Inter 1-2 AC Milan: Player ratings as Giroud brace fires Rossoneri to derby triumph

Craig Vickers
Olivier Giroud scored twice in quick succession
Olivier Giroud scored twice in quick succession / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

AC Milan moved to within a point of Inter at the top of Serie A as Olivier Giroud's quickfire double completed a second half turnaround for Stefano Pioli's side in 130th instalment of the Derby della Madonnina.

After a sloppy start, Inter had the ball in the back of the net just ten minutes in when Denzel Dumfries ghosted in at the back post to arrow a header goalbound. Ivan Perisic's cross was pinpoint, but the goal was chalked off for an infringement by the Croatian.

Marcelo Brozovic then tested the reflexes of Mike Maignan in the Milan goal, working space on the edge of the area before his shot was deflected by Pierre Kalulu in its route to goal.

Simone Inzaghi's side ought to have been ahead on the 25th minute when Nicolo Barella collected the ball in the penalty area. Edin Dzeko worked the ball into Lautaro Martinez and when the Argentine laid it back for Barella, the midfielder flashed his effort wide under the attentions of Alessio Romagnoli.

An even bigger opportunity presented itself just minutes later, leaving Inzaghi with his head in his hands on the touchline. Martinez's through pass was bobbled through to the marauding Dumfries but, with just the goalkeeper to beat, the Dutchman shot straight at the diving Maignan.

Inter's first half dominance was then eventually rewarded in the 37th minute. Hakan Calhanoglu's corner sailed to the back post where Perisic, without a Milan player in the vicinity, calmy cushioned his sidefoot volley into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.

The positive news for Milan was that their performance could only improve after the interval, and they went close from a speculative effort from Tonali after impressive tenacity from Ismael Bennacer to recover the ball in midfield.

Brahim Diaz - who replaced the ineffective Franck Kessie in the second period - showed his guile in the 64th minute when he burst through the Inter midfield. The Spaniard then teed up Rafael Leao, but the winger could only arrow his shot high and wide with Milan Skriniar closing in.

Out of nothing, Milan then equalised. Inter were screaming for a free-kick when Alexis Sanchez was bundled over in midfield, although play continued as Milan poured forward. Diaz collected the ball on the edge of the area before his cross-cum-shot bobbled across goal where Olivier Giroud stabbed home at the back post.

With Inter on the ropes, Milan completed their turnaround in the 78th minute. Giroud was fed with his back to goal before the Frenchman spun Stefan de Vrij in the area and curled his effort into the bottom corner.

Theo Hernandez was dismissed in stoppage time for a reckless lunge on Dumfries, but Milan held out for a crucial derby victory.

Inter player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Stefan De Vrij, Olivier Giroud
de Vrij tussles with Giroud / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Samir Handanovic (GK) - 3/10 - Had barely anything to contend with for 70 minutes, but his attempt to stop the second of Giroud's two goals was feeble.

Milan Skriniar (CB) - 5/10 - Barely put a foot wrong on the defensive front, completely nullifying the threat of Rafael Leao.

Stefan de Vrij (CB) - 4/10 - Marshalled Inter effectively at the heart of the defence, although he was spun too easily for Giroud's second of the evening.

Alessandro Bastoni (CB) - 8/10 - Made a couple of last ditch stops in the early exchanges as Inter struggled to adjust to the pace of the game and maintained his consistency throughout.

2. Wing-backs & midfielders

Ivan Perisic
Perisic celebrates his strike / Giuseppe Bellini/GettyImages

Denzel Dumfries (RWB) - 8/10 - Bullied Theo Hernandez on the flanks, constantly positioning himself in advanced areas and threatening at goal on a few ocassions.

Nicolo Barella (CM) - 6/10 - Constantly found intelligent positions on the right hand side as Dumfries motored to join the attack.

Marcelo Brozovic (CM) - 6/10 - A calming influence in the Inter midfield, screening the Nerazzurri backline with aplomb.

Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) - 6/10 - Pinpoint delivery from a corner to open the scoring for Inter.

Ivan Perisic (LWB) - 7/10 - A constant threat down the left flank and the poise in which he opened the scoring with his sidefoot volley was marvellous.

3. Forwards

Edin Dzeko
Dzeko on his haunches / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

Lautaro Martinez (ST) - 7/10 - A performance brimming with creativity, constantly dropping off the forward line in the first half and spraying passes through the Milan defence.

Edin Dzeko (ST) - 5/10 - Didn't threaten the Milan goal on enough ocassions, but his link-up play was excellent.

4. Substitutes

Federico Dimarco (LWB) - N/A

Alexis Sanchez (ST) - N/A

Arturo Vidal (CM) - N/A

Matias Vecino (CM) - N/A

Matteo Darmian (RWB) - N/A

AC Milan player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Mike Maignan
Maignan was impressive for Milan / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

Mike Maignan (GK) - 7/10 - Made a huge stop to deny Dumfries in the first half and his proactive nature spared Milan on several ocassions.

Davide Calabria (RB) - 5/10 - Usually dependable at full back, but struggled with the raw pace of Perisic.

Pierre Kalulu (CB) - 6/10 - Handed his chance in recent weeks in the absence of Tomori and Kjaer, and impressed against a dangerous Inter frontline.

Alessio Romagnoli (CB) - 4/10 - Booked early in the proceedings for a foul on Dzeko and his positioning left a lot to be desired in defensive situations.

Theo Hernandez (LB) - 2/10 - Struggled against the powerful Dumfries, especially when defending crosses from the opposite flank. Sent off in stoppage time for a wild challenge.

6. Midfielders

Sandro Tonali, Marcelo Brozovic
Tonali on the ball / Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

Sandro Tonali (CM) - 8/10 - A driving force in midfield, highlighted by his burst through the heart of Inter with the contest just four minutes old.

Ismael Bennacer (CM) - 5/10 -
Looked off the pace, failing to be as incisive in possession as the Milan faithful have been accustomed to.

Franck Kessie (CM) - 2/10 -
Back from Africa Cup of Nations duty and struggled to impact the game.

7. Forwards

Olivier Giroud
Giroud celebrates his goals / Alessandro Sabattini/GettyImages

Alexis Saelemakers (RW) - 1/10 - A surprise inclusion by Pioli and was subsequently hooked at half time.

Olivier Giroud (ST) - 10/10 - A non-factor for 70 minutes, but he provided the decisive - and potentially season-defining - contributions late on.

Rafael Leao (LW) - 5/10 - Very much the man in form for Milan coming into this fixture, but he struggled to get touches of the ball.

8. Substitutes

Junior Messias (RW) - 4/10 - Replaced the ineffective Alexis Saelemakers at the interval, but struggled to get involved himself.

Brahim Diaz (AM) - 8/10 - Added energy and purpose to Milan's midfield, assisting Giroud for his side's leveller.

Rade Krunic (CM) - N/A