Sunday will be the 213th Derby della Madonnina between Inter and Milan. Of the 213 official matches disputed between the two giants of Italian football, there have been 63 draws, 76 wins for the nerazzurri and 74 for the rossoneri. We decided to look back at what was probably the strangest derby between the two Milan sides, which took place a decade ago, on April 12, 2005.
In the Champions league quarter-final, with Milan leading 1–0 after an Andriy Shevchenko goal and 3-0 on aggregate, the German official, Markus Merk controversially disallowed an Inter goal. Infuriated by the call, supporters from Inter’s Curva Nord began to throw lit flares onto the pitch, one of which struck Milan’s goalkeeper Nelson Dida.
The match was stopped in the 74th minute and after 30-minute delay in which firefighters were called in to remove the burning flares from the pitch, the match was restarted. However, less than a minute later, Merk finally abandoned the match after more flares and debris rained down. Milan were awarded a 3–0 victory, totaling a 5–0 aggregate. Inter were fined €200,000 and ordered to play their first four Champions League matches the following season behind closed doors.
In order to understand the fan’s reaction we look at the context of how this came about. Milan had just won their 17th Scudetto along with the Champions League two years prior. Inter on the other hand, had lost to Milan in the CL semifinals in 2003. Their season had been dubbed “the year of the draws” 18 ties in league competition. Inter had only won a Coppa Italia and two Uefa cups since 1989. In that same period, AC Milan had won 4 Champions Leagues and played in 6 finals and 6 league titles.
Following the game, AC Milan supporters did little to respond to the Inter faithful’s display of dissatisfaction. Milan’s main supporters group, the Fossa Dei Leoni had been disbanded on the 22nd November following the loss of their banner.