Serie A: Chievo 0-2 Inter, Samuel and Milito Secure 104th Birthday Win

What a great week it has been for me and all Interisti, starting with the 2-2 comeback last week against Catania where we started to see sparks of the Inter we all know and love, then in the midweek I was honoured and proud to see that both Bedy Moratti & Inter themselves had mentioned Nerazzurri World on Twitter. Then as we celebrated Inter’s 104th Birthday the Nerazzurri secured their first win since the Lazio game back on the 22nd January.

This game saw the return of both Dejan Stankovic and Maicon to the starting line up and Claudio Ranieri opted for another try with the 4-3-1-2 formation. the lineup was fairly unsurprising with him going with our strongest back four of Maicon, Lucio, Walter Samuel and Yuto Nagatomo. The three man midfield consisted of Javier Zanetti, Dejan Stankovic and Andrea Poli, personally I would’ve left Stankovic out and brought in Marco Davide Faraoni to play on the right with Zanetti in the center but I’m not Inter’s head coach so we have to respect Ranieri’s decisions. The attack was exactly as I would’ve chosen with Wesley Sneijder behind the partnership of the two Diegos Forlan and Milito, this set up works well in my opinion as Forlan can drop deeper and wider to create more chances for Milito unlike Giampaolo Pazzini who like I’ve said many times is too similar to ‘El Principe’ and is purely a box player.

As the game started I had great expectations for this match because I have to confess I’ve always had a soft spot for Chievo and I know they are more than capable of causing upsets against the bigger teams, like they did against Juventus. (He he!!! 😉 ) And as the Flying Donkeys kicked off they showed they wanted to stamp their authority in their home ground going on the attack early on and earning the first corner of the game after just two minutes.

The corner didn’t prove difficult for Inter who cleared the chance easily and then took the ball forward leading to two decent long range shots for Stankovic, these were both good shots to be honest but in the last few games he has played in it seems to me that Deki doesn’t weigh up his options very well and always tries for goal no matter where in the final third of the pitch he is, I know this has worked for him in the past, sometimes spectacularly, but I feel that if he’s to prove himself still useful to the squad he has to play with a bit more vision.

Then in the 14th minute hope for an early lead came for Inter as Sneijder took a corner the ball hit Francesco Acerbi’s arm on the far side of the area meaning a penalty was awarded to the Nerazzurri. Milito stepped up to take it and I was so confident that he would bury it I even started to write a tweet announcing the goal, but I must have jinxed it as he took the shot straight down the middle and the Cheivo keeper Stefano Sorrentino kept it out easily much to the dismay of all the Interisti, Massimo & Bedy Moratti and Ernesto Paolillo in the stands.

Five minutes later Sneijder had another chance after collecting the ball from Forlan on the edge of the area he let sent in one of his trademark curled shots that had Sorrentino well beaten but didn’t dip quite enough and went out off the top of the bar. Inter were by now well and truly in control of the game and were looking much like their old selves again continuously pressing the Chievo lines and looking by far the more dangerous of the two sides.

Just before the half hour mark Maicon played a lovely pass for Zanetti to run onto but the captain was stopped expertly by a well timed challenge from Marco Andreolli. This was only a temporary reprieve for Chievo as a minute later Stankovic received the ball in a good area, controlling it well before blasting a shot that just fizzed over the bar. Again it was the Serbian with two more chances around the 40 minute mark but both efforts were stopped by the Gialloblu defence.

Then Chievo managed to catch Inter on the break in the same way so many other teams had recently and I thought the same outcome of going a goal down was coming up but a combined effort from both Lucio and Julio Cesar denied Sergio Pellissier from taking advantage, though there were claims from striker that he was pushed by Lucio but from what I saw he wasn’t. The first half ended with just one minute of added time but not before the referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni denied Inter’s claims for a second penalty after Paolo Sammarco charged down a Sneijder shot from close range using his arm.

The second half started with the same 22 players on the pitch and Inter continued their assault on the Chievo goal with Sneijder cutting in from the left hand side of the box and placing a perfectly weighted cross to just in front of the far post where Poli stretched to connect and score an unstoppable goal but luck wasn’t with him and he missed the ball by millimeters. 55 minutes in and it was a freekick from distance that saw our star Dutchman go close with a blazing shot, and then two minutes later powerful wingback Maicon burst past a couple of Chievo’s players, charged in to the box and was about to blast a shot in to the net when Acerbi slid in with an inch perfect tackle to deny the Brazilian.

Inter carried on piling on the pressure and although the whole team was playing well their continuing problem of the ball just not going in despite trying everything was getting frustrating once again. Though unlike in previous matches the Inter players were keeping their heads and not letting this frustration affect their game.

Even though there were no goals Inter looked comfortably in control and the Chievo coach Domenico Di Carlo was desperately looking for a way to get his team back in to the game, bringing on Dario Dainelli for Sammarco on the hour mark made no real difference to disrupting the Nerazzurri control. Then in the 71st minute he brought on Perparim Hetemaj for Luciano and Ranieri made his first change which in true ‘Tinkerman’ style made no sense to me, bringing on Giampaolo Pazzini for Forlan who I thought had been great throughout the game bringing plenty of creativity and extra options for Sneijder. But Ranieri just can’t seem to see what I said earlier about Pazzini and Milito playing together and as long as he only plays our Italian striker alongside Milito he isn’t going to get the goals he’s capable of getting.

Di Carlo continued his experimenting five minutes later when he made his final change bringing on a fresh striker in the form of Davide Moscardelli in place of Pellissier. When Ranieri made his second and final change by bringing on Esteban Cambiasso to replace Poli in the 84th minute, he almost made an immediate impact when Sneijder sent in a freekick from the edge of the box that Sorrentino dived to keep out and the Argentinian midfielder pounced on the rebound but just couldn’t find the balance to keep it down.

The freekick also saw the only card of the match as Chievo coach Di Carlo was sent off for protesting about the decision, this must have had a huge impact on the morale of the Chievo players as their organisation seemed to dissolve while their assistant coach continued to argue about the sending off. this gave Inter the boost needed to gain the goal they had deserved for the entire match. It came from a Sneijder corner and was put away by defender Samuel as he climbed high above the Chievo defence and headed it back across the goal past the keeper in to the bottom corner.

Like everyone else I thought that was it a 1-0 win for the Nerazzurri and I would have been very happy with that result and three points but just two minutes later captain Zanetti drove down the right flank sending in a fantastic cross that was met by his fellow Argentinian Milito to nod past Sorrentino. The relief and the joy showed on Ranieri’s face as Milito doubled our lead when the TV cameras showed that the coach had tears in his eyes, and to be honest he wasn’t the only one! That put the game beyond all doubt and after two minutes added time the game came to an end with a deserved win for the Nerazzurri still sit in seventh place in the table but now we’re on 40 points.

This game was such a great achievement for Inter with everyone giving 100% I can’t really fault anyone though the performance was by no means perfect, there were a few stray passes especially from Poli and Maicon made quite a few heavy touches that occasionally lost him the ball but all in all it was good. Walter Samuel was exceptional in this game with his defending being solid and he started many attacking plays from the back, his goal was a great reward for all the effort he put in. Also Wesley Sneijder looked like the worldclass player we all know he is, I’m overjoyed to see things clicking back in to place throughout the squad, and as a fitting tribute to Inter’s 104th Birthday it was almost spooky that the goals were created by Sneijder (number 10) and Zanetti (number 4), is this a sign that Inter’s fortunes are now back on the up? I truly hope so!

Follow me on Twitter: @Don_Nerazzurri

Posted on March 10, 2012, in Serie A and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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