🇮🇹 History beckons as Inter eye title glory with derby victory | OneFootball

🇮🇹 History beckons as Inter eye title glory with derby victory | OneFootball

Icon: OneFootball


Padraig Whelan·22 April 2024

🇮🇹 History beckons as Inter eye title glory with derby victory

Article image:🇮🇹 History beckons as Inter eye title glory with derby victory

Rarely has a Derby della Madonnina carried this much significance.

Yes, Milan and Inter have met several times before in the Champions League at the semi-final stage, last year being the most recent example, but this is arguably even bigger.

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A victory for Simone Inzaghi’s runaway league leaders, the designated away side, will see them crowned Italian champions on Monday evening.

Never before in the history of this fixture has the Scudetto been awarded due to the result of a meeting between these old rivals.

That isn’t all. An Inter win would make this the joint-earliest the title has ever been secured with five games left to play – something that has only been achieved five times before, although one of those did come with Napoli’s procession last year.

The omens for Milan as they aim to avoid humiliation on their ‘home’ turf are not good either.

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Inter are enjoying a five-game winning streak in the fixture and could join Milan (1911-1913 and 1946-1948) by winning six in succession, while the Rossoneri have mustered just one victory from the last eight derbies.

On the bench, they also have the coach who has lost more Derby della Madonnina fixtures than anyone else in Stefano Pioli with nine defeats (all as Milan boss) and recent results, most notably their meek Europa League exit at the hands of Roma, has all but signalled the end of his time in charge, with a change reportedly coming this summer.

They have been disappointing defensively recently too, and that could be a death sentence against an Inter side who have scored in 40 consecutive Serie A games. Netting in their next five would see them set a new all-time record, eclipsing Juventus’ run of 44 between October 2016 and December 2017.

Not that the ever-cautious Inzaghi is allowing his side to get too caught up in the prospect of the prize that awaits them.

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“It’s been an incredible journey, a wonderful ride, and I’ve told the lads that but [winning the title in the derby] isn’t an obsession for us. We’ll see if Monday is the big day and we’re working hard to make it so but we know what we’ve done,” he told the assembled media.

“We are close to the top but we need to finish the climb before we can enjoy looking at the view.”

How excited are the Inter faithful at the prospect of securing their second star (a star is awarded for every 10 titles an Italian side wins and they are currently on 19) in the sweetest manner possible?

Well, you only need to take in the incredible scenes at the club’s Appiano Gentile training ground on Sunday afternoon ahead of their final session.

The club’s ultras’ appeal for fans to turn up and show their support to the players was heeded and then some. It was initially expected that there would be several hundred fans in attendance but the final figure was estimated to be 4,000.

So many arrived to motivate the players that Benjamin Pavard, Denzel Dumfries and Marcus Thuram were forced to park their cars a kilometre away and then walk through the crowds to make it.

To the west at Milanello, the scenes were strikingly different. Milan’s ultras in Rome last Thursday furiously urged their team (not for the first time recently) to ‘show your balls!’ and none descended on the club’s training ground on Sunday to see their side off.

That sums up the low mood and morale in the Milan camp at the moment. There were between 40 to 50 fans outside the gates of the training ground and only youth team goalkeeper Lapo Nava stopped to greet those who did turn up to show their support.

Of course, the scenes will be different in the sold-out stadium come Monday night, and the Diavolo will be backed to the hilt in their bid to prevent an already frustrating campaign hit disastrous levels.

So will Inter do it and make it a Monday night to remember?

The current state of both sides would suggest that will be the case but all that can be predicted with any sense of something approaching certainty is that whoever manages to strike the first blow will go a long way to securing the three points no matter who it is.

When Inter have hit the front in Serie A this season, they have won on 25 occasions and been beaten just once (their surprise slip to Sassuolo representing their only defeat of the campaign), while Milan have won 20 of the 24 games they’ve hit the front in and not been beaten.

On both sides, this will be one of the tensest 90 minutes in the history of this fixture.

A night of either relief or rejoicing lies in wait.