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Milan Derby an Instant Classic
CNN International, October 30th, 2006 5:43PM

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Saturday's Milan derby was an instant classic. Never mind that Inter Milan still doesn't look like it can comfortably hold on to a lead, or that AC Milan's title hopes are all but dashed after falling a further three points behind its bitter rival, which sits on top of Serie A with 21 points to AC Milan's seven. This was soccer at its finest: six out of seven goals straight from the top drawer and 90 pulsating minutes of end-to-end action. Inter leapt ahead 2-0 in the opening half after goals from the head of Hernan Crespo and an accurate right-footer to the upper left from Dejan Stankovic from about 20 yards. Just after the break, Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it three after a fantastic counter attack involving a one-two with Stankovic, who then returned the ball to the Swede, who lifted the ball effortlessly over Alessandro Nesta to power the ball home on the volley past the helpless Dida. It should have been 3-0 and all over, but Milan managed to pull one back right away and Inter suddenly fell apart. Sensing it could come back, Milan pressed and pressed, forcing Inter coach Roberto Mancini to change tactics by bringing on Nicolas Burdisso and Luis Figo after 61 minutes. That seemed to settle Inter down somewhat, and seven minutes later Figo floated a deadly free kick into the area that found Marco Materazzi criminally unmarked to head home from close range. Materazzi was then handed a second yellow card for taking his shirt off while celebrating (a stupid rule by any measure), so Inter would have to play with 10 men for the remaining 22 minutes. Another seven minutes later, Alberto Gilardino ended his long scoring drought with an unstoppable looping header from a cross from Cafu. With time running out, Kaka made 4-3 after lobbing a long-range rebound over everyone in the beginning of stoppage time, making for a frantic last five minutes. Nevertheless, Inter held on, and Milan was crushed, but not for lack of trying. Read the original story...


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