FC Internazionale Milano v AC Milan - Serie A
Game in a sentence
Samir Handanovic’s first half heroics was the difference, as the Derby della Madonnina ends in a draw for the first time since 2004.

Observations

  • The game was enthralling for 75 minutes before devolving in a tepid affair. Inter stay within a point of their rivals, a remarkable feat considering the trials and tribulations the team has undergone this season.
  • Mario Balotelli could’ve had three goals if not for some outstanding goalkeeping by Samir Handanovic. Super Mario looked to have a sure goal in the 27th minute, firing a header on goal that the Slovenian keeper somehow saved. Minutes later Handanovic thwarted Balo again, leading the enigmatic star to kick the post in frustration.
  • The goalie had to be good, because his teammates were straight up awful for most of the match. The left side, thoroughly exposed by Fiorentina last week, was a weak spot once again, with Yuto Nagatomo acting as a proverbial turnstile on several occasions. Mattia De Sciglio had a field day. Fredy Guarín refused to track back and help, creating a myriad of close calls that nearly lead to Milan goals.
  • Man is Stephan El Shaarawy fun to watch. The diminutive striker opened the scoring in the 21st minute, collecting an excellent through ball from Kevin-Prince Boateng and using the outside of his foot to beat Handanovic. It was the Little Pharaoh’s 25th goal in all competitions this year, national team included. Kid is going to be a star.
  • After a great performance against Barcelona, the center half duo of Mexes and Zapata had a mixed day. The former was guilty of allowing Ezequiel Schelotto to get behind him and a score the equalizer in the 71st minute. Antonio Nocerino gave Nagatomo far too much space, allowing the Japanese international to deliver a perfectly weighted ball into the box. After scoring his first derby goal, Schelotto broke into tears. Things got a little dusty at theScore HQ.
  • Javier Zanetti is the most interesting man in the world. Okay, maybe not, but the guy is ageless. Zanetti participated in his 46th derby. There have been 208 total. That’s insane.
  • The beginning of the second half was marred by a combination of fog and smoke from flares that make visibility an issue. Color man Stewart Robson was forced into silence for about five minutes, the greatest five minutes in broadcasting history. The fog smoke eventually disappeared, releasing Stadio Giuseppe Meazza from its Beijing inspired clutches.
  • Feeling left out during the Handanovic love in, Christian Abbiati made a remarkable save of his own in the 54th minute, foiling Guarin on what looked like a sure goal.
  • Balotelli got up to his old antics late in the second half. Robson called  it showboating–is this not supposed to be entertaining?– and the Inter players did not looked pleased. Zanetti got in his ear, telling him to chill. I’m not sure if he actually said that but it feels like some thing a wise man would say.
  • AC Milan’s third place cushion is not thick, sitting just one point above Inter Milan and Lazio. With their second leg against Barcelona coming up, Max Allegri will have to work some magic to keep his side fit and fresh.

Three stars

1. Samir Handanovic

2. Stephan El Shaarawy

3. Mattia De Sciglio