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Douglas Maicon scored a sensational goal to secure a 4-2 victory for Internazionale over AC Milan in a thrilling Derby della Madonnina; in a game which also halted Milan’s attempt to retain their league crown.

The Nerazzurri were forced to come from behind, after former player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a penalty and scored a splendid second to grant AC Milan a 2-1 lead.

A feisty affair occurred between the Milanese rivals tonight. Scudetto chasing AC Milan knew they had to win to give them hope of catching league leaders Juventus. Whilst Inter knew a victory would aid their quest for European qualification.

Diego Milito was to be the star of the game, netting a hat-trick. His first came after Walter Samuel rose above the Milan defence to knock down a Sneijder free-kick. Milito found himself facing an open goal and calmly placed the ball in the net. It was a deserved lead for Inter, but the Milanese defence was more than a little suspect.

As the game flowed back and forth, controversy reared its ugly head in the 19th minute, when Lucio thought he had scored a second goal for Inter. Abbiati had parried another Sneijder free-kick into the Brazilians’ path and Lucio required no encouragement to shoot. However, the assistant referee’s flag was raised, offside.

The most controversial moment of the game came in the 43rd minute, when Julio Cesar was incorrectly adjudged to have brought down Kevin-Prince Boateng in the box; Ibrahimovic stood up to take the penalty. There was only going to be one outcome; the giant Swede slotting home. Milan had hope; 1-1.

Ibrahimovic was determined to make this his night. In the 46th minute, he latched onto a pass and curled the ball into the far corner. The Inter defence were stunned. The goal had come after excellent an excellent link-up between Robinho and Boateng; Milan were in the ascendency.

Sneijder thought he had equalised after a volley from near-halfway, but Amelia managed to tip it onto the crossbar. Milan had to concentrate or Inter would get back into the game.

Inter responded in the 53rd minute, after Abate hauled down Diego Milito and a penalty was rightly awarded. The Argentine striker calmly shot into the top left corner; 2-2.

Milan exploited gaps left between Inter’s midfield and defence, with Boateng in particular proving a threat down the right flank. He repeatedly found space to cross, forcing Inter to clear their lines. Milan had several chances, Muntari coming closest when he shot wide from a corner.

A third penalty was awarded to Inter in the 79th minute, after Alessandro Nesta handled in the box. Milan were collapsing in front of their fan’s eyes. El Principe once more converted the penalty, making it 3-2 to Inter; a hat-trick for Inter’s top scorer.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side toiled on the counter-attack, knowing that the Scudetto was slipping from their grasp. Referee, Rizzoli, refused to award the Rossoneri a penalty after Cambiasso appeared to handle the ball; it signalled the end for Milan.

Douglas Maicon shattered Milan’s dreams in the 87th minute, when outside the box, he blasted the ball into the far corner, rendering Amelia helpless. It was arguably the best goal Serie A has seen this season.

Internazionale knew they had halted their rivals’ title charge and claimed local bragging rights. It is a victory they will savour after a disappointing campaign and leaves them with a chance of securing European football next season.

AC Milan will be left cursing their luck, after being plagued by injuries all season. Manager, Massimiiano Allegri, congratulated Juventus and bemoaned his side’s injury problems. He said: “Juventus won the title, deserved to win it and it was a fascinating season with two teams on many points.” Referring to the game, he said: “We played pretty well tonight and did all we could to bring home the result, but this is football.” Adding: “We lost Daniele Bonera after 10 minutes, Christian Abbiati had a thigh strain, we had to end the match with Mattia De Sciglio limping on a swollen ankle. It’s just one of those years.”

Whilst Milan contemplate what could have been, Inter will look to the future. With manager, Andrea Stramaccioni’s future yet to be decided, there is growing support for his permanent appointment. Speaking after the match, Stramaccioni said: “It was a wonderful game, emotional, exciting, played openly by both teams who wanted to win.” He praised Inter’s resilience too: ““We played quality football this evening with character and hunger for success.”

When asked about his future, Stramaccioni said: “it’s a pity that nobody makes clear the President – with or without me – has a project in place. He has very clear ideas quite aside from this game.”

It was a fantastic game, one in which both sides gave it their all. Both teams walked off leaving behind a trail of blood, sweat and tears. But Inter and Diego Milito were the heroes on a frantic Sunday evening.

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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