AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella hailed the first Chinese-owned city derby as a “great advert” for Italian football after a thrilling 2-2 draw against Inter Milan on Saturday.
Given an unusually early slot of 1130 GMT on Easter weekend, a party atmosphere reigned in the hours leading up to the final Milan derby of the season.
But by the end of an entertaining encounter, held in blazing sunshine at a near-full-capacity San Siro stadium, there was only one team celebrating: AC Milan.
Inter were 2-0 up with first-half goals from Antonio Candreva and Mauro Icardi, but Cristian Zapata added to Alessio Romagnoli’s 83rd-minute strike to snatch a share of the points in the seventh minute of injury time.
It capped a dramatic last few days for AC Milan, who were purchased by Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux two days ago to become the city’s second Chinese-owned Serie A team. Inter have been owned by Suning since June 2016.
With both clubs looking to benefit from the commercial spin-offs offered by a huge Asian market, Montella said: “For Asia that was a great advert (for Italian football).
“It was a hard-fought game that gave fans plenty of emotions, both positive and negative.”
The draw left Montella’s men sixth, one point behind Atalanta in fifth and the final Europa League qualifying place.
Inter remain seventh, still two points behind their city rivals.
“It’s a point that is very useful for the Europa (League qualification),” added Montella. “But we have to keep on battling.”