AC Milan and Inter played out a drab goalless draw in the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final.
It was a match where the highlight came before the first whistle, as Milan legend Andrei Shevchenko gave an emotional address on the big screen in the ground asking for support in stopping the war in Ukraine.
There was little memorable about the match itself, Milan coming the closest to scoring in the first half when Alexis Saelemaekers had most of the goal to aim at but saw his shot parried by Samir Handanovic.
At the other end, Alessio Romagnoli bravely put his head in the way of Dzeko nodding home, clearing the ball but resulting in a knock to him which saw him leave the field.
It is a long wait for the second leg which will be played on April 20.
A lack of jeopardy – England is fortunate to have a tradition of neutral ground semi-finals, though obviously this fixture would have to be played in the same arena regardless. Still, a first leg, fully seven weeks before the second does feel like it contributed to the lack of excitement on display. While both sides were committed for the first half, their true (and very understandable) priority of chasing the Scudetto was shown when star players were taken off midway through the second. The contrast between the memorable Derby della Madonnina last month and this match could not have been more stark.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Rafael Leao (AC Milan) – There was a moment in the first half which you hope would be instructive to him. He was in full flight and rather than continue running towards goal, he looked for a foul from Marcelo Brozovic. He probably should have been given a free kick but the referee waved it away and hopefully the flying winger will instead look to shrug off such challenges. He was far and away the most exciting player on view and promises to delight for many years for club and country. Him being brought off midway through the half was met with groans from Milan fans and neutrals alike.
Milan: Maignan 6; Florenzi 7, Tomori 7, Romagnoli 7, Theo Hernandez 6; Bennacer 6, Kessie 6; Saelemaekers 6, Krunic 6, Rafael Leao 8; Giroud 6.
Subs: Kalulu 7, Diaz 6, Messias 6, Rebic 6, Calabria 6.
Inter: Handanovic 7; Skriniar 7, De Vrij 6, Bastoni 7; Dumfries 6, Barella 6, Brozovic 6, Calhanoglu 7, Perisic 7; Dzeko 6, Lautaro Martinez 6.
Subs: Vidal 6, Sanchez 6, Correa 6, Darmian 6, Gosens 6.
11′ GREAT CHANCE FOR SAELEMAEKERS! A hospitable ball from Handanovic to Brozovic on the edge of his box leads to a near open goal for Saelemaekers but the Inter keeper gets back to parry his fairly weak attempt.
24′ GREAT DEFENDING STOPS DZEKO! Perisic got to the by-line on the left flank and produced a typical perfect hanging cross for Dzeko but Milan defender Romagnoli got up just before the former Manchester City striker and cleared the danger.
40′ KRUNIC WITH A CHANCE! Fiorenzi got deep down the right flank and picked him out on the edge of the box but his effort flew over the bar.
70′ GREAT BALL FROM DUMFRIES! It looked begging to be put away when the Dutchman played a low ball across the six-yard box, but Kalulu at the back post got to the ball before Dzeko and nudged it to safety.