SerieA: Cesena 0-1 Inter, Rannochia’s header secures three more points
For the third time in a row Ranieri’s Inter were victorious continuing the fantastic come back that has seen the Nerazzurri rise from sixteenth place to now sit in fifth with 23 points after winning five of our last six matches, ok so by the end of the evening we could be in sixth, if Napoli beat Roma tonight. But even if that’s the case the recent revival of Inter proves we’re still a force to be reckoned with and even if it’s a long shot we are still in the running for the Scudetto and more realistically Champions league qualification.
The home side lined up with a formation of 4-4-1-1 that consisted of Francesco Antonioli in goal, a back line of Gianluca Comotto, Steve Von Bergen, Guillermo Rodriguez and Maurice Lauro. Their four man midfield saw Luke Ceccarelli, Marco Parolo, Roberto Guana and Antonio Candreva take to the field, and the spearhead of the home team came in the form of Eder who was playing in front of their second striker Adrian Mutu.
Claudio Ranieri’s Inter again started with his favoured 4-4-2, which I seriously dislike but at least it’s getting results, Ahead of Julio Cesar in goal we had Lucio and Andrea Ranocchia replacing Walter Samuel who was being rested on the bench, the central defence was flanked by Maicon on the right and Yuto Nagatomo on the left. Disappointingly Andrea Poli was missing from the midfield lineup but Phillipe Coutinho and Javier Zanetti took up positions on the wings with Thiago Motta and Esteban Cambiasso working as the engine of the team in the center. And once again Ranieri saw fit to pair up Giampaolo Pazzini and Diego Milito up front much to everyones surprise considering that we had a fit Diego Forlan on the bench, though using this combination did mean that Milito reached 100 Serie A games in his career.
The match started well and the first chance fell to Inter as Cambiasso hit a hard shot across the box but Antonioli denied him having a dream start by pushing it away. Just two minutes later the ball was down the other end with Julio Cesar saving a shot from Ceccarelli.
The tenth minute nearly saw Nagatomo get his third goal in three games as his left footed volley from outside the box just rose too high to go over much to the relief of the watching Cesena defence. It took until the 25th minute for the next chance to come around when Candreva took a shot which Motta managed to deflect away from danger.
A few minutes later Milito was pulled down on the edge of the area and the resulting free kick was taken by Coutinho who sent it narrowly over. Julio Cesar did well to turn away a dangerous right footed shot by Candreva and two minutes later on 35 minutes Mutu got his first shot on goal of the game but he couldn’t get it on target.
Just as the two minutes of extra time started Milito went for goal with a curling shot that just skimmed the cross-bar and so ended the goalless first half which was pretty much end to end with both sides looking fairly even, this in itself is a problem as for me a team like Inter should be dominating games against opponents like Cesena not just equaling them.
Unsurprisingly Ranieri couldn’t leave things alone at half time and during the break he replaced Coutinho with Obi, to be fair Coutinho didn’t have the best game ever but he wasn’t bad enough to justify taking him off.
Six minutes in to the second half Maicon sent in a lovely cross from the right that found Pazzini’s head but he could only send it narrowly over the bar. A minute later and Inter looked like they were going to concede the first goal when first Mutu found himself through with only Julio Cesar to beat but Guana’s through ball just didn’t have the momentum to reach him and then Eder unleashed a blasted right footed shot only to see it ricochet off Obi.
The assault on the Nerazzurri net continued on the hour mark as Julio Cesar dived to save a shot from Parolo. Then three minutes later totally out of the blue and unexpected Inter took the lead as Ranocchia climbed up to head home a cross in to the box from Maicon, giving the young number 23 his first goal of the season.
Cesena didn’t give up though and on 75 minutes Maicon was called upon to clear the ball as Bogdani picked up a loose ball in Inter’s box and tried a shot. Three minutes after that Maicon was involved again as he sent a free kick in to the area but Antonioli saw it coming at met it easily.
With 82 minutes gone Ranieri did it again when he brought on Forlan which was definitely needed to perk up our attack but instead of taking off Milito who had been fairly poor all match he removed Pazzini who also hadn’t been at his best but out of the two I felt ‘Pazzo’ was having the better game.
Then Cesena started piling on the pressure as Inter had to resist attacks from both Candreva and Parolo. This was shortly followed by Julio Cesar’s third great save of the match, and probably his most difficult of the match from Ghezzal’s vicious shot. With just one minute left of normal time Ranieri finally took Milito off as he changed his formation to a 4-4-1-1 and brought on Dejan Stankovic who in the dying seconds of the four minutes added time sent in one of his long distance shots that was very close to going in if Antonioli hadn’t managed to parry it and so the match ended with Ranocchia’s headed goal and Julio Cesar’s awesome man of the match display making the difference.
Cesena 0-1 Inter (HT 0-0)
Scorers: Ranocchia 63.
Referee: Romeo (Verona).
Booked: Comotto 13, Lauro 62.
Added time: 2 + 4.
Like probably all Interista I am ecstatic that we got another win and also that we closing in on the European places but it was hardly a convincing win against a team we should have beaten easily, the reason for this in my opinion is a combination of a few factors, firstly Ranieri’s insistence of playing a 4-4-2 formation, as you may have guessed I’m not a fan of this and would much prefer to see a more balanced and free-flowing 4-2-3-1 , 4-3-1-2 or even a 4-3-2-1, any one of these formations would suit our players much better.
The second is the fact that he is still relying on the same old guard players that he should be phasing out, for example he has played Milito for several games now with the same bad performances in return but he still keeps playing him and not even substituting him when he’s changing things around. If Inter are to move on from the bad form of the past 18 months and start being the team we all know they can be then he has to work more with the youngsters he has available, they have proven themselves capable so they should now be given the responsibility of being first choice players.
And finally what is probably Ranieri’s most damning fault is his choice of substitutions during the games, why for example did he think it was better to take Pazzini of instead of Milito in this match? Plus the countless other bizarre and frankly pointless changes he’s made in previous games. It’s almost as though he decides these changes at random before the game and then no matter what happens on the pitch he sticks to them. I also don’t really understand why he feels he has to use all three every game? Can somebody please tell Ranieri that it isn’t compulsory to use all of the available changes in every match.
Anyway I don’t want to end on a negative so I’ll just reilliterate how happy I am to see Inter back up the top end of the table again where they should be and I’m proud of how the lads have managed to pick themselves up and get on with the job in hand after the terrible start we’ve suffered this season. We’re not even half way through the season yet so there is still plenty of time to really make our mark on this campaign and prove that nothing is over or decided yet!
Posted on December 18, 2011, in Serie A and tagged Cambiasso, Cesar, Coutinho, Forlan, Inter, Lucio, Maicon, Milito, Motta, Nagatomo, Nerazzurri, Obi, Pazzini, Ranieri, Ranocchia, Stankovic, Zanetti. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.