L3), Inter defeated Sassuolo 4-2 in Serie A (SA) on Saturday.
Inter will be able to reach a UCL final for the first time since the 2009/10 season by avoiding defeat in this match because their ticket to Istanbul’s main event is nearly guaranteed. After four clean sheets in five 2022/23 UCL knockout games, a meeting with Real Madrid or Manchester City, the two semifinalists, seems imminent. Inter’s impressive performance in UEFA competition matches when winning the first leg as the designated away team (W18, L1) is more evidence of their chances of victory.
Things just got worse for AC Milan after their humiliation in the first leg of this semifinal, as they were crushed by relegation threatened Spezia in SA action over the weekend (L 2-0). Milan’s ambitions of gaining entry to the UCL through SA are now in ruins, and winning the competition this year may be their greatest chance to compete at the top level of Europe next season.
Milan hasn’t triumphed in a UCL quarterfinal match as the designated away team since 2006/07 (D4, L6), which is concerning for their supporters. It’s difficult to have much optimism in this situation, but maybe if they can fight bravely and extend the game into extra time, I Rossoneri will be motivated by their 83% success rate in UEFA competitions (W5, L1).
Edin Deko of Inter has a tendency for scoring against Milan, scoring in three of their four head to head matches this season. He opened the scoring in the first leg. Since Olivier Giroud is the only Milan player to have scored a head to head goal this year, excepting the injured Rafael Leo, he may end up being the team’s hero. It came after the 40th minute, just like the other ten of his 11 goals so far this season.
In order to save his key players for Tuesday’s pivotal derby, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi made a number of changes over the weekend. Against Milan, Lautaro Martinez, Denzel Dumfries, and Andre Onana will all be called back.
Federico Dimarco, who has assisted five goals from open play in the Champions League this season more than any other player was kept for the victory over Sassuolo because Robin Gosens had just recovered from a dislocated shoulder.
Only Milan Skriniar will undoubtedly be missing due to injury, however Joaquin Correa may also be out after picking up a knock on Saturday. It is uncertain whether Inzaghi will choose Edin Dzeko or Romelu Lukaku to be the latter’s attack partner, but the Argentine striker must make room for Martinez.
Junior Messias, Rade Krunic, and Ismael Bennacer, whose season has now been ended by a knee injury, have all joined star player Rafael Leao in skipping the trip to La Spezia, leaving Milan with a potentially lengthy absence list.
Leao will be given every opportunity to recover because the Rossoneri’s chances of making it to the final may depend on his availability in midweek; Alexis Saelemaekers is probably going to fill in if the Portugal forward is unable to pass a fitness test.
In the attack, Olivier Giroud is back, demoting Divock Origi to the bench. At right back, Pierre Kalulu should be replaced by captain Davide Calabria. Malick Thiaw is anticipated to take Simon Kjaer’s place in order to give the defense additional speed.
Inter Milan possible starting lineup
Onana, Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni, Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco, Martinez and Dzeko.
AC Milan possible starting lineup
Maignan, Calabria, Tomori, Thiaw, Hernandez, Tonali, Pobega, Diaz, Krunic, Saelemaekers and Giroud.
We predict: Inter Milan 2-1 AC Milan (Inter triumphs 4-1 aggregate)
The first leg made it quite evident that Inter has more talent than Milan, and the Nerazzurri are poised to advance past their Rossoneri rivals and into the Champions League final because they are overflowing with confidence and know how for knockout play.