SerieA: Siena 0-1 Inter, Castaignos goal brings home the points

Week 13 of the 2011/12 Serie A season saw Inter return to the Stadio Artemio Franchi where in 2010 they were crowned Scudetto champions in their treble winning year, how things have changed, as this season’s fixture has Inter desperate for wins in an attempt to climb the table after the worst campaign start ever.

For almost 90 minutes this game had bore draw written all over it and to be fair that was the result the plucky Siena deserved as they played well and did everything possible to ensure the Inter players couldn’t get too many chances on goal. I’m not saying Inter were terrible, we kept control of the game for the majority of the 90 minutes but in my opinion there just seemed to be something missing that would bring a bit of excitement to the game, maybe this was down to the lack of atmosphere in the stadium that you get in the Meazza but I feel it had more to do with the mediocre display shown by the majority of the Nerazzurri players. This of course wasn’t helped by some extremely disappointing decisions made by the Inter boss concerning substitutions (which I’ll go in to shortly.)

Don Nerazzurri's Formation for Siena v Inter

My first disappointment came as Claudio Ranieri announced his starting line up, which for me was a bit predictable. When I saw the squad list for the Siena game my thinking was this is an ideal match to give some of our talented youngsters a run out and give them some much-needed experience as part of the ongoing project to rejuvenate the team this would include a bit of a tactical change around to accommodate the players I wanted to see on the pitch.

My own prefered starting line up consisted of Julio Cesar, Javier Zanetti, Luca Caldirola, Andrea Ranocchia, Marco Faraoni, Thiago Motta, Andrea Poli, Joel Obi, Ricardo Alvarez, Mauro Zarate ( this would have been Phillipe Coutinho but I then found out he was unavailable due to injury) and Giampaolo Pazzini in a 4-2-3-1 formation as shown.


Ranieri's formation against Siena

with Ranieri being Ranieri he decided to play it safe lining up in a 4-1-4-1 formation which included players that we should be looking to phase out and as I said against these lower level teams we should be using the younger players to give them the experience needed to eventually replace the old guard in the future. Though what do I know I’m not the one with many years experience coaching top level teams and so ‘The Tinkerman’s’ starting line up consisted of – Julio Cesar, Yuto Nagatomo, Andrea Ranocchia, Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso, Thiago Motta, Dejan Stankovic, Ricardo Alvarez, Mauro Zarate & Giampaolo Pazzini.


Before the game started the players lined up and had a minute of silence for the victims of the flood in Messina. The match started quite slowly with neither side looking willing to commit to a full on attack and it took up to the eighth minute to see the Nerazzurri come close to taking the lead when Alvarez won the ball on the right side of the midfield and found Zarate on the edge of the box who mistimed a back pass and lost it to the Siena defenders.

Two minutes later Alvarez provided the ball to Stankovic who despite being a distance out from the goal decided to send in a powerful shot but the opposition keeper had plenty of time to watch it coming and comfortably saved it down low. Down the other end Calaio moved in on Julio Cesar’s goal only to be held back by Ranocchia who received the first booking of the match for his misdemeanor, the resulting free kick came to nothing and Inter regained possession as once again Alvarez sent in a cross towards Pazzini who managed to steer it towards Zarate with his head who sent a powerful header straight in to the arms of the Siena keeper Brkic.

Then again shortly afterward Pazzini got up and headed the ball just off target from an inch perfect cross from, yes you’ve guessed it, Ricky Alvarez who was having a fantastic game and running riot on the right-wing. The 29th minute saw Mannini give away a free kick in a dangerous area which lead to two consecutive corners, the second of which taken by Zarate (who was also having a great game over on the left wing) forced Brkic off his line where he missed the ball leaving Walter Samuel less than 10 yards out in front of an open goal, I know what you’re thinking surely he buried it? Nope his so-called shot went so wide it looked more like a reverse cross out to Alvarez on the right-wing! Oh dear oh dear oh dear!!!

Siena then broke forward on the counterattack and the Inter back line were caught snoozing but luckily for Rannochia and Samuel who were to slow to recover Brienza’s 31st minute shot went high over the cross-bar. A minute later Brienza again was causing problems as he crossed the ball in for Mannini who also failed to hit the target. Referee added just one minute to the end of the first half but that was enough time for Calaiò to give Inter one more scare as his low shot was fired just wide of Julio Cesar’s far post.

So ended the first half in which Inter looked the more dangerous but only due to the hard work and great performances from both Zarate and most of all the outstanding Alvarez. Thiago Motta was also playing well as the anchorman between the defensive line and the midfield but once again Estaban Cambiasso was disappointing and Dejan Stankovic added nothing to Inter’s lineup.


