Sampdoria 0-2 Inter match report and reactions
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