Serie A: Inter 0-3 Napoli, Biased Ref destroys an amazing game

Where to start? The match started to a rocking Stadio Meazza with the Curva Nord chants bouncing around the stadium echoing the confidence shared by Interisti everywhere that although this was going to be a tough match we knew we could get the required result against a team that are looking like strong title contenders.  But any hope of this started crumbling as a series of dubious refereeing decisions in the first half put an end to any chance Inter may have had to gain a crucial three points in what is turning in to a nightmare season for us. 

Words can’t really do justice to how bad things got for the Nerazzurri in the second half as without guidance from Ranieri who was sent off during the half time interval their whole game plan and confidence just disintegrated leaving Napoli to take advantage of our disarray and stomp home to a convincing 0-3 win.

First Half – 

 The match started with Inter playing a familiar four man defence consisting of Maicon on the right (making his season league debut after injury), Lucio, Samuel in the center and Chivu out on the left, personally I would have had Nagatomo starting instead of  the Romanian but what do I know?  Milito of course was in the stands with his calf injury but I was happy to see that Pazzini had recovered enough to pair up with Forlan up front.  Both sides from the start looked lively and hungry for goals and immediately from the kick off Inter were looking dangerous with Maicon doing what he does best and running the right-wing before sending in a low cross with the intention of finding Pazzini who didn’t quite make it in time.

Shortly after Maicon was on the attack again only to get stopped by Gargano in the box with Maicon claiming for a penalty which was turned down by Rocchi, which in hindsight was to fit in with later decisions by the Referee.  The pace of the game continued when a minute later Ricky Alvarez sent a fantastic shot goalbound from outside the box to see it just miss the target.  Inter were doing a fantastic job of holding Napoli in their own half and were looking the more dangerous side by far.

On the ten minute mark the real controversy started when Obi came infield and fantastically took the ball away from Lavezzi only for Rocchi to stop the game and give Obi a ridiculous yellow card for something that wasn’t even a foul.  Forlan class was shown when he cut inside and curled a right footed shot that just went wide of the post, a couple of minutes later Pazzini also went close as he connected with Maicon’s ball but he was denied as Campagnaro stopped the shot.

Zuniga had Napoli’s first chance when he rose above Maicon who hardly made the effort to jump on the far post but luckily for Inter the header went wide.  From this point Napoli seemed to start to get back in to the game and on the 21st minute Alvarez fouled Zuniga resulting in a free kick which Inler blasted over.  The 24th minute saw captain Zanetti make a surge forward unleashing a great shot that De Sanctis pushed away straight to Pazzini who put the ball away in the back of the net only to realise halfway through his celebration that he’d been called offside, it was a close call but unfortunately it was a right call.

Lavezzi made a storming run down the left flank during the 34th minute and then went down outside the box as Zanetti seemed to clip his heel but the Ref decided that El Pocho went down too easily and waved the play on.   Nearly five minutes later came my favourite part of the whole match when Lavezzi picked out Pandev in the box only to see the ex Inter man stumble over the ball in a comedy fashion knocking the ball out for a goal kick.  This was the best proof ever that getting rid of  the clumsy striker was a great move for the Nerazzurri.

A few minutes before half time came the decision that has caused major controversy,  Obi chasing Maggio down the right flank was judged by Rocchi to have brought the Napoli man down as he entered the box, leading to Obi’s second yellow card and his dismissal.  Even though the contact clearly happened outside the box Rocchi gave Napoli a penalty which was taken by Hamsik but saved by Julio Cesar who pushed it away straight into the path of Campagnaro who put it in to the back of the net, though in reality the penalty should have been retook as even before Hamsik took the spot kick Campagnaro had entered the area.  So Inter were not only down to 0-1 but also down to 10 men as Rocchi’s earlier wrongly issued yellow card for Obi came back to haunt the Nerazzurri.  The Inter players were fuming as were the fans and Zanetti and Julio Cesar both received yellow cards for dissent and Cesar was lucky not to see red as he got up in the referee’s face while his team mates including Zanetti stood by instead of trying to calm down the situation, for this I feel our captain let our side down as it’s his job to make sure the squad keep their heads.  This wasn’t the end of the controversy though, as when the teams were returning to the dressing rooms Ranieri demanded an explanation from Rocchi over his decisions int he first half but instead of an explanation all the Inter coach got was a red card and banishment to the stands for the second half.


