Well, that wasn’t fun.
AC Milan and Inter – two sides woefully out of form recently – played out a very boring 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final at San Siro on Tuesday evening.
Milan created a few half-decent chances throughout the game and were the better team, with Inter struggling to do anything in the final third throughout the 90 minutes.
Things were looking so good in the first few minutes in a pretty frantic start to the game, with both sides pressing forward with real intent. The first opportunity would fall to Alexis Saelemaekers, who latched onto a surprisingly wayward Marcelo Brozovic pass before rifling the ball goalward from just inside the penalty area. His strike, however, was well saved by Samir Handanovic.
Moments later, Milan had another chance to take the lead – this time through Theo Hernandez. The full-back embarked on one of his typically adventurous bursts forward, but saw his first-time shot from 18 yards out roll wide of the post.
While clear-cut chances were few and far between throughout the rest of the half, both teams piled the pressure on in very different ways. Inter went for the possession-based approach, spraying the ball out to Ivan Perisic to cross into Edin Dzeko at every given opportunity, while Milan were keen to catch their rivals on the break with Rafael Leao’s pace.
Leao started the second half in similar form, forcing Handanovic into a good save with a curling effort from the left-hand side of the penalty area.
Rade Krunic was next to spurn a decent chance, controlling well before scuffing a shot well wide from just eight yards out.
A string of five substitutions in the space of three minutes around the hour mark ever so slightly changed the complexion of the game as Inter actually created a half-chance. The token ‘away’ side for the evening were denied a 75th minute goal when Pierre Kalulu stole in to clip a Denzel Dumfries cross away from the path of Dzeko.
The game basically died thereafter, as neither side looked remotely capable of ever scoring a goal ever again.
Right, here’s the player ratings…
Mike Maignan (GK) – 5/10 – Wasn’t forced into a single meaningful save by Inter.
Alessandro Florenzi (RB) – 7/10 – Worked up and down the flank really well all evening.
Fikayo Tomori (CB) – 7/10 – Dealt with the physical threat of Dzeko very well. Looked back to his best.
Alessio Romagnoli (CB) – N/A – Subbed off with an injury after 25 minutes.
Theo Hernandez (LB) – 5/10 – Worked hard up and down the pitch, but didn’t really create anything for his teammates.
Ismael Bennacer (CM) – 7/10 – Ran the show in midfield. Great performance all round.
Franck Kessie (CM) – 4/10 – The game passed him by a bit as he didn’t burst forward the way Milan fans would’ve hoped he would’ve.
Rade Krunic (AM) – 6/10 – Brought in to essentially man-mark Brozovic, and he did it well.
Alexis Saelemaekers (RW) – 5/10 – Had a few decent moment, but lacked the quality to really create something.
Olivier Giroud (ST) – 5/10 – Held up the ball well. Basically did his job.
Rafael Leao (LW) – 6/10 – The danger man for Milan on the break, and was surprisingly subbed off around the hour mark.
Pierre Kalulu – 6/10 – Came on for the injured Romagnoli and did a damn good job at the heart of Milan’s defence.
Ante Rebic – 3/10 – Nowhere near as effective as Leao.
Brahim Diaz – N/A
Junior Messias – N/A
Davide Calabria – N/A
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 7/10 – Made a few decent saves when called upon.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 5/10 – Struggled to deal with Leao’s pace throughout the first half.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) – 6/10 – Dealt with Milan’s high press quite well.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 5/10 – One of Inter’s surprisingly good offensive weapons is usually Bastoni’s bursts forward. He did not do that on Tuesday evening.
Denzel Dumfries (RWB) – 4/10 – All Inter’s play was focused down the left flank so he wasn’t able to do too much in the final third.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 2/10 – He just did not get involved in the final third enough. Worked back well, but Inter need more from him at the other end of the pitch and didn’t get it.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 4/10 – Caught in possession a few more times than he usually is.
Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) – 5/10 – Picked up some nice pockets of space,
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 6/10 – Most of Inter’s good play came down his flank.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – N/A – So, so, so out of form right now. He really did nothing tonight.
Edin Dzeko (ST) – 6/10 – The best of Inter’s attackers…although that isn’t saying much.
Arturo Vidal – 3/10 – Clumsy in possession when he came on.
Alexis Sanchez – 4/10 – Better than Lautaro. Although anyone in the world could’ve been.
Joaquin Correa – N/A
Matteo Darmian – N/A
Robin Gosens – N/A – Made his debut in the least memorable game ever.