RC Deportivo La Coruña 0-4 AC Milan
AC Milan produced a performance of exceptional quality as they confidently outplayed RC Deportivo La Coruña to register a 4-0 victory in their UEFA Champions League Group G encounter at the Riazor stadium.
The hero of the night was undoubtedly Filippo Inzaghi, who carried his excellent recent form into tonight’s game, claiming a hat-trick against top-level opponents. His first had an element of fortune about it, but his second and third were the finishes of a striker on top of his game. Indeed, he could have had six, but missed three golden late chances to add to his tally.
Deportivo started the game brightly in an electric atmosphere. They strung together a series of their trademark rapid passes in midfield in a bid to expose Milan’s back line and looked set to take control of the game. Yet despite this early possession, the half, and the game, was to belong to Carlo Ancelotti’s side.
Clarence Seedorf began the game in a deep position, anchoring the midfield. He harried and hassled Deportivo’s players out of possession time and again, and slowly began to push forward. With the whole Milan side displaying the confidence which has come off the back of winning their opening two Serie A games, it was unsurprising when the Italian club took the lead.
Seedorf made a surging run down the left flank, before cutting inside and bearing down on goal. Rivaldo and Inzaghi dragged their markers out of his path, and Seedorf drove the ball past Juanmi García in the Deportivo goal.
Milan were visibly buoyed by the lead, but Deportivo also responded well. Javier Irureta’s side came bowling forward in a bid to grab a rapid equaliser. However, Alessandro Nesta and Paolo Maldini were in no mood to give any ground, and refused to let the Deportivo strikers through.
The Spanish side’s best chances inevitably came through the lively runs of Fran González on the left flank. Yet Roy Makaay, scorer of a hat-trick against FC Bayern München in his previous Champions League outing, was being closely watched and struggled to find space.
Then came the crucial second goal. Roberto Acuña’s attempted clearance fell straight to Inzaghi. The Italian international’s first effort was hit straight at the keeper, but he made no mistake with his follow up.
Milan were straight back in top gear after the break, with the fluidity of their midfield movement causing consternation in the Deportivo defence. The third goal was not long coming. Rui Costa sidestepped his marker on the edge of the box and picked out Inzaghi who slotted in. Milan poured forward in waves, relentlessly forging chance after chance. It was from a perfectly weighted Rivaldo through-ball that Inzaghi completed his hat-trick.
Back with a vengeance
Ancelotti’s side were not satisfied however, and substitute Jon Dahl Tomasson and Rivaldo missed great chances at the death. Italian clubs have had some quiet seasons in the Champions League in recent seasons, but with this famous victory, and Juventus FC's trouncing of FC Dynamo Kyiv, it seems they are back with a vengeance.