Inter Overtake Rivals

Inter Overtake Rivals

The 2020-21 title race has been the most thrilling in the last decade already. Reigning champions Juventus, who are actively defending their title, got off to a very slow start, unlikely of them. This opened up the opportunity for the Milan teams, Inter and AC Milan, to break away and establish themselves as the leading teams in the race. 

 

Inter and Milan have been displaying great performances and motivation throughout their campaign. Rarely dropping points and only having lost three games combined, they soon became feared among competitors. 

 

Before matchday 22, it was Milan who had taken the top spot and consistently held it for the entirety of the season. Inter trailed behind but were never too far away, with the gap never going higher than four points. In a chaotic weekend of soccer however, Inter was able to finally overtake Milan for the top spot with a statement win over Lazio. 

 

The overtake had been coming for some time some (biased) fans might feel, as Inter has a better team on paper and greater depth to their bench. However, Milan has shown grit and perseverance often before, so nothing was certain until it played out. 

 

The first match that we must take a look at actually doesn’t involve either Milan or Inter, but has had an effect on both the teams. Juventus, reigning champions, travelled to Napoli, rivals, to compete. Napoli, despite all the injuries, kept Ronaldo and co. at bay, and won the game thanks to a penalty from captain Lorenzo Insigne. 

 

A loss for Juventus is a terrific boost for the morale of both Milan teams. Sure it’s not nice to say, but remember that this is a top flight league, and competitiveness is breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So on Friday Juventus dropped three valuable points, which gave Milan a chance to pull a 10 point gap between them and the champions if they were to win their game away at Spezia. 

 

As you can probably guess, they did not win that away game, thanks mainly to a wonderful performance by the Spezia side and two well worked goals. “Spezia deserved to win”, said head coach Sefano Pioli in a post-match interview. “This is our first real loss, because we deserved it. We didn’t bring enough quality and intensity on the pitch”. Milan had zero shots on net the whole game. 

 

For Inter, who played Lazio at home on Sunday, this was the golden opportunity. Direct title rivals and reigning champions both lost, which means there are six points to be gained, but it wouldn’t be easy at all. In fact, in form Lazio was a tough nut to crack even at San Siro, but Inter managed the game perfectly, building a lead and then killing the game when they needed to. 

 

Led by its two front men, Lukaku and Matinez, Inter worked well on the counter attack, winning a penalty in the first half and securing the win with a third goal in the second. While the game was stuck on 2-0, Lazio showed glimpses of a challenge when Milnkovic’s freekick deflected off Escalante and rolled behind Handanovic, cutting Inter’s lead in half. 

 

The Nerazzurri did not panic, and in only three minutes they restated a two goal lead with a counter attacking play created by Lukaku and finished by Martinez, after the Belgian put the ball in front of the empty Lazio net. 

 

As it now stands, Inter are first at 50 points. Milan follows at 49, then Roma at 43 and Juventus at 42, but with a game in hand. In only 3 days from now, Inter and Milan square off at San Siro in the Derby della Madonnina. With so much at stake, this Derby is gonna be unlike any other, with both teams playing their hearts out to win over their rivals. If Inter wins, it would be a huge statement to everyone else, and might concretise their title winning hope. If Milan wins, it’ll be great redemption and will show incredible character from the Rossoneri, also sending out a message to the competition.