In retrospect, the past few weeks were actually foreplay. Charles De Ketelaere faced his real Italian football climax today in the Milan derby.
As the only Belgian in the starting lineup during the clash between Milan and Inter due to the injury of Romelu Lukaku. As a result, even more eyes were on him – in Belgium of course, but also far beyond. With the new “Golden Boy” stamp printed on him.
To him to show himself in San Siro.
However, De Ketelaere would soon realize that there is no place for youthful sins in a derby. After twenty minutes, the Red Devil let go of his direct opponent Marcelo Brozovic. The experienced Croat infiltrated perfectly and showed no mercy: 0-1 for Inter.
De Ketelaere grabbed at his blond hair, realizing that the goal against him could be rubbed against him.
But… Where many others would go into a cramp – out of fear of making a mistake again – De Ketelaere made an excellent recovery.
Of course it helped that just 7 minutes after the opening goal, Leao scored the equalizer with a nice curl in the corner. CDK was able to breathe again and then showed itself in a positive way.
With a nice dribble on the edge of the box, which gave Brozovic yellow, the Belgian underlined his resilience once again.
Five minutes before half time, the Belgian himself had an excellent opportunity to give Milan the lead. De Ketelaere appeared at the near post with a corner kick, but his header went centimeters wide.
De Ketelaere also showed himself after the break.
When Milan’s top purchase turned nicely away from its attacker, it resulted in an open cloth from San Siro. Although our compatriot did not shy away from defensive work either. Five minutes into the second half, that resulted in a yellow card. De Ketelaere prevented Correa from scoring from just outside the box with a pitiful but much-needed intervention.
On the other side, Olivier Giroud did. The inevitable Frenchman, on Leao’s instructions, completely turned the situation around. Pumped up by the adrenaline of the goal, De Ketelaere – with a yellow card in his pocket – continued on Brozovic.
Alarm bells go off with an experienced coach like Stefano Pioli. The moment was the harbinger for a change.
Although there was first Rafael Leao – the absolute star in this derby. After a goal and an assist, the Portuguese phenomenon also made it 3-1. With a flash past some defenders, the finish is equally good.
The announced substitution of De Ketelaere followed almost immediately. He got 62 minutes in his first Milanese two-faced derby. The mistake will perhaps reverberate for a while, but the resilience shown was a punishment.
San Siro rewarded CDK with a heartfelt applause, trainer Pioli was even able to get a hug. Despite the double lead at the time of the replacement, Milan would still shiver a lot.
Substitute Edin Dzeko took care of the connecting goal with twenty minutes to go. Inter smelled blood and pushed hard. Fortunately, Saelemaekers and Origi – who came in fifteen minutes before the end – saw their goalkeeper still claim a leading role. With some great saves, Maignan prevented an equalizer.
One thing is certain: De Ketelaere will not soon forget his first Milan derby.