Monthly Archives: February 2011
Yesterdays game against Sampdoria in Genoa saw Inter claim the 3 points they deserved after controlling the game for long periods, even though real chances at goal were few and far between for the Nerazzurri but they played calm, patiently and with determination to take the victory. They were also helped by the fact Sampdoria were dire in their attacking third and at times it looked like they were playing with ten defenders. Inter are now in 2nd place only two points behind Milan with the Milan v Naploli game to be played tonight. I salute Leonardo for returning Inter back to their winning ways in 2011, let’s face it if Benitez were still in charge we’d be in a relaxation battle now instead of defending our Scudetto like true champions!
Sampdoria: 85 Curci; 26 Volta, 28 Gastaldello, 6 Lucchini; 7 Mannini, 4 Dessena, 16 Poli, 17 Palombo, 3 Ziegler; 8 Guberti, 32 Maccarone.
Substitutes: 1 Da Costa, 11 Koman, 18 Laczko, 25 Martinez, 27 Biabiany, 41 Macheda, 78 Zauri.
Coach: Domenico Di Carlo.
Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 55 Nagatomo, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 26 Chivu; 14 Kharja, 5 Stankovic, 4 Zanetti; 10 Sneijder; 7 Pazzini, 9 Eto’o.
Substitutes: 12 Castellazzi, 8 Thiago Motta, 17 Mariga, 20 Obi, 23 Materazzi, 27 Pandev, 29 Coutinho.
Referee: Andrea Gervasoni (Mantua).
FIRST HALF – In the battle against Sampdoria, Leonardo chose the central duo Lucio and Ranocchia, with Nagatomo and Chivu playing wide of them; the midfield was made up of Kharja, Zanetti and Stankovic, with Sneijder behind Eto’o and the great former Samp player Pazzini, in the front line. It was an emotional return to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris for him but ex-Inter player Biabiany began the match on the bench.
Inter started off well, but Sampdoria weren’t taking things lying down. They were aggressive and worked hard on the wings. The match was being played at a steady pace and in the 8th minute Stankovic tried to break the ice with a long-distance shot following a pass from Sneijder. Shortly afterwards Chivu crossed into the area but Gastaldello turned the ball wide for a corner. The Nerazzurri kept the pressure on with a shot from Ranocchia who picked up a pass from Sneijder and sent the ball sailing over the bar into the stand. Sneijder, once again, was in the thick of it on 13 minutes when he set up Kharja whose header went narrowly wide. One minute later, the tables were turned as Lucio timed his tackles to perfection; firstly on Mannini and then on Palombo. On 16 minutes Sneijder’s free kick could have given Inter the lead; but Curci was having none of it. In the 17th minute Julio Cesar showed his class by stopping a useful shot by Maccarone. With 23 minutes on the clock Poli took aim and his right-footed effort went just wide. In the 27th minute Lucio blocked a left-footed shot from Ziegler and, a minute later, Sampdoria were back on the attack with Lucchini and then with Mannini. The Nerazzurri held off the Sampdoria attacks well. Inter had another great chance after 34 minutes when Pazzini crossed from the right for Kharja who just couldn’t stretch his leg out enough. Samp were safe. They proved they could be dangerous, too and on 39 minutes Dessena found Ziegler, but Ranocchia was at hand to close down the defence barriers again, along with Nagatomo who kept Poli at bay. In the 41st minute Eto’o tried out his right foot with a shot on goal, but Curci made the ball his. Sampdoria came close after 43 minutes with a close-range shot from Poli after he had been put through by Guberti. On the 45 minute mark Kharja passed to Eto’o on the edge of the area but he hit the ball straight at the goalkeeper. Honours even at half time, but no goals.
