Two identical goals scored by two very different players have left Inter with a mountain to climb next week in the San Siro.
Milan are in superb form at the moment, scoring 19 goals and only conceding three in the Champions League to date. Given that Inter have not beaten Milan for over three years, and the last time they met in the last Champions League, Milan went on to lift the trophy at Old Trafford, the omens don’t look too promising for Roberto Mancini’s side.
Inter nearly went behind from a cracking free kick by Sinisa Mihailovic from thirty yards, but a quality save from Dida prevented it rustling into the back of the net.
The tide soon began to change as Milan forced and pressed their opponents and their fluid passing game began to take shape. The goal, when it arrived, came from an unlikely source, with ex-Manchester United centre back Japp Stam rising to head home an excellent free kick by Andrei Pirlo. It was his first goal in Milan colours, and a valuable one at that.
The second goal was identical but on the end of the cross was a familiar head, the returning, Andrei Shevchenko. The Ukranian was excellent all night, leading the line well and his goal killed off any momentum Inter were gaining. Unortunately the Ukranian was caught up in the moment, he removed his shirt in celebration and was cautioned for good measure, the third Milan player booked in the evening.
The striker said after the game: “It was a difficult match for me after a long absence. It’s a good result but we must not feel safe.”
The match was Inter’s first Champions League defeat for nine games under Mancini, and with his side unable to control the in-form Milan side, elimination looms.