UCL: Inter 2-1 Olympique Marseille agg 2-2, Nerazzurri knocked out by late away goal
After Inter’s superb win against Chievo last Friday evening and with Marseille losing yet again in their own league the stage was set for the Nerazzurri to turn around the 1-0 first leg defeat. The plan was to show the French side the strength and resolve that Inter has to turn around results like these in front of a packed Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, using the same lineup that produced a winning display in Verona Claudio Ranieri expected his squad to come out fighting and take the game to the visitors.
The reality though was that from the kickoff Marseille looked as though they weren’t happy to just defend their one goal aggregate lead and wanted the away goal to sure up their position ahead of Inter. Less than ten minutes in to the game it looked like Inter would level things off as captain Javier Zanetti took the ball in to the box cutting it back for Wesley Sneijder who just had to chip it in to a fairly open net but instead he hit it low straight in to the goalkeepers body much to the surprise of everyone watching the match.
A couple of minutes later and it happened again as the ball flew in to the far post from a Sneijder cross which Diego Milito could’ve easily headed in to the net but instead he tried controlling it with his chest giving the Marseille goalkeeper, Mandanda, chance to block it sending it out of danger. During these two chances Inter looked completely in control but these huge mistakes knocked the wind out of the Nerazzurri and Marseille took control of the game until Inter’s next chance in the 34th minute. Before half time Inter had a few more chances but nothing that looked particularly dangerous.
In the first half both teams gave away quite a few needless freekicks especially Inter’s Yuto Nagatomo, in my opinion he looked like he was trying too hard and at times he was even panicking a bit, if he is to be relied upon in these big matches in the future he needs to keep his head and stay calmer. Also I thought Inter’s set pieces were very disorganised with there being no obvious plan during corners and the free kicks were abysmal especially the ones on goal that were rarely even on target.
The second half began with no changes and Marseille came out determined to finish the game off, pressing forward at every opportunity but Inter kept their heads and reacted to their attacks well. On the 54th minute just after having a cross intercepted Sneijder signalled to the bench that he needed to be taken off and Ranieri replaced him with Joel Obi. With all Inter’s obvious options not working Ranieri also decided to replace Diego Forlan who to be fair wasn’t having the best game of his career with Giampaolo Pazzini. With Obi and Pazzini on the pitch it brought a new dynamic to Inter’s play and straight away the Nerazzurri looked dangerous again with them having a few chances including another terrible freekick, this time from Stankovic.
Ranieri made his third change in the 74th minute when he brought on Esteban Cambiasso for Andrea Poli and almost straight away the Argentinian midfielder was called upon to take a cornerkick which after a bit of scrambling in the box fell to Diego Milito who managed to find the net making it 1-0 to Inter, if truth be told it was a very messy goal and we got lucky with it but at that point in the game we couldn’t afford to be fussy and a goal is a goal.
For the remaining 15 minutes Inter pushed for the deciding goal with several chances not quite making the difference, then two minutes in to the three minutes of stoppage time before the match went to extra time, Marseille substitute Brandao caught the Inter defence napping getting past Walter Samuel with ease and slotting the ball past Julio Cesar, that was it for Inter with less than a minute to go securing another two goals was asking far too much of the lads. But they didn’t give up and seconds later Pazzini was powering in to the Marseille box and with only the keeper to beat he was brought down by Mandanda who was immediately shown his second yellow card of the match and sent off. Pazzini stepped up and slotted home the spotkick securing a win for the night but it was a bitter victory that signalled the end of any chance of silverware this season for Inter for the first time in seven years.
My main concern after this defeat isn’t the fact that we are out of all competitions now this season but there seems to be serious issues behind the scenes at Inter, I know all parties are denying any problems but the drive and passion we associate with Inter doesn’t seem to be evident anymore and communication between the players during matches is almost non existent, maybe I’m just being paranoid but something just doesn’t seem right in the squad.
Sneijder coming off injured in the second half for example, this seemed a little strange to me as Sneijder didn’t appear particularly injured, he wasn’t limping or anything that I had noticed and today there has been no mention of an injury on Inter’s website. So maybe after his bad miss earlier and no real great spark in his play he wanted to come off to avoid the jeers of our disillusioned fans in the stadium, or could it be that he’s just given up with Inter and now is just looking towards a move in the summer? who knows?!? Also when Forlan was substituted he immediately left the pitch and went down the tunnel to the changing rooms which to me is another sign that things aren’t quite as they should be behind the scenes with Inter, if you remember Dejan Stankovic did the same thing a few weeks ago, is this really what a supposedly united team does?
Today in an interview president Massimo Moratti has spoke about the need for a major project at Inter which I’m hoping will involve promoting some of our primavera stars who are undoubtably the best youth squad in Italy and replacing those older players who are quite obviously past their best like Stankovic for example. Moratti also hinted that he’s willing to be more patient while the squad is being rebuilt and there would be less pressure on the coach to get immediate results while the new project is being implemented.
One thing is certain in these uncertain times for Inter, there are a lot of changes to come this summer and once we get a project underway it may be a few seasons before we return to being the dominant force in Serie A. But through it all I will be here wearing the Nerazzurri colours with pride and passion, supporting and helping the club that has given us so much in these past years in any way I can, the same way I hope the rest of the Inter family will!
SEMPRE FORZA INTER!!!!
Follow me on Twitter: @Don_Nerazzurri
Posted on March 14, 2012, in UEFA Champions League and tagged Cambiasso, Cesar, Champions League, Football, Forlan, Inter, Lucio, Maicon, Milito, Moratti, Nagatomo, Nerazzurri, Obi, Pazzini, Poli, Ranieri, Samuel, Sneijder, Stankovic. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.