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Inter Milan's Tactics Were The Difference in Champions League Semi-Final

By Dylan O'Connell Updated
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The champagne went flat and AC Milan’s Champions League comeback party ended in a flat 3-0 aggregate defeat to local rivals Inter, with the majority of the action coming in the first leg at the San Siro.

I Rossoneri will now finish the season trophy-less, and they have an uphill battle if they are to play in the Champions League next season. 

This was supposed to be their grand return to the European elites, with the sleeping giant woken up and fighting for silverware.

The feeling was only enhanced by their quarter final victory over Napoli, who were on the cusp of winning the Scudetto when they faced them, and one of the most inform teams on the continent this season.


Then Milan faced Inter, a team they already played three times before the Champions League semi-finals.

Milan’s local rivals tactically ground them down and left the club trophyless and needing a miracle if they are to avoid playing in the Europa League next season.

Inter didn’t even make any grand changes, they set up in their trusted 3-5-2 and played the same game they do every week in Serie A.


I Rossoneri tried to break this down by setting up in a 4-2-3-1 formation for the return leg, with this turning into a 4-3-3 when they attacked.

Olivier Giroud was the focal point of a three pronged forward line that had Rafael Leão and Junior Messias positioned on the wings. Brahim Díaz played behind them until he was replaced with Divock Origi in the 76thminute.

When they tried to attack, Denzel Dumfries and Federico Dimarco retreated and created a  back five for Inter.


This meant that Giroud was isolated and any ball sent in by Milan had someone in a black and blue jersey free to deal with this.

No matter what they did, Inter had a numerical advantage in the final third of the pitch and Milan were neutralised.

I Rossoneri did try to go long, in a vain attempt to get around the blue and black wall, and they ended up hitting three shots off target.


They only forced two real chances in the game, with André Onana comfortably dealing with the first shot from Díaz.

This was the result of Milan catching Inter out in transition, when the majority of their players were getting back into position after a corner.

Inter didn’t mind in the long run. Their tactics worked almost perfectly as they soaked up the pressure and swarmed Milan when they counter attacked.


What rounded off the night was Lautaro Martínez’s goal for Inter in the 74th minute. This polished off the tie for the thousands of home fans, who had an absolute victory over their local rivals.

Inter are through to their first Champions League final since 2010 and they did it with on tactical merit. There’s no luck about it.

As for Milan, it appears that reports of their revival have been greatly exaggerated.

It’s all about the final now for Inter and getting back into the competition for the other side of the city.

SEE ALSO: "The Biggest F*** Up Of My Life As A Coach," Why Real Madrid Is A Personal Conquest For Guardiola

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