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Julian De Martinis On August - 8 - 2011

SuperCup Review: Milan Win The Derby Of Cliches

Cliché’s are, well, clichéd, and even that might be a cliché. They stand as the writing equivalent of using training wheels, working well enough to “fall back on” and “get the job done” but preventing any sort of creativity from shining through along the way. Football is full of such terms, and the 24th Supercoppa Italiana helped to reinforce some of the most popular ones.

Football is a game of two halves

One only need ask Gian Piero Gasperini. In the first half, his Inter side were supremely dominant and had nearly all of the momentum. The only two main events of the first forty-five minutes reflect as much; Gennaro Gattuso’s yellow summed up the Rossoneri’s frustration after a relatively even opening spell, and then Wesley Sneijder’s twenty-second minute goal gave Inter a much deserved lead. The Dutch maestro struck a superb free kick into the top left corner of Christian Abbiati’s goal, from which point on the Nerazzurri comfortably controlled the match.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s header off the post just before halftime foreshadowed a complete reversal of roles as Massimiliano Allegri’s men took the initiative after the break. Robinho begot a beautiful attack which allowed Clarence Seedorf to pull the ball back for Ibrahimovic, who made no mistake scoring on this attempt. Within ten minutes Kevin Prince Boateng capitalized on a poor parry from Julio Cesar to give Milan the lead. Samuel Eto’ nearly equalized at the death but his well-taken goal was offside.  Either side could really have staked a claim that they deserved to win, but Milan finished more of their chances, as another old cliché goes.

The team that stays together, wins together

One of the key differences in the two sides was down to experience. Allegri’s men had an entire year of playing together, the majority of that time spent in a similar formation: a 4-3-1-2 with a midfield built on grit and Boateng providing a mixture of steel and energy. The formula turned out to be a winning one and continued as such over the weekend. Gasperini’s Inter, however, are still molding to his philosophy. Playing three defenders is a change that most sides would take a while to warm to, and his midfield may take some time to gel as well. In six months, Inter may be as used to their formation as Milan are to their own- if Massimo Moratti allows Gasperini as much time, that is.

Substitutions and absentees change the match

Inter especially were missing a number of key figures that could have changed the outcome drastically. Lucio, Esteban Cambiasso and Maicon were missing for Inter, all of whom are normally starters and could have added steel to Inter’s defence. However, Gasperini’s substitutions did not have their intended effect; the swapping of Ricky Alvarez for 19-year-old Marco Farone seems especially odd as Inter had conceded moments before and needed to search for a winner. Bringing on Alexandre Pato for Milan however proved to be quite worthwhile, as it was his shot that eventually found its way to Boateng for the second goal.

When a player wants out, it may be time for him to go

Wesley Sneijder is a superb football player, and if he scored more free kicks like that he would be nearly irreplaceable. With both Manchester clubs strongly linked to the trequartista, however, it may be time for Inter to consider selling. The player himself has intriguingly stated that he could leave Inter if the right offer comes in, as the side need money. If Gasperini intends on playing with a formation that does not require a typical number ten, Sneijder’s best attributes may be wasted and a move could be beneficial for all parties involved, especially with financial fair play looming large…

Julian De Martinis

Calcio, Azzurri, and Roma tifosi. Blogger, correspondent, podcast host (@LaMagicast). Lover of books, movies, wordplay, family, and a good cappuccino.

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