SECOND HALF – No changes were made by either side during the interval. Sampdoria got off to an aggressive start with Dessena and Maccarone, while Inter laboured to get balls to Eto’o and Pazzini. On the hour mark Sneijder sent a left-footed shot just wide. Two minutes later Julio Cesar pulled off a wonderful save from Maccarone. Inter had a great chance after that, on 72 minutes, when Eto’o crossed hard from the left of the area and Pazzini headed, but Curci managed to stop it. A minute later Inter took the lead. A brilliant curling free-kick from Sneijder punished the home side. On 80 minutes it was Sneijder again who stepped up to take the free but this time he could only hit the post. Julio Cesar kept things alive on 85 minutes when he saved from Koman, who was in an offside position. In the 89th minute it was Pandev who set Eto’o up and Curci punched his shot away. Eto’o was back in the midst of things once again but the Sampdoria keeper was a match for him. Then in the 4th minute of added time, Inter’s second goal came.
Two attempts failed and then the man from Cameroon hit the third one. A hard shot at ground level and there was no stopping it. Inter collected all three points in the ground where they hadn’t won for four years. After four minutes of injury time Sampdoria v Inter finished 0-2.
Inter showed in this match that we are real contenders for the scudetto against Sampdoria, four Nerazzurri players stood out for me last night, Kharja, Nagatomo, Eto’o & the flying Dutchman Sneijder all of which were outstanding, the one disappointment of the match for me was Pazzini who never really got into his stride and looked for most of the match like he was just keeping his head down against his former club. Man of the match for me was Sneijder though as he showed that he is the heart and catalyst for this Inter squad, I think he should definitely be a contender to take over the captains armband when Zanetti retires!
“I can’t say how satisfied I am this evening,” began Leonardo as he commented on the Sampdoria match. “Every game is important and difficult but this one had something extra to it: Samp made it difficult for us but we got there in the end, and Inter hadn’t won here for years. This is a really important win for us. Julio Cesar showed great character and safe hands, the defence was exceptional, the midfield too, Sneijder was all over the place and scored a great goal, Zanetti just goes on and on, Eto’o and Pazzini did brilliantly: I saw lots of good things out there tonight.”
“The last few weeks have been a long marathon, really demanding. Now we need to recover from all the exertion, train together and get all our players available again. AC Milan v Napoli? The league table as it stands today already looks good and if I have to choose I’d say a draw, although I don’t think it will decide anything. We have to focus on the next three games, which will help determine the future. Playing with two up front? I like playing with more than two…” smiled Leonardo.
“We did come under a lot of pressure, but the biggest pressure was for us to find a solution, and when we did the game turned,” explained the Nerazzurri coach.
Deki Stankovic spoke to Inter Channel about the win, starting with a grin: “They had parked a Boeing 777 or a cruise ship in front of their goal… No, joking aside, Samp had a couple of good chances but we refused to give up: it was a race against time for us but then the goals came. We were patient and did our job, from the start to the end, and on a tough pitch we’ve managed to come away with a great victory. AC Milan v Napoli? Whatever happens tomorrow we’ll have closed the gap…”
“This is a very important win for Inter: we’re now two points behind AC Milan and one ahead of Napoli. We played very well right from the start, we pressed them hard and deserved to win. It was important for us to bounce straight back after losing to Bayern Munich.” Those were Wesley Sneijder’s words – all in Italian – at pitch side after the final whistle. The Dutchman set Inter on their way to victory with a perfect freekick on 74 minutes. Three points that take Inter up to 53 points and temporarily put them in 2nd place, ahead of tomorrow’s AC Milan v Napoli clash at the Meazza. Asked who he wanted to win, Sneijder replied “Neither of them.”
Following last night’s win over Sampdoria, Leonardo has given the team two days off before preparations begin for the Serie A 2010/11 Week 28 match against Genoa, to be played on Sunday 6 March (15:00) at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan’s San Siro district.
The players will thus resume training on Wednesday morning.
– Posted by Nerazzurri Outlaw
Tomorrow is an important day for Inter as AC Milan and Napoli, the two teams above them play each other so it’s a fantastic opportunity for Inter to close in on Milan and even move up to second place if the result falls in our favour. Ideally we could do with that ending up a draw for us to get the most benefit. That being said we need to take all 3 points from our game against Sampdoria to take full advantage.
