The winning goal against AC Milan was not all Walter Samuel had to celebrate on Sunday night – he has now won all ten of these league derbies he has played in.
The 34-year-old Argentina defender's diving header made the difference after just three minutes at San Siro, earning the Nerazzurri a 1-0 victory to leave their city rivals languishing in the bottom half of the fledgling Serie A standings. Inter's win was all the more impressive considering the 48th-minute dismissal of Yuto Nagatomo.
"I'm happy for the victory and pleased with the position we have reached in the league as well," said Samuel, who maintains a perfect record in the fixture since joining Inter in 2005. "We were all up for the derby and we were eager to show we could get a result here tonight. We had faith in our own abilities and, although we came under pressure especially when we were with ten men, we kept positive and always thought we could win the game."
Andrea Stramaccioni's team are now four points behind leaders Juventus and SSC Napoli, and eight ahead of the Rossoneri. "We need to continue with this mentality," Samuel added. "The Scudetto? It's still too early in the season to say. I don't think any team can even think about that word at this stage of the campaign. We are working hard and we will keep doing so in order to win something at the end of the season."
Sunday's triumph also marked another notable landmark in the career of the venerable Inter captain Javier Zanetti. His latest appearance took his derby tally to 45, one more than Giuseppe Bergomi and ahead of any Inter player in history.
"It's an important achievement for me," said the 39-year-old, now second only to Paolo Maldini for most Milan derbies played. "It was not easy with ten men against a side like Milan. We were very united on the pitch and we leave the stadium more aware than before about our strengths. There is a good mix of veterans and young talents in this squad. With this spirit I hope we can fight for the title in May."
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