The second half began as the first half ended with the Inter squad in complete disarray and the whole set up of the home team seemed to have fallen apart, this became more than apparent as Napoli doubled their lead as Mascara, who came on for the useless Pandev in  the 51st minute, played a ball over the top of the defence for Maggio who managed to just get in front of Nagatomo and managed to lob the ball over the on rushing Julio Cesar.  Nagatomo came on at the end of the first half to replace Chivu who seemed to be carrying an injury and many people are blaming him for Napoli’s second goal but for me Julio Cesar was more to blame for rushing to far forward and besides Yuto was the only Inter defender that was trying to do something about the threat of Mascara’s ball over the top.  After the game Nagatomo apologised to the Inter fans and was quoted as saying “I’m really sorry for the second goal. Julio Cesar and I misunderstood each other.” 

In the 58th minute Lucio showed why he’s still considered one of the best defenders in the world as he flew in with an aggressive but precise sliding tackle to prevent Zuniga from getting into the box, the tension of the match now was starting to show, and shortly after Baresi decided to replace Alvarez with the more experienced Stankovic to try to calm down the increasingly erratic Inter squad, though on the 65th minute the visitors nearly made it 0-3 when Hamsik’s low ball picked out Zuniga in front of an open goal, but some how the Columbian managed to send his shot over the bar.  From the goal kick Nagatomo took the ball up to the other end where he found Pazzini but De Sanctis was ready for him and took the ball off his feet.

Inter’s final substitution came at 68 minutes when Forlan who didn’t have a lot of influence in the game was replaced by Zarate, this probably wasn’t the best choice in hindsight as for the rest of the game Zarate seemed to be doing everything he could to avoid the ball showing that he couldn’t handle the pressure involved in this match.  Napoli got their third goal when Lavezzi sent a though ball past the Nerazzurri rear guard to Hamsik who was being kept onside by Cambiasso leaving him the fairly simple job of just slotting home the ball.  This final goal took all the wind out of Inter’s sails and as the fans left the stadium early the Nerazzurri looked like they’d completely given up, we did get one more chance though as Pazzini’s headed chance from a Maicon cross went close during stoppage time but time, circumstances and the Ref were against us and the game ended 0-3 leaving Inter still on a pitiful four points and well down the table.

 Inter 0-3 Napoli (HT: 0-1)
Scorers: Campagnaro 43, Maggio 56, Hamsik 75.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Florence)

Booked: Obi 10 and 40, Chivu 37, Zanetti 44, Julio Cesar 45+1.
Sent off: Obi 41, Ranieri 45+1.
Added time: 1+2 minutes.
Attendance: 64,824.

Line ups


1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 26 Chivu (Nagatomo 43); 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 20 Obi; 11 Alvarez (Stankovic 61); 9 Forlan (Zarate 68), 7 Pazzini.
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 29 Coutinho, 30 Castaignos, 77 Muntari.
Coach: Claudio Ranieri.




1 De Sanctis; 14 Campagnaro, 28 Cannavaro, 6 Aronica (Fernandez 87); 11 Maggio, 88 Inler, 23 Gargano, 18 Zuniga; 17 Hamsik, 22 Lavezzi (Chavez 79) 29 Pandev (Mascara 51)
Unused subs: 83 Rosati, 3 Fideleff, 8 Dossena,19 Santana.
Coach: Walter Mazzarri.




What started as one of the most entertaining matches I’ve seen for a long time descended in to chaos by the end of the first half all down to really biased decisions made by the referee Rocchi, I wouldn’t want to be the one to make scandalous accusations but if ever a match looked fixed it would be this one, I appreciate sometimes refereeing decisions go against your team but there was no way anyone could say that this match was just unlucky for Inter.  It was so obvious even Ranieri and Moratti have gone public with their opinions of this referee.