Goalkeepers: 1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;
Defenders: 4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Lucio, 15 Andrea Ranocchia, 23 Marco Materazzi, 26 Cristian Chivu, 55 Yuto Nagatomo, 57 Felice Natalino;
Midfielders: 5 Dejan Stankovic, 8 Thiago Motta, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 14 Houssine Kharja, 17 MacDonald Mariga, 20 Joel Obi, 29 Philippe Coutinho, 56 Sebastian Carlsen;
Forwards: 7 Giampaolo Pazzini, 9 Samuel Eto’o, 27 Goran Pandev, 31 Denis Alibec.
The three Primavera players are currently involved in the 63rd edition of the Viareggio Cup, World Football Tournament, Coppa Carnevale, and will travel from Viareggio to join the first team tomorrow.
Leonardo’s pre match press conference
In his press conference Leonardo answered the press’s questions on subjects from the mid week defeat to whether the Milan v Napoli game is critical, the seasons injury crisis and Pazzini’s return to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Nerazzurri colours.
Week 27 of Serie A is played this weekend and Leonardo can see the season’s finale taking shape: “The next few games, the next three or four, will be very important as they’ll give us a better idea of which teams are really in the race for the Scudetto, although this year I think things will go on as they are until the end. It will go down to the wire. AC Milan v Napoli? I don’t think one match can change the outcome of this competition, even if it ends in a draw.”
“We lost a game against Bayern Munich but that doesn’t mean we have to start over; just continue what we’ve been doing. It’s important that we stay focused on our targets and don’t lose sight of our league target; that mustn’t change.” That is what Leonardo demands of his players ahead of Sampdoria v Inter – “a game that won’t be easy” according to the Nerazzurri coach, “both for the atmosphere and the ground we’ll be playing at. Sampdoria have lost some important players and a lot has changed for them – different individuals, a different playing system – but one thing they haven’t lost is the spirit that helped them qualify for the Champions League.”
Tomorrow, wearing the black and blue of Inter, Giampaolo Pazzini will return to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris: “He’s settled in here very quickly, in footballing terms and on a personal level with the others, and I think that’s been a big help for him. Pazzini was a big part of Sampdoria. Tomorrow he’ll go back to that stadium and it will be an emotional experience for him, but I think the lad knows how to make sure it doesn’t get the better of him; he’ll be able to give 100% for his current team.”
Inter will be making the trip to Genoa without Esteban Cambiasso: “He’s going to need a bit longer but Thiago Motta, Andrea Ranocchia and Ivan Cordoba are all close to a return and might even be available for tomorrow’s game.” And on the subject of injuries, Leonardo was quite clear: “It’s a long story and I have no intention whatsoever of going into who is right and who is wrong. All I will say is that lots of things have happened this season. It’s been a troubled year, but that happens to many teams. When the season runs perfectly, without injuries or other problems, you can achieve great things. When you do get problems you try to manage them the best you can. I don’t want to talk about the past but I think it’s a combination of many different factors. One thing is for sure: since 29 December, my first day at the club, the players have had to go through a lot. I don’t know if it’s a question of how you prepare them but I do know that immense demands have been put on all the players.”
“The hardest part was when I arrived,” replied Leonardo when asked whether this was the most difficult period for him since he took over, “because in January I still had to come to terms with everything – the club, the team and so on.”
The coach also fielded questions about Julio Cesar (“his way of dealing with problems is to take all the blame, but he has been the team’s saviour on many occasions in many games”), Goran Pandev (“he’ll find his best form again”) and Coutinho (“he’s a true talent who will blossom”).
Finally, Leonardo commented on a disastrous few weeks for Italian sides in Europe, which has had newspapers preaching doom and gloom and talking about the loss of a European place for Italy in future seasons, without considering the fact that the second legs are still to be played: “I think Inter, AC Milan and Roma will all reach the next round.”
Sampdoria Coach Domenico Di Carlo: I Hope Giampaolo Pazzini Doesn’t Score Against Us
Sampdoria coach Domenico Di Carlo believes his side will be fully motivated for the Sunday evening clash with Inter, as striker Giampaolo Pazzini takes on his former club for the first time since his winter move to San Siro.
