Inter Milan and AC Milan will take on each other in a mouthwatering winner-takes-all Coppa Italia semi-finals at the Giuseppe Meazza.
With the Serie A title challenge poised on a knife’s edge, Inter Milan and AC Milan take their rivalry to the Coppa Italia front on Tuesday night. A spot in the final is up for grabs after both sides played out a 0-0 tie in their semi-final first leg at San Siro. They return to the same arena to settle the tie and also potentially gain the mental edge going into the final few weeks of the campaign.
Inter have home advantage to count on and have also rediscovered their winning touch in recent weeks. The defending champions will seek to seize the initiative and dump their fierce rivals out of the cup for the second season in a row.
Milan are on a decent run of form themselves and in fact, got the better of Inter the last time the two teams met. Stefano Pioli’s side pulled off a 2-1 win that kept their title hopes alive and kicking. The Rossoneri will be hoping for more of the same come full-time on Tuesday night.
While Inter command home advantage, Milan do have the added benefit of the away-goal rule. This gives them a fighting chance of making life very difficult for Simone Inzaghi’s men. The Rossoneri have not won the competition since 2003 and will be keen to end the hoodoo. It could also provide them with the impetus needed to close out the Serie A season with the title.
Inter, for their part, have also gone 11 years without winning the Coppa Italia. There is no better time than now for Inzaghi’s men to reassert their supremacy in the competition. It promises to be an exciting night of football for two teams who appear to be on the cusp of a domestic double.
Which way the cookie crumbles as far as local and national supremacy reigns remain to be seen. The Hard Tackle looks at how both sides could line up and what tactics they might employ.
Team News & Tactics
📸 | TRAINING #InterMilan 🔜
— Inter 🏆🇮🇹 (@Inter_en) April 18, 2022
Joaquin Correa and Edin Dzeko have struck the right chord upfront for Inter in recent games. However, Lautaro Martinez’s return to goalscoring form at the weekend against Spezia is welcome news for Inzaghi. Alessandro Bastoni picked up a slight knock against Spezia but is expected to be fit for the game.
Inter have no injuries to worry about and have a full-strength squad at their disposal. With another game at the weekend, Inzaghi will do well to rotate his squad and will have decisions to make. One constant, however, is the Italian tactician’s formation. The Nerazzurri boss has been adamant with his 3-5-2 setup and is unlikely to switch it around on Tuesday.
Samir Handanovic is sure to start in goal behind a back three of Danilo D’Ambrosio, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni. Marcelo Brozovic will be the defensive lynchpin in midfield and will be entrusted with breaking up opposition attacks and orchestrating Inter’s forward forays.
The Croatian will be ably supported in the middle of the park by Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu. The experience of Ivan Perisic will play a key role in not just offering Inter an attacking outlet on the left flank but also keeping Alexis Saelemaekers quiet.
On the other flank, Denzel Dumfries could have his hands full against Rafael Leao should the Portuguese ace turn up the heat. Inter’s Dutch ace will have a difficult night up against the marauding duo of Leao and Theo Hernandez. Joaquin Correa looks set to start alongside Dzeko upfront. With Martinez and Alexis Sanchez also available, Inzaghi has enough options to turn it around on the night.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Correa, Dzeko
AC Milan have injuries to contend with, especially in defence. Simon Kjaer, Alessio Romagnoli and Alessandro Florenzi are all ruled out of the game. Veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also set to miss out, handing Olivier Giroud another opportunity to put Inter to the sword.
There is some good news for Pioli as Davide Calabria is back in training. The defender missed the weekend’s game against Genoa after suffering from an intestinal problem and fever. While he might not be at his best yet, he could start on the night given Milan’s lack of options.
The Rossoneri look set to start in their trademark 4-2-3-1 formation. Mike Maignan is the sure starter in goal and will hold the fort behind a back four of Davide Calabria, Pierre Kalulu, Fikayo Tomori and Theo Hernandez.
Finalizing preparations for #InterMilan 💪
— AC Milan (@acmilan) April 17, 2022
Sandro Tonali and Ismael Bennacer will be tasked with winning the midfield battle and shackling Brozovic on the night. How well the duo can do the latter could determine the outcome of the game.
Alexis Saelemaekers looks set to start on the right, taking the place of Junior Messias. Rafael Leao has often been Milan’s difference-maker and will occupy the left-wing. Given that Pioli has admitted that Brahim Diaz will not start the game, Ivorian international Franck Kessie looks set to be deployed in the No. 10 role.
He will be tasked with fashioning opportunities for Olivier Giroud, who looks set to lead the line. The major offensive push is likely to come from Milan’s left-wing where the duo of Leao and Hernandez have continued to impress in tandem.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Hernandez, Tomori, Kalulu, Calabria; Bennacer, Tonali; Leao, Kessie, Saelemaekers; Giroud
- Both teams have faced off against each other 26 times in the Coppa Italia. AC Milan have won ten games while Inter Milan have come out on top eight times.
- AC Milan have won the competition five times compared to Inter Milan’s seven triumphs.
- AC Milan are currently on a 13-game unbeaten run and are seeking a first major title since 2011.
- Inter Milan have not won the competition since 2011 while AC Milan, for their part, last won the trophy in 2003.
- Olivier Giroud has three goals in three appearances in the competition for AC Milan this season. Alexis Sanchez leads Inter’s scoring charts in the Coppa Italia with two strikes in three games.
Player to Watch
The Frenchman was the hero for AC Milan the last time these two sides met in Serie A and is once again expected to lead the line in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s absence. Giroud’s experience combined with his good run of form in the competition augurs well for Milan ahead of the titanic clash.
His ability to hold up the ball will also permit the likes of Leao, Kessie and Saelemaekers to push forward and find space behind the Inter back three. Add to it the Frenchman’s prowess in the air, and Inter could find him difficult to pin down on crosses and set pieces. As long as Giroud is on top of his game, Milan will feel reasonably confident of breaching the Inter defence.
Inter Milan 1-1 AC Milan
Both teams appear evenly matched and the game will not be short of any fireworks. However, the away goals rule coupled with Inter’s inability to score in the first leg should hand Milan the advantage. Despite having a few players out injured, Pioli’s side could get the job done with a single goal on the night.
It promises to be an end-to-end game that is more open than the first leg, with both sides likely to score on the night. A scoring draw will however play into Milan’s hands, taking them to their first Coppa Italia final since 2018.