AC Milan and Inter Milan put up a dire showing in the standout fixture of the Coppa Italia semi-finals at the San Siro, playing out a goalless draw.
Italian giants and city rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan delivered underwhelming performances in a dire 0-0 draw in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals at the San Siro.
Both sides went into the game on the back of a poor run of results and it showed. Stefano Pioli and Simone Inzaghi both looked content enough to have a safety-first approach rather than push to make a decisive tactical switch or substitution.
Milan, the home side for the game, had the better chances overall but failed to make them count. Alexis Saelemaekers was particularly guilty of squandering a couple of gilt-edged chances to put the ball in the back of the net. Olivier Giroud hit the outside of the bar, while Rafael Leao forced a fine save from Samir Handanovic.
Edin Dzeko represented the biggest threat from Inter and the striker did have a couple of golden opportunities. Whether it was due to fatigue or otherwise, he failed to connect and cut a frustrated figure on the field.
4 – AC Milan and Inter have drawn each of their last four meetings in the semi-final stage of a competition (1-1 in the Coppa Italia in 1985, 0-0 and 1-1 in the Champions League in 2003, 0-0 tonight). Balance.#MilanInter
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) March 1, 2022
After a largely forgettable match, the second leg will be played on April 20, giving both teams enough time to rediscover their best form. Hopefully, the return fixture will live up to expectations.
Mike Maignan: 6/10
The Frenchman was not called into action often but was available when needed. His distribution was good on the night and he kept things simple at the back. Maignan was also helped by the lack of killer instinct Inter Milan showed.
Alessandro Florenzi: 6/10
The AS Roma loanee showed off his experience by doing well at both ends of the pitch. The Italian veteran made several forward forays as he looked to get behind the Inter defence. Florenzi was also solid defensively and did not yield an inch on the night.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) March 1, 2022
Fikayo Tomori: 6/10
The Englishman helped silence the Inter frontline on the night and had a rather comfortable outing, all things considered. Tomori did not take any unwarranted risks and kept things simple.
Alessio Romagnoli: N/A
The Italian was taken off after just 26 minutes after sustaining an injury. Romagnoli did not put a foot wrong during his brief time on the pitch and looked to be in sync with Tomori at the heart of the Milan defence.
Theo Hernandez: 5/10
The Frenchman did his best on the night but lacked his usual sharpness. Hernandez kept Denzel Dumfries quiet and even made his own forays forward. But he failed to make the final pass and struggled to influence the proceedings on his flank in a decisive manner.
Ismael Bennacer: 5/10
Bennacer came in for the suspended Sandro Tonali and did what was expected of him defensively. However, his passing left much to be desired as he failed to take advantage of openings to thread through decisive balls that could have made the difference.
Franck Kessie: 6/10
The Ivory Coast international did well on the night but lacked the cutting edge that often makes the difference. He was defensively sound and read Inter’s plays well. A solid yet unspectacular performance by Kessie, who could be playing his last few games for Milan.
Alexis Saelemaekers: 5/10
The Belgian winger had two chances to make the difference on the night but failed to take either of them. His crossing was also wayward and his lack of cutting edge up front was palpable.
I've genuinely never seen a professional footballer with a worse cross than Alexis Saelemaekers
— Ménez (@Menez_18_) March 1, 2022
Rade Krunic: 5/10
The Bosnian failed to make a difference from an attacking point of view, but did well to keep Marcelo Brozovic busy on the night. Getting the better of Inter’s maestro is no mean task and Krunic could have had a bigger impact on the result had he done better going forward.
Rafael Leao: 6/10
The Portuguese winger was Milan’s biggest threat on the night and made several good runs. He also forced Samir Handanovic into a fine save but saw his impact wear off as the game went on. Whether it was fatigue or him having a bad day at the office, Leao certainly lacked his usual impact.
— AC Milan (@acmilan) March 1, 2022
Olivier Giroud: 6/10
The tournament’s top scorer this season, Giroud was often denied service and was largely isolated upfront. The Frenchman also failed to show off his goalscoring tendencies by failing to connect with any balls that got through to him.
Pierre Kalulu: 6/10
He replaced Romagnoli early on and put in a solid performance for Milan. Kalulu did not just drive up the field with purpose, but also prevented Edin Dzeko from securing a last-gasp winner with a well-timed interception.