The second half started with a decision from Ranieri that could have cost Inter the match and lost us a vital three points, for reasons known only to himself he made a double substitution that removed our best two players of the first half Mauro Zarate and Ricky Alvarez and replaced them with Joel Obi and Luc Castaignos.
With our main creative force removed it didn’t take long for Siena to take control of the game and three minutes into the second half Mannini found Calaiò with a long pass who beat Andrea Rannochia then hit a half volley that thankfully went wide.
Another Siena counterattack came about when Joel Obi lost the ball in midfield but again it was wasted due to Larrondo’s inaccuracy. The 57th minute saw Stankovic opt for another long distance shot which grazed the post before going out of play, it seems to me that the Serbian for some reason is not looking for useful passes but instead just happy to take potshots from where ever on the pitch he happens to be, I have a lot of respect for everything Deki has done for us in the past but this season is proving he is no longer at the level needed to be a regular starter for us.

Three minutes later Larrondo was through on goal again as Gazzi picked him out with a pass into the box, though this time he was dispossessed by Samuel with the Siena player going to ground easily and claiming for a penalty which De Marco refused waving him back up to his feet. Captain Zanetti again proved himself invaluable in our back line as he didn’t put a foot wrong all game and closed down Calaiò well when he was played in to the box.

With ten minutes to go Pazzini was through on the Siena goal only for him to be called offside, the frustration plainly evident on the Italian strikers face. This prompted Ranieri to make his last change by taking off Cambiasso and instead of replacing him with the available Poli who might have been able to provide us with some much-needed creativity he made another baffling choice and brought on Diego Milito to add another striker to the mix. This for me was ridiculous seeing as we were struggling to get balls in to our two strikers already, and so the battle continued with neither side particularly gaining any advantage then on the 89th minute Castaignos earned a freekick in a fantastic position just outside the box but with none of our usual freekick takers on the pitch it was down to Motta to have a go, but his shot had no real power and it flew straight into the waiting arms of Brkic.

With time almost over I had resigned myself to the fact that we were lucky to walk away from this match with a draw when yet again we were saved by one of our youngsters as Thiago Motta played in an excellent ball to Castaignos in the box who then controlled the ball and placed it in the back of the net as he hit it on the turn. After three minutes of added time De Marco ended the match with Inter victorious claiming their fourth consecutive win and now sit in 12th place on 14 points.

Siena 0-1 Inter (HT: 0-0)
Scorer: Castaignos 90.

Referee: De Marco (Chiavari).
Booked: Ranocchia 14, Terzi 38, Brienza 81, 90+1, Stankovic 88.
Sent off: Brienza 90+1.
Added time: 1+3 minutes.



1 Brkic; 2 Vitiello, 13 Rossettini, 19 Terzi, 3 Del Grosso; 70 Mannini, 10 D’Agostino, 14 Gazzi (Bolzoni 70), 23 Brienza; 11 Calaiò (Reginaldo 62), 9 Larrondo (Gonzalez 75).
Unused subs: 25 Pegolo, 6 Angelo, 27 Belmonte, 80 Contini.
Coach: Giuseppe Sannino.


1 Julio Cesar; 55 Nagatomo, 23 Ranocchia, 25 Samuel, 4 Zanetti; 8 Thiago Motta; 11 Alvarez (Obi 46), 5 Stankovic, 19 Cambiasso (Milito 81), 28 Zarate (Castaignos 46); 7 Pazzini.
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 2 Cordoba, 16 Caldirola, 18 Poli.
Coach: Claudio Ranieri.

As much as I’m happy that we picked up the three ponts in this match and that Castaignos got his first Serie A goal, I do think it was an undeserved victory with the reason being that throughout the match some of the Inter players didn’t seem to be giving it their al,l especially Cambiasso and Stankovic in the center of midfield, their role should have been to dictate the play but both just seemed to be there for the ride also in the nine minutes Diego Milito was on the pitch he had no impact on the game what so ever, though this was mainly down to the fact that there was no creativity from our midfield and this is where I have concerns about Ranieri’s substitution policy. It was insanity to remove both Alvarez and Zarate at the start of the second half and to leave Deki on for the full match, I have a lot of respect for Ranieri but since he joined Inter alot of his substitutions make no sense and at times seem totally random, of course while we’re winning it’s not so much of a problem but it will backfire soon like it nearly did in this match and when it does is Moratti going to be so patient with his unnecissary tinkering?


Posted on November 28, 2011, in Serie A and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Man, I’m astonished with your blog, seriously. Your analysys of the match is complete, you collected everything and wrote down. Congratulations!!! Talkig about the post, I agreed with you, the future of Inter right now is with the young players we have. Caldirola is a classic defender, but he never had his chance, the same for Faraoni that had just a small time to show what he knows. Of course, you cannot change a whole team at once, but matches like the one we had on sunday serves to make this kind os test. Anyway, you can see that my english isn’t very good, I’m brasilian and I need to practice a little bit more…kkk. See ya!!!

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