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Monday February 25 2013
Inter spoil Silvio’s party

Milan seemed to be on course for a derby win until Inter showed up after the break. Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up the latest Serie A action.

It could have been the perfect week for Silvio Berlusconi. Defeat Barcelona, win the derby and emerge victorious in the Italian elections. He may yet get two out of three – but a tenacious Inter denied him a triumph in the Madonnina.

Nothing could have looked less likely in the first half in the San Siro as his Milan team bossed a pulsating clash. A sweet, outside-of-the-foot finish from Stephan El Shaarawy was scant reward for their superiority. The Nerazzurri had Samir Handanovic to thank for the fact that they still had a foothold it the game at half-time.

But something changed in the second period as the Rossoneri faded and Andrea Stramaccioni’s side started to up their tempo. Eventually, surprising hero Ezequiel Schelotto rose unmarked in the penalty box to head home an equaliser. He celebrated and then wept at the scale of his achievement – probably the most significant goal of his career so far.

Those were the decisive moments of a clash which was as spicy and intense as a spaghetti arrabbiata. It proved that Serie A still has a bit to offer TV viewers around the world. There was, sadly, some jeering and a bit of laser pen stupidity in the direction of Mario Balotelli but it was, at least, not as bad as many had feared.

“I think, overall, a draw was about right,” said Stramaccioni. “They had a great first half and they put us under pressure. But we came out to get back into the game and I think we finished stronger.”

“I’m pleased with what the team did,” responded Massimiliano Allegri. “We had a great first half and created a lot of chances. But when your opponent is about to die - you have to kill him off.”

The result left a door open for Lazio and Fiorentina who play on Monday and Tuesday respectively. They can increase the pressure on the Milanese sides in the battle for the third and final Champions League place. However, both Inter and Milan showed on Sunday evening that they will throw everything they have into the effort to ensure they snatch that podium spot.

It was not only, of course, the weekend of the Milan derby and the fixture list offered the opportunity to Juventus to stretch clear at the top of the table. With Napoli not making their away trip to Udine until Monday night, the Bianconeri stole a march on them by downing an in-form Siena side. But it was not a game without controversy.

They are a hard bunch to please at the Juventus Stadium, and their attitude towards their players was in the spotlight after the match. The jeering of Sebastian Giovinco, prompted him to celebrate his goal in a 3-0 victory by putting a finger to his lips to silence his own support. Coach Antonio Conte had clearly had enough.

“I think it is out of place,” he said. “It is not just him, sometimes a player who messes up a lay-off gets whistled. I don’t like it. This team is doing great things and I don’t think the whistles are justified.”

Among the weekend’s other big winners were Catania, who saw off Parma to keep their European dreams alive. With Fiorentina’s match at Bologna frozen out by snow it put the Sicilians level with the Tuscan side. It prompted a gastronomic comment from Coach Rolando Maran. “I am glad that those who thought our bellies might be full have been proved wrong,” he said. “It’s true we might have relaxed after ensuring our survival but instead the boys are keeping on fighting.”

There were goals galore in the empty Is Arenas in Sardinia as Cagliari edged out Torino 4-3. Ivo Pulga dedicated the win to President Massimo Cellino, who is still in prison on charges of fraud linked to the construction of the stadium. “We know it was important to him for us to beat Torino and we hope to have him back with us soon,” he commented.

It was also a feast of football under the snows of Bergamo in a game which was often touch-and-go to be completed between Atalanta and Roma. Aurelio Andreazzoli’s side edged it by the odd goal in five. “We need to prove to ourselves how good we can be,” he said. “We are trying to get a bit of the enthusiasm back which we had lost of late.”

Earlier in the day, Sampdoria had made another big step towards salvation under Delio Rossi with a win over Chievo. But there had been no such triumph for Palermo on Saturday night, prompting that well-used Maurizio Zamparini axe to fall for the third time this season. Alberto Malesani was shown the door and Gian Piero Gasperini asked to return just weeks after being given the chop himself. At this rate, even Giuseppe Sannino – booted out after three games at the start of the campaign – might yet be back at the Rosanero this season. It is doubtful, however, that anyone is going to save them now.