Ante Rebic: 5/10
The Croat was woefully out of form and offered little on the night. He was sloppy with and without the ball and looked out of sorts.
Junior Messias: 6/10
The Brazilian looked up for the game and did his best to break the deadlock. He also saw a fine shot go curling just wide in the second half.
Brahim Diaz: 6/10
Diaz took advantage of Inter’s fatigue and got stuck in from the minute he entered the pitch. However, the Spaniard failed to impact the proceedings in the final third.
Davide Calabria: N/A
Not enough time for the defender to make an impact.
Samir Handanovic: 6/10
The veteran brought on unneeded pressure on himself with his poor distribution of the ball from the back. However, Handanovic redeemed himself by making fine saves, keeping the Milan attack at bay.
Milan Skriniar: 5/10
It was not one of the experienced defender’s best games as he struggled to impose himself on the Milan frontline. However, Skriniar did make use of his impressive physicality to good effect.
🎙️ | SKRINIAR
2⃣0⃣0⃣ presenze in ⚫️🔵 e non sentirle 👇https://t.co/BGFhBN4YfS
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter) March 1, 2022
Stefan de Vrij: 5/10
The Dutchman is clearly not at his best and it showed on Tuesday. He failed to read the game well and was often caught out of position. Thankfully for him, Milan failed to take advantage. He could really do with a breather to get his head back together.
Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10
The youngster continues to go from strength to strength and was comfortably Inter’s best player of the night. Not only did he stifle the Milan attacks, but also gained the upper hand by driving forward with intent. Unfortunately, his drive and ambition were not met by those around him.
Denzel Dumfries: 5/10
The Dutchman’s major strength is going forward, but he struggled to get past an out of sorts Theo Hernandez, who kept him quiet all night. Thankfully for Dumries, the Milan left-back was also having an off day and did not drive forward with intent as he usually does.
Nicolo Barella: 5/10
A far cry from the player who lit up the UEFA Euro 2020 last summer. If Barella was auditioning for a role as the invisible man, he did a good job and would surely land the role. He needs to do much better as Inter enter the decisive stage of the season.
Barella hit a few longshots in 18/19 and now he thinks he’s that guy
— thomas (@FClMthomas) March 1, 2022
Marcelo Brozovic: 5/10
Usually Inter’s maestro in the middle of the pitch, Brozovic was marked out of the game by Krunic. He had little to no impact on the proceedings and struggled to get going all night.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 5/10
The Turkish ace was the liveliest of Inter’s midfielders and at the very least put in crosses to trouble the Milan defence. He was quiet otherwise and failed to inspire those around him to raise their games.
Ivan Perisic: 5/10
Perisic looked fatigued on the night and lacked his usual incisiveness on the left flank. The Croat was slightly better than his teammates on the night, but there was little to write home about. The veteran made a few runs at the Milan backline and put in a cross or two which his teammates could not get on the end of. He faded as the game went on.
Edin Dzeko: 5/10
Dzeko failed to connect well with Hakan Clhanoglu’s cross, missing a good chance for Inter. In a match where opportunities were hard to come by, the veteran striker failed to turn up when needed. A largely static performance that caused Milan little trouble.
Edin Dzeko kills any attack inter get, it’s actually ridiculous that he’s still starting
— mike 🇮🇹 (@DeCheekz) March 1, 2022
Lautaro Martinez: 5/10
The Argentine was an isolated figure up the field and lacked any sort of ideas or intent on the night. The game largely passed him by and Martinez’s goalscoring drought continued.
Arturo Vidal: 5/10
Vidal was slightly more visible than Barella on the night and blended in well with his teammates who were having a poor game.
Alexis Sanchez: 6/10
The Chilean, to his credit, did show some intent and put the AC Milan defence on alert several times. Unfortunately for Inter, he often ran into dead ends or failed to garner enough support from his teammates, handing Milan the strength in numbers to shut him down.
🔋 | NUOVE ENERGIE
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter) March 1, 2022
Joaquin Correa: N/A
Correa failed to make much of an impact and was largely anonymous. However, his return from injury will give Inzaghi an alternative to the woefully out of form Lautaro Martinez.
Matteo Darmian: N/A
Darmian came on as a substitute in the 88th minute but did precious little.
Robin Gosens: N/A
The January signing made his debut for Inter following a lengthy injury but had little time to show off his abilities. More will be expected of him in the games to come.