“We are playing against the world champions, it is the maximum stimulus,” Di Carlo explained during a press conference.
“We have to find continuity. It will not be easy, but the team is trying to resolve the negative situation as soon as possible and achieve safety [from relegation].”
Regarding Pazzini’s return to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Di Carlo only hopes that the Italian international will not be at his best.
“To score, I hope he waits for next week,” joked the 46-year-old tactician.
Pazzini, with four goals in six appearances at Inter, has already revealed he would not celebrate if he were to score against the Blucerchiati.
Sampdoria currently reside in 14th place in the Serie A standings, eight points above the relegation zone, but have only won once in their last eight attempts.
Judging by the press conference by Sampdoria Coach Domenico Di Carlo it shows they are really worried about the threat of Pazzini, and so they should but then of course there’s Eto’o, Sneijder and a host of other threats in our team, plus given the fact they’ve won only once in eight games this should be a walk over for the Nerazzurri, so my prediction for tomorrow night is Sampdoria 1 – 2 Inter with Pazzini & Eto’o scoring our goals.
– Posted by The Nerazzurri Outlaw
Ibrahimovic joined Barcelona in a €70 million transfer from Inter in 2009 but was shipped out to AC Milan in a cut price deal after just one season.
The Sweden international blames Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola for his failure to shine at the Camp Nou and has spoken of his frustration at the way he was treated.
“At Barcelona I understood how football and things can change so fast… my problem was one man, the ‘philosopher’ [Guardiola],” Ibrahimovic told Eurogoals.
“The first six months were excellent. I never had any problems with anyone, there is no one who can say I did something wrong. But then something happened, even I don’t know what. I am still waiting for answers.”
Ibrahimovic then stuck the boot into Guardiola by highlighting the quality of his coach at Inter, Jose Mourinho, under whom he worked during his final season with the Nerazzurri.
“If you don’t have someone to motivate you then you don’t want to fight, this is why there are coaches,” he added.
“I would have killed for Jose Mourinho, for the motivation he gave me and for how he used to stimulate me. With the other [Guardiola] there was football, but a coach must adapt his play to suit the players, especially after spending €70 million on one.
“And if you have bought a player you don’t then leave him to watch the birds in the trees.”
On his time with Inter, he added: “I can’t speak badly of Inter because I spent fantastic moments there, but historically I believe that Milan are a more important club.
“When I arrived here a project was presented to me which wheels around me and I have been promised many things on which the club is working. It’s a project that is developing and I believe that next year will be the right year to fight on all fronts.”
I have to agree with Moratti, we did play well given we only had two strikers available, one of which is really out of form this season, no offence Pandev but I think we would have had a harder time with him on the pitch!
Do you think Inter can make a comeback in the second leg?
“Inter must score one goal more than they do, then either it goes to penalties or we have won. So it’s not impossible. To some extent it will depend on luck.”
We are definitely still in this game, there’s still at least 90 mins to go in this tie and Inter have come back from being behind plenty of times this season so I’m confident we can get the result in Germany
Compared with the Champions League final played in Madrid last May against Bayern Munich, did you miss Milito or Mourinho more?
“I was missing a centre forward who could give the team depth. Inter have had to change their game a little to suit this type of play. They expressed themselves well on the pitch and showed they could be dangerous, but it’s obvious that this was a good opportunity.”
As much we all miss Mourinho we have to agree that Leonardo is doing a great job for us, but I have to agree with Moratti we needed another striker up front with Eto’o. There were a few times during the game where Eto’o looked stranded up front alone. But at least this is only a temporary problem as we have got quality strikers it was just unfortunate that Pazzini is cup tied and Milito is injured.
If you had to criticise Inter last night, what didn’t you like?
“I haven’t had time to analyse it yet, but I must say that we were all disappointed with the result, though not with how the team played.”
The team played very well given the situation, it wasn’t an easy game but we held our own, we were just unlucky to concede the last minute goal
Did you like the team that Leonardo picked?
“It was the right team to play, I wouldn’t have chosen a different line-up.”
