Inters week 28 5-2 victory over Genoa marks the seventh victory of Leonardo’s Nerazzurri era, and just proves that Inter are very dangerous in front of goal and they are more than capable of taking all the titles again this season, we just need to stay focused on our targets and not get complacent.
First half –
After a minute’s silence dedicated to the memory of Massimo Ranzani, the Alpino regiment soldier who died in Afghanistan a few days ago and the game kicked off. The Genoa lineup was without Criscito, Veloso and Floro Flores who were disqualified, as well as coach Ballardini, and Mattia Destro was out of the Genoa side because of injury. Paloschi and Palacio were given the task of leading the attack. Inter started the game well and on five minutes Lucio teed up Sneijder’s right-footed effort but he was in an offside posititon. The same thing happened to Eto’o minutes later as he was alone with only the Genoa keeper, Eduardo, to beat after being put through by Maicon (on 10 minutes). He came into contact with Moretti in the 16th minute and was stopped in front of goal, but agreed that the tackle was clean. In the 22nd minute Stankovic had another go, but his shot from the edge of the box went wide. Then in the 26th minute Inter wasted a golden opportunity. Sneijder hit a long ball to Eto’o, who dribbled three opponents and aimed a left-footed effort across goal. The ball ran along the whole length of the goalmouth, but Pazzini wasn’t able to make contact as it passed everyone and rolled out the other side, The former Genoa player tried a header on 29 minutes from an Eto’o cross but fouled Moretti in the process. In the 35th minute Eto’o retreived the ball after a one-two and shot right-footed at goal, but Eduardo was ready for him and saved. Two minutes later, Genoa responded with a cross from Konko for Paloschi and his shot hit the side-netting. In the 40th minute came the goal. Palacio scored from an assist by Konko, once again, hitting the ball hard and low into the bottom corner to beat Julio Cesar: 0-1 to Genoa. In the 43rd minute Eto’o tried to place the ball on Pazzini’s head but Eduardo came out to stop the move. On 45 minutes exactly, Russo whistled to bring the first half to an close with the score at 0-1 to Genoa. By now it was looking like another one of them games where no matter what Inter did the ball just wasn’t going in the net.
Second half –
The second half got off to a start with Pandev on the pitch instead of Stankovic, and it was Kaladze’s foul on the Macedonian which gave away a free-kick to the Nerazzurri from 23 metres out. Sneijder took it, Eduardo saved by turning the ball around the post for a corner. Inter drew level in the 50th minute when Pazzini followed up passes between Eto’o and Maicon to blast an unstoppable ball into the top of the net from the right. Sixty seconds later and Eto’o struck again. Pandev shot from outside the box, Eduardo blocked it with his knees but lost control of the ball which fell for Samuel who put it away confidently to make the score 2-1. But today Eto’o has super powers. from just outside the box, the man from Cameroon physically beat Mesto and took the ball off him, then he dribbled past Kaladze, and headed at speed for goal, nutmegging Eduardo. Pazzini’s goal and two from Eto’o brought the score to: Inter 3 -1 Genoa. which would have been a fantastic result for us but the game was far from over! In the 65th minute Genoa bared their fangs and looked dangerous, with Mesto, whose right-footed shot from outside the box scraped the paintwork of Julio Cesar’s right post without taking a deflection. But Inter didn’t relax and Pandev, on 68 minutes missed goal number four, not once, but twice, having to surrender to Eduardo first of all and then to Dainelli. The Macedonian kept on trying though, and his determination was rewarded in the 71st minute with some assistance from Eto’o and Sneijder. Kharja and Nagatomo were brought on in the 75th and 78th minute respectively for Pazzini and Ranocchia. Pandev scored, as did Yuto Nagatomo for the first time in an Inter shirt, when in the 84th minute, he met a ball which Maicon had crossed and Kharja passed on and spun to hit the Eduardo’s net just behing the bar. Boselli’s goal in the 90th minute, from Palacio’s cross ended the scoring. There was no injury time and referee Russo’s whistle confirmed the Nerazzurri’s second place in the league with 56 points.
INTER 5-2 GENOA
Scorers: 40 Palacio, 50 Pazzini, 51 and 57 Eto’o, 71 Pandev, 84 Nagatomo, 90 Boselli.
What a result for Inter, with Pazzini & Eto’o showing that we have got what is probably the strongest strike partnership in the world. After what has been a bad season for Pandev hopefully his 2nd goal of the season will give him the boost he needs to get back to form and Nagatomo’s first Inter goal is exactly what our promising defender deserves and I would have thought making him a permanent Nerazzurri player in the summer will be a top priority as he has proved himself already to be a very good player in a position Inter have struggled in recent years to fill. From what i’ve seen of him so far he has the potential to do as a left wing back what Maicon does on the right which adds yet another attacking angle for us!
Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia (78 55 Nagatomo), 26 Chivu; 4 Zanetti, 8 Thiago Motta, 5 Stankovic (46 27 Pandev); 10 Sneijder; 7 Pazzini (75 14 Kharja), 9 Eto’o.
Subs not used: 12 Castellazzi, 17 Mariga, 23 Materazzi, 29 Coutinho.
Genoa: 1 Eduardo; 20 Mesto, 3 Dainelli, 13 Kaladze (73 2 Chico), 24 Moretti; 7 Rossi, 5 Konko (74 23 Antonelli), 33 Kucka, 18 Rafinha; 8 Palacio, 43 Paloschi (74 9 Boselli).
Subs not used 73 Scarpi, 35 Polenta, 71 Jankovic, 77 Milanetto.
Coach: Davide Ballardini.
Referee: Carmine Russo from Nola.
Bookings. 47 Kaladze;
Added time: 0-0 Spectators: 56.322
“There were no magic words said during the break,” claimed the Nerazzurri coach, referring to the way the players stormed out of the dressing room and into the second half. “We just knew that we had played below our potential in the first half. We were slow, unable to build moves and conceded too much space but then we responded. If we score most of our goals in the second half it’s also because we’re in good shape physically and mentally. Today I saw a demonstration of great strength, pride and determination – we were aware we had been poor. There’s great harmony within the group, a sense of involvement in a team venture, which is to give it our best shot to achieve something important. This side is in good shape and capable of clearing all the obstacles.”
It is clear with performances like this that Inter can defeat any opponent but as has always been the case they only seem to play like true champions when their self confidence is high, they just need to work on keeping that confidence all the time.
“Pandev’s goal? Goran had played in lots of different positions, adapting to the way the team was playing and often that can be difficult, but the goal came for him today and he managed to have the sort of impact he’s capable of. He deserves to be scoring goals – it meant a lot to him and to the rest of us.”
Last season Pandev proved his worth to the team he’s just been unlucky this season, but as good as he is he’ll always be 4th choice behind Eto’o, Pazzini & Milito in my opinion.
“I think Inter are getting better: we had to go up a few gears and we put everything we had into achieving that. We showed a lot of conviction after the restart. We’re entering the final straight and we’re still in the race.”
If we continue to play like we did in the second half against Genoa there is no reason why with a little bit of luck we can’t claim our 19th title and steal it away from Milan.
“Eto’o? He’s having an incredible season but that’s nothing new: it’s amazing how often he steps up to take responsibility when you need him. He’s magnificent.”
I think it’s safe to say Eto’o is the greatest striker to play in an Inter shirt, i’d even say he’s the best the world has ever seen, with his eye for an oppertunity on goal and his fantastic temperament and talent no other striker comes close.
“Nagatomo? When he came here he had to prove himself in the eyes of a lot of people but he’s already shown he’s good enough to be part of this group and to play for Inter.”
As i said earlier in this post i truely believe Nagatomo has the potential to be one of the best in his position and he has already shown himself to be loyal and hard working, i can see this guy being an important part of the Inter squad for quite a while.
“AC Milan’s win? A victory by an on-form side, a solid team; if they’re top of the league it’s not by chance. And speaking of AC Milan, I’d like to point out that I wasn’t alluding to my past at the club yesterday when i said I would speak to the president about the line-up: it was just a joke.”
Leonardo then added that “the league is wide open. The derby is always special and it will be a great match, but it’s not only about the derby – there are ten games to play.”
Alot can happen in ten games with 30 points available so this season is no where near decided yet!
It was pointed out that the Nerazzurri coach had beaten Fabio Capello’s record for the number of points obtained by a coach in his first 13 league games at a club, the Brazilian now having 33 points while Capello, at the helm of Juventus in 2004/05, reached 32. “Comparing me and Capello,” Leonardo replied, “is inappropriate, illogical. He is the master for me. Come on, please, you can’t make comparisons. Capello brought me to Italy, he was the one who really wanted me. He’s a very important figure for me and I have a lot of gratitude for him. He helped me a lot. Of course it’s a nice record to have but you can’t place me alongside Capello.”
“Did I do a Mourinho during the interval? I have my own way,” the coach explained. “There’s no need to do a Mourinho or a Capello: imitating others is more difficult than being yourself. The team knew they had underperformed in the first half; there was no need to say anything.”
With the start Leonardo has had with the Nerazzurri it is safe to say he has a very bright future at the helm of Inter. If you think what he’s acheived since January it should be exciting to see what he’ll be able to do in a full season with us next season. Whatever happens at the end of the season i have nothing but praise for Leonardo for the way he resureccted Inter after the farce that happened with Benitez in charge.
“We had a great response after a poor first half. We showed how good we can be and how determined we were to win this game.” Javier Zanetti was the first player to speak to Inter Channel after the team’s impressive comeback win over Genoa. “I’m always very confident because I have a lot of faith in my team-mates, the gaffer and everyone else who helps us prepare for each game during the week. Then of course, things can turn out well or not so well but I never lose that faith in my team-mates.”
Inter turned the game around completely in the second half, as the Nerazzurri skipper explained: “Not much needed to be said during the interval. We knew we had to redress the balance and we showed we were capable of doing that. It’s not the first time that has happened, we did it in Palermo too. As I said, I have complete faith in my team-mates’ determination to win.”
Yuto Nagatomo netted his first goal in Nerazzurri colours while Goran Pandev was also back among the scorers. Asked about the goal celebration with Nagatomo, the captain replied: “No, we hadn’t prepared it beforehand, but I knew that was a sign of respect in Japan and we greet each other like that every day when he arrives at the training ground. Goran, besides his goal, played superbly in the second half: he worked hard for the team and showed that we can still count on him, and we’ll always be able to.”
“It was vital that we won this match: we were slow at the start and couldn’t really get our game together, but in the dressing room at half time we said to ourselves that the game hadn’t started yet. Leonardo told us we hadn’t been on the pitch and that if we wanted to win we had to go out there and do things properly. And that’s what we did. I’m happy for myself and for the team. It was an important win that shows we’re in it and ready to battle to the end.”
I found Pazzini disappointing last week against Sampdoria but this week like every other week previous he proved himself to be a world class striker that’s always hungry for goals, like Nagatomo he has really impressed me with his talent and dedication to Inter in his short time at the club and is a vital part to keep our team at the top of the pile in world football.
It was Yuto Nagatomo’s first goal in Nerazzurri colours. Visibly emotional, he spoke to Inter Channel about the match in which he played a major part: “How’s my Italian? It’s getting better, little by little.” Unlike his performances on the field, which are also improving, but very quickly indeed – confirmation that the club knows how to make the right signings. “I’m so happy,” Nagatomo said. “I’m the one who has to thank Inter, for everything they have given me in this period and for making me feel so much at home. I also want to thank the fans because my role is essentially a defensive one and I shouldn’t normally be going up to score goals, so what happened today is a present that I received and that I would like to give to my fans.”The hug with Leonardo after the Japanese star had made it 5-1 was one of the most touching scenes of the Inter v Genoa match: “He is a great coach,” Nagatomo concluded, “and I wanted to thank him for everything he has done for me since I arrived in Milan by sharing my joy with him.”
I’ve raved about Nagatomo all the way through this post but that is just a reflection of how impressed i’ve been with him since he joined Inter and how he seems to have added an amazing spark down the left side which has been lacking previously, and with Inter making signings like Nagatomo, Pazzini and even Eto’o a couple of seasons ago i feel it’s safe to say that Inter are up there with the best and will not be returning the the dark days of the 90’s any time soon.
With another great victory under their belts attention turns to Brescia on Friday 11th March with training resuming on Tuesday.
– Posted by UK Interista