“It was a match that was influenced by the referee. The first half was lovely, then the bookings arrived for Obi for a first foul, when he was clearly on the ball, and for one judged to be a penalty even though it was outside the box. The referee ruined a lovely match, and it’s as simple as that. It’s a shame because it wasn’t necessary; these lads were giving so much and he got everything wrong that he possibly could have. He sent me off because he said I protested too vehemently, and I said that for me he had got it all wrong.”  

The Nerazzurri coach continued:

“I don’t have to review any incident. I have the experience to know whether or not the referee is in control of the match. Today ours was not, and I believe that the referee can be criticised; he unfairly sent me off, just as he did with Obi. He was wrong.”

Massimo Moratti

“I’m not disappointed in the least, because it seemed to me that the team played very well. Quite the contrary, they gave me a lot of hope, almost a certainty that we’ll have a lovely season, both individually and as a team. Angry… Well, angry… It’s disappointing for the level of refereeing, which was so poor, stubbornly poor, in the sense that the poverty of it lasted for ninety minutes.”

Moratti then went on to give his view on Ranieri’s sending off

“He didn’t even have the courage to send him off when he was on the pitch, but sent someone to tell him. I think that it’s annoying to work so hard and then come up against someone who is just not up to the task. It did serious damage to the club, and I hope they do something. Or I hope I don’t find myself in front of him again because, quite sincerely, it wasn’t very pleasant, and he is someone who damaged me, and us, very much. He was terrible today, terrible.”

The President then concluded:

“Napoli, for me, are a lovely team. They are not at fault for what happened because they played their game and did it well. But we cannot say if Napoli deserved to win because it was a game that at a certain point, stupidly – very stupidly – was ruined. It could have been one of the best games we have ever seen at the stadium. Did I see Braschi after the match? No, I didn’t see anyone.”

As much as I do believe that it was the refereeing decisions that ruined the game for us in the first half he can’t be held totally responsible as Inter’s reaction in the second half was terrible, instead of  pulling together and staying as a strong unit they just fell apart making a bad situation even worse.  The plus side of the game was that for the first half hour Inter were looking very impressive and it was great to see Maicon back and seeming to be back to his old form with great runs up the right and supplying great crosses for our forwards and always looking for openings, the downside though was that he didn’t at all look committed when in defensive positions sometimes not even bothering to jump for what should have been easy balls.  The other big disappointment for me was captain Zanetti who more than once seemed to lose his cool resulting in his yellow card but for me the most disappointing thing was his apparent lack of control or motivation when the team returned to the pitch in the second half a man down and without the coaches guidance, in fact it was the introduction of Stankovic that managed to get a bit of control back in to the Inter side but it wasn’t enough to save the game for us.  Just as a last point I would like to say that for me the only committed Inter player in the second half was Pazzini who never gave up looking for goals to try to bring Inter back in to the game, for this reason he is my man of the match for Inter.


About Don Nerazzurri

Huge fan of FC Internazionale Milano and founder of the Nerazzurri World blog, Inter is in my soul, cut me & I bleed black and blue! 'il Padrino' of the #InterFamily! C'e Solo l'Inter! Follow me on Twitter - @Don_Nerazzurri

Posted on October 2, 2011, in Serie A and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. i type then i delete, then i type & i delete again… i duno what to say and from where to start about this idiot… good news is he’s suspended for 3 games and won’t get near us till spring and it will be an “easy” game. bad news is we lost the 3 points in the most hurtful way, i would have accepted losing the points if we played badly and lost, but this… unacceptable. if this man can be this biased he shouldn’t be a ref, this simple. not only for Inter games but any games, his ethics and values are obviously very “flexible” and please i don’t want any1 to try and convince me that it was an honest mistake, coz the 1st obi yellow was a sign of what’s to come later.

    • My thoughts exactly! If we lose because of a crap coach with crap formations then I may be annoyed but it’d be a deserved defeat, where as in this game we were playing great football and were stitched up completely and him being suspended doesn’t make up for losing an important 3 points just when we really needed them!

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