In my opinion he was right to choose that team, as I said before if he had put Pandev up front with Eto’o it wouldn’t have helped with him being so out of form
On Sunday evening Inter take on Sampdoria and can’t let up, especially because AC Milan have to play Napoli…
“For one day we’ll think about yesterday’s defeat, even if it won’t be easy. Against Sampdoria we’ll have a striker like Pazzini and then we’ll see.”
We need a win against Sampdoria to keep the pressure on Milan but we need some luck to get a draw in the Milan v Napoli game
Yesterday Julio Cesar seemed a bit unsure of himself.
“He’s a goalkeeper who has worked miracles for us in goal, every now and again you can make a mistake. It isn’t a serious problem.”
Following the three defeats suffered by Inter, AC Milan and Roma do you think the state of Italian football can be defined as worrying, or are these three isolated events?
“We are talking about three different teams who played against different opponents, none of whom were easy. Whenever we lose everyone is crying doom and gloom, then, when we win, we are the best in the world. If we didn’t take things to heart so much we might be able to move ahead more efficiently.”
How can anyone say the state of Italian football is worrying? Inter won 5 trophies last season a feat that only a handful of clubs in the world have achieved! If that’s something to worry about i think it’s time for football to call it a day. No team in the world can win every single game they play it’s just not possible especially in European competitions
– Posted by The Nerazzurri Outlaw
Following Andrea Ranocchia’s injury in the second half of Inter v Bayern Munich, the Nerazzurri medical staff led by professor Franco Combi, decided, in the wake of the match, to carry out tests on the player.
As I’m no doctor I thought I’d look this up to explain it for you all but unfortunately everything I could find about it made as much sense to me as advanced physics so that’s out of the window, so here’s a picture that shows where this ligament is!
It’s not good that he’ll be out of action for a while as he has been getting better and better in recent games, but on the bright side at least Lucio is back in the squad to keep some strength in our central defence
– Posted by The Nerazzurri Outlaw
Inter 0-1 Bayern Munich
Scorer: 90 Gomez
Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia (14 Kharja, 74), 26 Chivu; 4 Zanetti, 8 Thiago Motta, 19 Cambiasso; 5 Stankovic, 10 Sneijder; 9 Eto’o.
Subs: 12 Castellazzi, 17 Mariga, 23 Materazzi, 27 Pandev, 55 Nagatomo, 29 Coutinho,
Bayern Monaco: 35 Kraft; 21 Lahm, 44 Tymoshchuk, 28 Badstuber, 23 Pranjic (2 Breno, 38); 30 Gustavo, 31 Schweinsteiger; 10 Robben, 25 Mueller, 7 Ribery; 33 Gomez.
Subs: 1 Butt, 5 Van Buyten,16 Ottl, 8 Altintop, 39 Kroos, 18 Klose.
Coach: Luis Van Gaal.
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
For Nerazzurri fans the words ‘Inter’ and ‘Bayern’ in the same sentence bring back memories of Madrid on that special night – one of triumph, of joy, of tears; a night Inter fans had awaited for many years and will always be close to the hearts of all Interista for the rest of our lives. But that’s all history. Now the Nerazzurri once again needed to show they are contenders for the title again and produce the goods when it really matters. It wasn’t to be this time though as the joy is Bayern Munich’s, after the German side won the first leg of the 2010/11 Champions League round-of-16 clash by a single goal. In the 89th minute Gomez ruined what had been a close game after Inter had gone very close on several occasions. All is not lost yet, though. The tie continues on 15 March at the Allianza Arena.