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Have your say...
Marc, aside from silvio berlusconi telling his idiot Milan fans like u that Milan is the most successful club team in the world, are u able to cite any valid proof of that? Madrid have more CLS then u. Juve have more scudettos. U better call me boss as well, know ur place
on the 2nd March, 2013 at 5:13pm
it's hard to look down on the most successful club in the world BOSS... but whatever makes you sleep at night buddy.. jealousy will get you nowhere.. you're now dismissed.
on the 1st March, 2013 at 9:55pm
Marc Enjoy fourth spot. I look down on u son
on the 28th February, 2013 at 7:02pm
@BOSS, you're a goof. Go back to your Juve thread. Were you as cocky when Juve was garbage for a few years? Probably not. Milan aren't even as close to as bad as Juve were for a while so shut it!
on the 27th February, 2013 at 5:45pm
What party? The party for third spot lol? Great party
on the 26th February, 2013 at 7:16pm
and yet the inter players defied fatigue to come back into the game.but here comes allegri still looking and watching inter get a grip on the match.he seem to keep fluctuating between a "good coach/tactician" and a " average coach". Good coaches learn the art and act of substitution the sooner allegri knows this the better it is for himself and Milan.
inter the earn the draw, Milan gifted it...
on the 26th February, 2013 at 9:16am
well a good game it was and i give credit to stramaccioni for getting his team back to the game with those timely substitutions even though some were forced. but why didn't allegri react to his rival's subs? he waited till the 80th minute before he made his first sub and the 91st for his last one.why does he always wait that long before he makes his subs? was he ok be the draw knowing fully well inter has the head-head advantage? i give credit to inter having played on Thursday and away
on the 26th February, 2013 at 9:09am
Hope strama was watching his players and thinking about their performances ricky look really good deserves more time. Other than that the teams play to win not play around I assure u milan were trying inter just played better in secound half. Also think ricky shouldn't have been subbed before he came off and when he and schelotto were on the field inter were looking even more dangerous
on the 26th February, 2013 at 12:44am
Listen, I have to totally agree with Marc F. I'm still an Inter fan, even though I totally disagree with the direction the team has gone with since there scout Orialli was forced out by Benetiz in 2010 and the selling of Balo was one of the worst decisions they ever made, right up there with trading Pirlo for Guilempetro back in the Hector Cuper days.
Sorry to say but they don't know what they are doing and should have lost by 3, easily yesterday. Sorry, Inter fans forget about third place.
on the 25th February, 2013 at 7:13pm
milan did not play average in the first half. They were very creative in the first half and created many scoring opportunities. The second half we fell off not b/c of the quality of our play but b/c of player fatigue. We needed to make the changes earlier.
on the 25th February, 2013 at 6:27pm
Marc F I would tend to agree except I thought Mexes was a liability once again. He's 13 yellow cards this season in the league which shows how often he gets caught. Zapata was a real positive though as he looked solid. He was key to the goal. Boateng was man of the first match. Pazzo really should've got on. We can't forget he scored 11 goals this season. After the first half it was clearly not Balo's night so Pazzo should've got a chance. Great to see SES scoring again ending the "drought"!
on the 25th February, 2013 at 5:31pm
Just observations Adam. Of course there are always "what if's" in all aspects of sport/life. My point being that on another day this could have been 4-1 with Milan playing a very average game. Not good for Inter fans.

PS you forgot one. Italy would've won the Euro 2000 tourny had the officials not pulled 5 etra minutes of injury time out of nowhere when there should've been 1 minute at most!
on the 25th February, 2013 at 5:20pm
Milan Played average?! Lol you AC fans are a joke, milan cant play any better then they did that was their best on the contrary inter could not play any worse their current form is atroscious and they were missing the 2 players who always defeat AC Milito n Samuel, and Inter still went toe to toe! How long has it been since you beat us? Lol forza inter
on the 25th February, 2013 at 4:37pm
Your right Marc F and if Spain didnt turn up at the euro's Italy would have won and if Zidane didnt headbutt Materazzi who knws what would have happened all if's and but's cant change it
on the 25th February, 2013 at 4:07pm
I don't really know why you have to include talk of politics in a football blog. it's people like you who encourage those outside italy to somehow merge Berlusco's two interests only to the detriment of the Milan brand. concentrate on football please. as for the party being spoiled. On the contrary, Milan emerged from a potentially tough week with two wins and a draw. Very much in the hunt in the league and in a positive position in the champions league. Milan fans can only feel encouraged.
on the 25th February, 2013 at 3:06pm
Here's the good news if you're a Milan fan. Milan played average and still would have won huge if not for Handanovich robbing Super Mario 2 point blank and one free kick save. Those were amazing. The slips by SES and Balo in prime scoring positions as well. If they hadn't slipped on the pitch those would have probably been goals too. Milan didn't play well at all but still had many scoring chances to Inter's one or two. Mexes played well but his one mistake cost Milan the win.
on the 25th February, 2013 at 2:00pm

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