There are games of two halves and then there was this Milan derby! How do you possibly rate players when most of them had almost diametrically opposite halves? I give it my best effort below.
Daniele Padelli 4
The veteran backup standing in for the veteran regular wasn’t convincing at all, betraying some nerves trying to needlessly punch balls away from the box in Milan’s dominant first half. It was no surprise to see him static and positionally poor in the concession of both goals.
Stefan De Vrij 8
Tempted to give him a seven on the merits of his brilliant go-ahead header alone. It may go unnoticed because of the second half comeback, but were it not for De Vrij making several important blocks in the first half, Inter could have gone in four or five down at the interval.
Milan Skriniar 6
Not the finest game by the Slovakian, but like the rest of his teammates improved in the second half and calmly cleared danger when Milan looked like they were gathering a head of steam even after Inter had equalized.
Diego Godin 4
The veteran hard man had a torrid time in the first half, being dragged all over the place by the movement of Ante Rebic, Theo Hernandez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hakan Calhanoglu. That the decisive phase of play in both Milan goals came on his side was no surprise. Back to the bench Godin goes for the big game against Lazio.
Antonio Candreva 6
Ran down blind alleys in the first half, but as one of the key exponents of Conte’s intensity-first approach, his desire and energy were crucial in Inter gaining momentum in the second 45.
Ashley Young 5
Completely out of his depth in the first half, but his experience came to the fore later on as he frustrated Milan’s attacks on the flanks with some dogged defending.
Marcelo Brozovic 8
Started the fightback out of nothing with a wonderfully controlled strike for Inter’s first goal. Pushed Inter forward from then on with his vertical passing and incessant drive. His efforts in the defensive third in the first half shouldn’t go unnoticed either, with one block in particular depriving Milan of a certain goal.
Nicolo Barella 5
We’ve come to expect better from the precocious young Italian. Barella seemed to have lost all sense of position when Milan were dominant, and was probably the only Inter player who didn’t noticeably improve in the second half, even running right into Donnaruma when he had a chance to seal the game.
Matias Vecino 7
The Uruguayan is one of those players you struggle to see making a discernible impact on the state of play. However, that belies how stealthily Vecino takes crucial positions in both boxes. Its no surprise that he had two blocked shots defensively, and two at the other end, including Inter’s equalizer. That’s Vecino for you.
Romelu Lukaku 9
Scoring Inter’s fourth goal was simply the cherry to top off a superb performance. Even as Inter were being completely outplayed, Lukaku did his best to drag the hosts forward, even managing to create a few chances to release the pressure. His quality outside the box continues to be underrated, despite almost always managing to beat his markers and linking well with other attackers. A display to further cement his place as a bonafide modern day Inter legend.
Alexis Sanchez 7
Tried his best in the first half despite Inter’s midfield doing nothing for him. Showed fantastic movement and guile in setting up Vecino’s equalizer and looked to be on the same wavelength as Lukaku when Inter pushed forward. A tad unfortunate to be substituted after Inter took the lead.
Christian Eriksen 7
Immediately made Inter calmer in possession, thus ensuring the Nerazzuri defended well with the ball. Almost scored a stunner that would have been the free kick of the season. Eriksen can certainly add another dimension to Inter’s play and it’s on Conte to be brave enough to act on the Dane’s skillset.
Victor Moses 6
Maybe Conte knew what he was doing with these ex Premier League signings after all. The Nigerian provided extra security to the defence when he came on and assisted Lukaku with a delightful cross that reminded one of Moses at his best under Conte in Chelsea’s 2017 title winning campaign.
Cristiano Birgahi N/A
Ate up the seconds at the end.
Gianluigi Donnarumma 5
It might come across as harsh considering Inter scored two beauties and one wonderfully crafted team move. But Donnarumma was dragged hopelessly out of position by Sanchez’s run for Inter’s equalizer. The goalkeeper of the Italian national team should never be out of the goal frame when his defenders are still in the box.
Andrea Conti 4
Maybe injuries have taken a big toll on Conti, but he isn’t the same flourishing right back that he was at Atalanta. Completely out of his depth in the second half, and didn’t contribute further up the pitch even when Milan were the dominant side in the first 45.
Simon Kjaer 4
Kjaer was signed in January to bring some leadership alongside Romagnoli, but like the rest of the side, fell to pieces in the second half.
Alessio Romagnoli 5
Made some crucial interceptions to try and stop the floodgates as Inter got a hold in the game, but couldn’t do much to stem the tide. A chastening experience for a player who has given his all for Milan in these tough years.
Theo Hernandez 6
Yes, the Frenchman leaves gaps at the back, but what he provides going forward offsets that. Milan’s highest scorer this season was at his bamboozling best in the first half, and even as the game slipped away he almost created an equalizer at the end when Ibra headed his cross against the post.
Samu Castillejo 6
The first half was the best I have seen the Spaniard perform in a Milan shirt. Had Ashley Young on a sixpence and linked beautifully with Calhanoglu to create overloads on the right flank. Rendered helpless in the second half.
Ismael Bennacer 7
Orchestrated play beautifully from a deep position at the base of midfield in the first half. Even at 2-2, the Algerian was the only Milan player who attempted to assert control and slow down the temp of the game, but his efforts were in vain.
Franck Kessie 6
The Ivorian made some excellent runs into dangerous spaces throughout the game. However, the final ball was always lacking and instead of taking up a deeper position as the game changed, Kessie tried too hard to push forward with ill-advised forays further up the pitch.
Hakan Calhanoglu 7
Simply brilliant in the first half. The freedom of a roving role suits Calhanoglu to the tee, and was desperately unfortunate not to score early in the game. Like the rest of his team, couldn’t extend his influence once Inter got back in the game.
Ante Rebic 6
From being on the verge of a January exit, the Croatian has finally developed an understanding with the rest of the Rossoneri forward line. Dovetailed well with Zlatan and Hakan, while his interplay with Hernandez on the left flank made Godin and Candreva helpless.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic 7
One of Milan’s favourite sons was certainly up for the occasion. Zlatan clearly wanted to make his mark on a big game and did so with a goal and an assist. His goal threat in the box remains undiminished, however there were a fair share of promising moves broken down when Ibra took deeper positions trying to link up play. Should Pioli have taken him off to try and change things?
Rafael Leao 5
Why was he not brought on earlier than the 79th minute? The Portuguese youngster’s ability to glide with the ball could have brought another dimension and much needed relief further up the pitch.
Lucas Paqueta 5
And again? Answers on a postcard please Mr. Pioli.
Giacomo Bonaventura 5
Guess what? Again! Why were these three substitutions made in the 79th, 80th, and 83rd minute? Between the three substitutes, they had one shot and two key passes in ten minutes. Enough said.