On his Champions League debut in the Inter dugout, Leonardo fielded a 4-3-2-1 formation with Stankovic and Sneijder in support of Eto’o. The game was just a minute old when the Nerazzurri were given a freekick for a foul on Eto’o; Sneijder picked out Ranocchia in the box and the defender hooked a right-footed volley just wide of Kraft’s left-hand upright. Bayern were in the game as well and the Inter defence had to be on their toes in the 12th minute: first Lucio blocked Ribery’s shot, then Ranocchia defended well to keep out Mueller. In the 18th minute Maicon hit a great cross towards Stankovic but Kraft came out to scoop the ball away from the Serbian’s head, while back down the other end, on 20 minutes, Gustavo struck a vicious long-range shot inches wide. Inter then had a decent penalty shout as Tymoshchuk appeared to bring down Eto’o in the box, but the referee saw nothing wrong. The Cameroonian wasn’t to be discouraged, though, and he looked dangerous every time he got the ball. After 23 minutes he did extremely well to set up Cambiasso in front of goal, but the Argentinian’s shot from a wide angle was blocked by the keeper. A minute later Robben crossed for Ribery, whose header struck the bar. Gomez had another good chance to give the Germans the lead on 29 minutes when he connected with Lahm’s low cross, but he skied his effort. Inter went close themselves in the 33rd minute, with Eto’o again involved: Lucio’s first-time cross was picked up in the centre by Inter’s top scorer, who managed to find space for himself despite the attentions of two defenders and get a low shot in; Kraft showed quick reflexes to get down and push clear. On 37 minutes Maicon sent Eto’o away towards goal, but Badstuber was back to block with a sliding challenge. With a minute of first-half stoppage time already signalled, Maicon burst through the Bayern back line and smashed a rising angled drive just wide. The sides went into the break after a goalless first 45 minutes.
No changes were made during the break and Bayern were soon looking dangerous again, as Robben’s curled cross was flicked just wide by Mueller. Seven minutes into the half Ribery began a splendid move for the Bavarian side, which ended with Robben’s diagonal run and shot against the outside of the post. In the 57th minute Inter had perhaps their best chance to take the lead: Maicon’s cross was chested and neatly controlled by Eto’o, who unleashed a half-volley at Kraft; the rebound fell to Cambiasso but he could only direct his effort over the bar. That prompted an immediate response from Bayern as Robben went on another jinking run before rifling over the bar. Ranocchia was forced to leave the pitch on a stretcher after 73 minutes, having gone to the ground with a knee problem. He was replaced by Kharja and the Moroccan almost made an instant impact: his angled shot was kept out by Kraft and the ball rolled across the goal but there was no black-and-blue shirt on hand to poke home. Lahm made a risky sliding tackle on Eto’o in the 82nd minute, though it was deemed fair by the Hungarian referee and only a corner was awarded. From another corner, with 5 minutes of normal time remaining, Sneijder found Thiago Motta, whose powerful header was kept out by Kraft on the line. The Nerazzurri went close again in the 88th minute when Eto’o fired goalwards through a crowd, the ball taking a deflection and going just wide. As Inter seemed be turning the screw and about to score, Bayern grabbed a winner: Robben’s bouncing left-footed drive was saved by Julio Cesar but Gomez swooped on the rebound to stab home from a few yards out. It felt like an ice-cold shower for Inter, who had matched the Germans blow for blow and gone mightily close thorugh Eto’o and Cambiasso. After two minutes of added time, Kassai called a quick end to a painful finale.
All in all Inter played well and gave as good as they got, but for me it showed that for all Eto’os talent Inter play more dangerously when they play with two strikers, I can’t help but wonder if things would have been different if Pazzini had been eligible to play this match? Anyway now Inters Champions League chances rest on the return leg in March and we know the Nerazzurri will fight with all their might to stay in the competition and defend their title.
“We didn’t deserve to lose this one. We conceded a goal that came right out of the blue. A nil-all draw would have been a fairer result considering the chances they had and the chances we had,” was Leonardo’s comment at the end of the tie with Bayern Munich.
“We were very unlucky. It wasn’t easy playing with only one centre-forward and yet the team played some decent football and showed good movement. We don’t need to pull off a miracle; we only need to win 1-0. We can win 1-0 out there and have every chance of getting through. If we head to Munich with confidence, I don’t see why we can’t get a good result. Ranocchia? We’ll have to see; let’s hope it’s nothing serious.”
“The final score hurts and it’s a huge shame because I think we showed how much we wanted to win this game and how important the Champions League still is to us.”
For now though Inters attention returns to the league and their next game on Sunday against Sampdoria.
– Posted by The Nerazzurri Outlaw
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