AC Milan vs Inter Milan: five most memorable Derby della Madonninas
For the first time ever, A.C. Milan and Internazionale Milano will meet five times in the same season. So far this year, both Serie A clashes have gone the way of the home side, with A.C. prevailing 3-2 back in September, before Inter were 1-0 winners in February. In-between, the two made the long pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia for the Supercoppa Italian, with Inter running out 3-0 winners in Riyāḍ.
Now, for only the third time, these two great rivals have drawn each-other in UEFA competition, having previously clashed in the Champions League semi-finals of 2003 and the quarter-finals two years later. This article looks back at the five most memorable Derby della Madonninas.
AC Milan vs Inter Milan: Head-to-head record
A.C. Milan wins: 79. Inter Milan wins: 87. Draws: 69.
AC Milan vs Inter Milan: UEFA Champions League meetings
2003 semi-finals: A.C. Milan 1-1 Inter Milan, on aggregate- A.C. Milan advanced on away goals.
2005 quarter-finals: A.C. Milan 5-0 Inter Milan, on aggregate- second leg abandoned after 72 minutes.
Coppa Italia Final 1977
Despite having featured in 29 Coppa Italia Finals, winning the competition a total of 13 times, the Milanese rivals have only ever met once in the final.
This came in 1977, after both had come through two rounds of group stages, playing ten matches, an arduous process to set-up this derby.
In Serie A that season, Juventus reclaimed the Scudetto, with Inter finishing fourth and Milan down in tenth, their lowest finish for 35 years.
Amazingly, I Rossoneri won only five of 30 league matches that season, drawing 17, ending up a mere three points clear of the relegation zone.
Nevertheless, despite going into the game as underdogs, Nereo Rocco’s team prevailed 2-0, thanks to second half goals from Aldo Maldera and then Giorgio Braglia.
Rocco had returned just a few months earlier for his third spell in charge, having previously won two European Cups, two Cup Winners’ Cups, two Serie A titles and an Intercontinental Cup during the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
This would turn out to be Roco’s final game in management, sadly dying aged 66 two years later, a fitting way to sign off for the man who’s taken charge of more matches as Milan manager than anybody else.
Remarkably, this remains the only time Inter and Milan have ever met in a major final, if you discount the Supercoppa Italianas of 2011 and this year, held in Beijing and Riyadh respectively.
Serie A 1997/98
1997/98 was Ronaldo’s first season in Italy, having joined Inter from Barcelona for a then world-record €27 million.
During this season, O Fenômeno scored 34 goals, narrowly missing out on the Capocannoniere, but leading I Nerazzurri to UEFA Cup glory, scoring the third as they swatted aside Lazio in the final in Paris.
Ronaldo would, of course, later join A.C. Milan, featuring at Real Madrid in-between, but still managed to scored four times in five Serie A Derby della Madonninas for Inter.
The most memorable and famous of these goals came in March 1998, as Inter enjoyed a thumping 3-0 victory in the away game at San Siro.
Diego Simeone scored twice that night, but Ronaldo stole the headlines, spectacularly volleying home Francesco Moriero’s cross with the outside of his boot.
This goal came just three months after Ronaldo had been awarded the first of his two Ballon d’Or and emphasised that, at the time, he was the best player on the planet.
Serie A 2000/01
The biggest victory in Derby della Madonnina history came on 11 May 2001, a date A.C. Milan supporters will never forget.
Gianni Comandini scored twice in the first 17 minutes, bagging his only Serie A goals for the club, but firmly writing his name into Milan folk law given what was to follow.
After the break, Federico Giunti’s free-kick evaded everybody, Andriy Shevchenko scored twice before, less than two minutes later, Serginho raced through and completed the rout.
This clincher made this the most emphatic victory in Milan derby history, with the previous record having been a pair of 5-0 victories from 1910 and 1998.
Bizarrely, Inter finished two points above Milan that season, in fifth and sixth respectively, with Fabio Capello’s Roma the surprise champions.
Marco Tardelli was sacked shortly after this 5-0 drubbing and, given that he’d subsequently manage Bari, the Egyptian national team and Arezzo, this signalled the end for his aspirations of being a top-tier manager.
Champions League semi-finals 2003
20 years ago, the Milanese giants met in UEFA competition for the very first time.
In the Champions League quarter-finals, Inter had ousted Valencia on away goals while, the following night, Milan knocked out Ajax, courtesy of Jon Dahl Tomasson’s dramatic stoppage time winner.
With Juventus facing Real Madrid in the other semi, a tie la Vecchia Signora would win 4-3, a first-ever all-Italian European Cup Final was on the cards at Old Trafford.
The first leg of the all-Milan semi-final was anything but memorable, ending goalless.
Six days later, they reconvened at the same stadium, for a game that would go do down as an historic result.
Andriy Shevchenko broke the deadlock in first half stoppage time, before teenager Obafemi Martins equalised for Inter.
So, 1-1 it finished but, despite the fact both ties were played at San Siro, A.C. Milan reached the final on away goals; classic pub quiz question.
The final itself was an uneventful goalless draw, with I Rossoneri beating Juve on penalties, making their ‘away’ goals victory over Inter even more sweet.
Champions League quarter-finals 2005
Two years later, the Milan giants would meet again in the Champions League, with this tie producing one of the most memorable football pictures of all time.
Milan won the first leg of this quarter-final 2-0, with Jaap Stamp and then Andriy Shevchenko the scorers.
Shevchenko then scored half an hour into a second leg that was never completed.
In the 72nd minute, unhappy with the fact their team were heading out, Inter fans all threw flares onto the pitch, with dozens of them raining down from the Curva Nord, one of which struck A.C. goalkeeper Dida.
The match was abandoned, Milan were awarded a 3-0 victory and Inter were forced to play their next four matches in UEFA competition behind-closed-doors.
This led to the iconic image of Marco Materazzi resting his arm on Rui Costa’s shoulder, two opposition players watching the chaos unfold, with Stefano Rellandini’s photograph the most iconic in Milan derby history.