Euro Zone: Nine-man Inter too good for Milan

Jose Mourinho's "perfect" Internazionale claimed an extraordinary derby victory over Milan in San Siro last night despite finishing the game with nine men, a result that was followed by a extraordinary outburst of classic Mourinho.

The result leaves Inter nine points ahead of their city rivals at the top of Serie A and set fair for yet another Scudetto. Mourinho, though, later decided all is not fair in Italian football with a typically forthright response to the red cards, followed by a characteristic boast.

"Everything was done today to try and prevent Inter from winning, but my squad is strong and we will win the Scudetto," said Mourinho on Italian television. "But I will leave it at that. This is your country and your league. I am just a foreigner working here. One day, I will go and leave this problem with you.

"It was a strange game. I think we all understand that it was no coincidence that he showed the red card to [Wesley] Sneijder. I have realised that they are not going to allow us to wrap this title up. But we were perfect. We would have won this game even with seven men. Maybe with six we would have struggled, but we would have won with seven."

Sneijder was the first to go, dismissed early in the first half. The Dutchman was followed in the last minute of normal time by Lucio, who earned his red card for giving away a penalty. With five minutes of injury time to be played and with a two-man advantage, Ronaldinho, whose effervescent form has had so much to do with Milan's revival, had the chance to set up a grandstand finish; instead Julio Cesar saved his compatriot's effort, to the clear delight of a leaping Mourinho on the touchline.

David Beckham was shown the first yellow card of the game for his second foul in the third minute and that early booking set a strict standard which the referee Gianluca Rocchi was obliged to maintain.

Inter took an early lead through Diego Milito, who shot home after 10 minutes. Lucio was then shown a yellow card for simulation and Sneijder responded by applauding the referee ironically, only Rocchi did not appreciate the gesture and he sent the Dutchman off in the 26th minute.

"Is it right that a player gets sent off for clapping his hands, but not when a player runs halfway across the pitch in an aggressive manner?" Mourinho asked.

A precisely targeted free-kick by Goran Pandev doubled the lead midway through the second half before Lucio's late foul for a handball inside the penalty area earned him his second yellow.

Spotlight on Barcelona's unbeaten run

Thierry Henry knows a thing or two about invincibility. The Frenchman scored 30 goals in the 2003-04 season when Arsenal went a whole campaign without losing in the league and, after this 3-0 victory away to Valladolid, he is halfway to repeating the feat in La Liga.

Barcelona, who are running out of records to break, completed the first half of the season without losing a single game for the first time in their history. The victory means they have 49 points at the halfway point of the season – just one less than last year when they had the title won four matches from the end of the campaign.

The Frenchman failed to find the net but goals from Xavi, Leo Messi and the superb Dani Alves (above) sealed the victory. Barça were the only club not to baulk at Alves' price tag 18 months ago. "Too much money for a full-back," was the thrust of most clubs' reluctance – but Alves produced 12 assists in last year's campaign and is already on eight this time.

It was his cross from the right that Xavi volleyed in for the first and it was his pass that allowed Zlaten Ibrahimovic to tee-up Messi for his 15th goal of the season. Between strikes, a spectacular Alves cross-shot got the Brazilian on the score-sheet too.

Coach Pep Guardiola said: "I knew from the start that this season we would always lose out in comparison to last season's record. We are already out of the cup and we have one point less at the halfway stage but the attitude of the team is just as good as last season and we are still playing to the same high standard."

Talking point: The fall of Van Gaal

It's usually Arjen Robben writhing around on the deck and a concerned manager looking over him but, for once, roles were reversed as the Dutch winger celebrated his 26th birthday with a man-of-the-match performance and a free-kick goal that was too much for Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal.

As Robben ran to celebrate with his coach in Bayern's 3-2 win away to Werder Bremen, Van Gaal slipped and fell on his back on the touchline. "It was a good job he only scored once," said the manager, having seen Robben return Bayern to the top of the Bundesliga ahead of Leverkusen's trip to Hoffenheim.

Van Gaal welcomed back Franck Ribery as the French winger played 22 second-half minutes after an absence of three months and 20 days.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Dave Mackay lifts the FA Cup in 1967 having skippered Spurs to victory
football
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Arts and Entertainment
As depicted in Disney's Robin Hood, King John was cowardly, cruel, avaricious and incompetent
film
Life and Style
Travis Kalanick, the co-founder of Uber, is now worth $5.3bn
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn