Olympiacos 2-2 Inter: ‘Pazzini’ comeback saves Nerazzurri embarrassment
The last pre season friendly of summer 2011 ended in a 2-2 draw for Gasperini’s team against Greek side Olympiacos, and even though Inter had to come back from two behind there was still many positives for the Italians, the first half for example saw Gasperini’s plans starting to take shape with excellent build up play and creation of chances, they also showed the flexibility of the squad with changes in formation from 3-4-3 to 4-3-3. The second half started badly with bad defending giving away the first goal for the 10 man Greek team from a dead ball situation then later a bad clearance from Ranocchia gifted them a second. Though the Nerazzurri fought hard and Pazzini managed to pull off a brace to save the day and finish the game as a draw.
Highlight video via ROARINTER
Inter took to the pitch in their stunning new away shirt for the first time in the friendly match against Olympiacos. Zanetti once again took up his position in the back defensive line alongside Samuel and Chivu. The 3 man attacking line was made up of Castaignos on the left Milito in the center and Alvarez on the right in Gasperini’s favoured 3-4-3 formation. The Greek champions Olympiacos lined up with their preferred 4-2-3-1. Gasperini’s plan of pressing for the ball followed by fast counter attacking play both through the center and up the flanks created Inter’s first chance after just 3 minutes when Cambiasso played a diagonal ball to Milito, 14 seconds later Cambiasso claimed the ball back high up the pitch to pass it again to Milito who then combined well with Alvarez who was unfortunately cut out by the opponents.
It took just 5 minutes for Inter’s formation to change to a 4 man defence with Zanetti moving to left back while Jonathan dropped back to cover right back with the option of pushing forward, this switch was dictated by Olympiacos’ tactics of playing their forwards out wide. The Greek’s chance for a goal came when Modesto managed a high header from a free kick given away by Inter. The 16th minute saw a quick triangular play from Inter put Castaignos in to the box only to be stopped by Costanzo. 5 minutes later Inter launched another fast attack when Obi won the ball and released Alvarez who cut inside and fired a left footed shot that was blocked. Leading Inter’s attack Milito was showing good movement when Motta’s through ball put him in on goal in the 25th minute, then Mellberg fouled Obi who was pressuring him superbly resulting in his second yellow card of the match and an early bath for the Olympiacos defender. With more players now on the pitch than the opposition Gasperini decided to switch back to the 3-4-3 that we started the game with, and 9 minutes later a beautiful combination involving Motta, Milito and Alvarez resulted in a clear chance for Inter but unfortunately Ricky’s shot just wasn’t quite good enough.
The chances for Inter just kept on coming with Alvarez and Jonathan running the right flank, Inter’s new boy Jonathan particularly inpressing with his running, endurance and depth of play. One cross from the right on the 39th minute saw Milito head the ball just wide and then again a minute later another cross met Motta’s head to climb harmlessly over the crossbar, so despite having 11 men compared to Olympiacos’ 10 we reached half time at 0-0.
The second half started badly for Inter with two free kicks for Olympiacos in a row and it was on the second of these that Feisa managed to slip past the Nerazzurri defence at the near post and put the 10 man Greeks ahead, this was a major error for Inter as they had come back on for this half in a 4-4-2- formation with Pandev and Pazzini joining the action. Inter responded with an off target shot for Chivu and a goal from Pandev that was disallowed for a controversial offside decision, which then led to the Greeks having another counterattack that could’ve proven costly, the goal seemed to have shocked Inter who were taking their time to recover but in the 63rd minute just before he was substituted, Castaignos tried a cross shot that just failed to follow the right angle. Another dubious off side call on 65 minutes as Pazzini connected with a pass from Obi and Milito saw another shot go wide after being set up by Motta.
Then the unthinkable happened and Olympiacos doubled their lead on 68 minutes after a quick counter attack down the right side which was stopped by Ranocchia who then while trying to clear it passed it straight to Modesto on the edge of the box for him to slot past Julio Cesar to make it 2-0. This spurred Gasperini to introduce Santon and not long afterward Faraoni with a bit more of a change on the formation. Faraoni’s first ball was a lovely low cross from the young fullback up to Pazzini who timed his run perfectly and slotted home the ball at the near post to make it 2-1. Just one minute later ‘Pazzo’ nearly got his second when he got a glancing header on the ball but it went straight to the keepers arms. Inter then uped the ante as they searched for the equaliser while the Greeks did everything they could to hold their lead, but in the 89th minute Cambiasso had a stab from a cornerkick but it was Pazzini againwho powered it home from the 6 yard box to end the match 2-2.
Olympiacos 2-2 Inter (HT: 0-0)
17 Costanzo; 3 Modesto, 21 Papadopoulos (6 Papazoglou, 56), 4 Mellberg, 23 Marcano; 8 Feisa (Potouridis, 76), 22 Hurtado; 19 Fuster (2 Maniatis, 46), 33 Yeste (20 Holebas, 46), 18 Fetfatzidis (Javito, 56); 14 Mirallas (9 Pantelic, 63).
Subs: 42 Megyeri; 29 Gorbic, 27 Katai, 81 Valerianos.
Coach: Ernesto Valverde.
1 Julio Cesar; 4 Zanetti, 25 Samuel (23 Ranocchia, 51), 26 Chivu (37 Faraoni, 74); 42 Jonathan (27 Pandev, 46), 8 Thiago Motta, 19 Cambiasso (Criseting, 91), 20 Obi; 11 Alvarez (7 Pazzini, 46), 22 Milito, 30 Castaignos (39 Santon, 64).
Subs: 12 Castellazzi, 21 Orlandoni; 16 Caldirola.
Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini.
Referee: Ludovic Gremaud (Geneva), Kurnazca, Bregy.
Scorers: Feisa 46, Modesto 68, Pazzini 76, 89.
Sent off: Melberg (27, two yellow cards).
Booked: Samuel; Melberg, Modesto.
Gian Piero Gasperini
“I saw conflicting things: the first half was definitely good then after the interval we made life difficult for ourselves. We were a man up but we made a mess of the goal and from then the game was uphill.”
He then continued to say;
“We still have work to do, but I repeat: today I saw some very positive things and also a slump after the break. There’s also the fact that we’re trying to give playing time to lots of our youngsters, so the team is being changed around a bit, but we must always start afresh with the good things we’ve done.”
“It was a good test that gave us some positive feedback even though it was tough playing football in this heat. We need time to get to know each other better and to get to grips with what the coach is asking of us. In training we have to try and understand what he wants us players to do.”
He then spoke about Samuel Eto’os imminent transfer away from Inter
“He’s a player who has helped us a lot in the last couple of years, his transfer hasn’t been made official yet but in Inter’s history there have been lots of great champions who have moved on to other things and afterwards Inter was still Inter – that’s all that matters. Two years ago we lost a player who wasn’t half bad and I think I remember us doing quite well the season after that…”
“I’m pleased because when you hit the back of the net it’s always a boost for your confidence and morale. The game wasn’t going our way today and even though it was only a friendly, we never like losing at Inter. We’re still hungry and we want to do well.”
“It’s understandable that we’re not at our best yet,”
the Nerazzurri striker explained.
“There have been lots of changes and of course there’s still work to do, but we’re giving it our all, we’re knuckling down and we’ll be ready for the matches that lie ahead.”
He was then ask who will start in the game against Lecce, Pazzini or Milito?
“I don’t know, we’d have to ask Gasperini that. Obviously I’ve been training since the start of pre-season in Pinzolo to be ready for this game so I hope to start.”
So that’s the end of the 2011 summer pre season for Inter and we have shown some promising points over the last few matches but we still need to work on not letting in stupid goals which was our problem last season and it should really be addressed before we go up against tougher opponents in the league and the Champions league, but first next Sunday see’s our first league match of the season at home to Lecce which should be a nice easy start for the Nerazzurri. Why not show your support for Inter and watch the game live at the Guiseppe Meazza with tickets from just 22 Euros each, just click the link below