SerieA: Parma 3-1 Inter, Terrible Defending Sinks UCL Hopes
The week 36 game against Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini not only marks Andrea Stramaccioni’s first loss in charge of Inter but also brings to an end any hope of the Nerazzurri qualifying for next seasons Champions League. To be honest this was probably inevitable considering the form we’ve been in this season, we should just be thankful that we will be finishing in the top third of the table and hang on to the belief that we can claim a consolation of qualifying for the Europa League.
Despite this loss I still hold great faith in Stramaccioni’s ability to lead Inter and he should not be held responsible for this result, lets face it even Mourinho has lost matches he shouldn’t have in his time and so the responsibility for this loss sits firmly with the players and the defence in particular. I’m getting bored with saying this now as us Interisti identified the defensive line as our weak point at the start of the season yet nearly a year later we are still relying on Lucio and Walter Samuel to thwart the oppositions attacks, as shown in the last few weeks if there’s only one of them on the pitch alongside Andrea Ranocchia then it works enough for us to get the result but more and more commonly when both our aging central defenders are playing together we leak goals like a bucket with a hole in it leaks water. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying Ranocchia is perfect but at the moment him or Cristian Chivu are adding a bit of much-needed security to our backline that Lucio and Samuel cannot offer anymore.
Stramaccioni came into this match with captain Javier Zanetti still not 100% after his injury and Fredy Guarin wasn’t deemed fit enough to be chosen for this match, but he did have Julio Cesar, Samuel and Dejan Stankovic back in the squad. Once again he lined up his team in a 4-3-2-1 formation with Cesar back in the goal, Samuel in place of Ranocchia and Stankovic taking up the anchor role in the center of midfield with Esteban Cambiasso and Joel Obi on either side. The spearhead of the formation stood unchanged with Wesley Sneijder and Ricky Alvarez supporting Diego Milito in the lone striker role. Mauro Zarate and Giampaolo Pazzini started the game on the bench with Diego Forlan not even included in the match day squad (Thankfully!).
From the kickoff both sides showed their intent to fight for the win and Inter’s first chance came within the first minute when Maicon sent a cross in to Sneijder who sent a lovely shot goalward on the turn but it lacked the power to truly test the Parma keeper Pavarini. Parma showed the weren’t rattled and responded with chances from both Valdes and Giovinco.
On the 13th minute Inter found the break they were looking for when Alvarez picked out Stankovic on the overlap who then sent in a dangerous cross just in front of Milito who just couldn’t connect with the ball but on the far side Sneijder ran in and with a left footed shot without slowing down sent the ball into the roof of the net past the helpless Pavarini. 0-1 to Inter and the Nerazzurri looked to be keeping the pace for the third place finish.
Parma though had other ideas and instead of letting their heads drop from going down a goal they stepped up their assault on the Inter goal with Giovinco leading the attacks with fantastic support from Valiani and ex Inter players Jonathan and Biabiany, the latter just missing evening up the score on the 40th minute after linking well with Valdes and Giovinco. Minutes later there was concern as Yuto Nagatomo went to tackle Jonathan and ended up with the Brazilians knee straight in his face, after leaving the pitch for treatment the Japanese defender returned to the pitch before the referee called for half time.
The second half started with Stramaccioni replacing leftback Nagatomo with Marco Davide Faraoni just as a precaution after Yuto’s facial injury. Parma started the half how the ended the first with an aggressive attacking mentality and although Faraoni looked uncomfortable on his weaker side he held his own against the onslaught of Parma attacks.
Eight minutes after the restart Parma evened the score after Lucio tried dribbling the ball out of defence only for Giavinco to easily take the ball from him from behind then take it back in to the Nerazzurri box and feed an easy assist past Julio Cesar in to the path of Marques who put it away with the Inter players and Interisti watching horrified at such a disgraceful blunder by Lucio.
The horror didn’t end there either as just two minutes later a long ball was played over Inter’s defensive line and Giovinco, who had been causing Inter problems all game, latched on to the ball leaving our aging defenders behind to put it away past Cesar and putting Parma in to the lead.
Inter tried to react when Stankovic connected with a Sneijder cross with his head but he could only send the shot off target. There was also an incident when Paletta caught Milito in the face with his hand but the referee wasn’t interested in punishing him for it, unbelievable! The Nerazzurri refused to give up though and substitute Mauro Zarate worked tirelessly to try to find the goal, but nothing went right in front of goal for Inter as was demonstrated when in the 75th minute Milito made a perfect pass to substitute Pazzini in front of goal only to see the Italian blast it well over the bar. I don’t know what is going on with Pazzini this year but he seems to have lost all his ability of finding the back of the net.
There were several more chances for Inter including a high shot from Zarate and in the 78th minute Sneijder again went close just grazing the post, even Maicon and Lucio had shots denied by Pavarini. Then in the 87th minute the result was beyond all doubt as Biabiany latched on to Giovinco’s pass, skipped past the on rushing Julio Cesar and planted the ball in to the back of the empty net. In the dying seconds of the match Milito had one last shot at getting a consolation goal but it wasn’t to be as Lucarelli cleared his shot meaning that the game ended as a miserable 3-1 defeat for the Nerazzurri.
This defeat means that with just two games left this season Inter sit in sixth place on 55 points, only three points behind Napoli in third but with the Derby against Milan on Sunday and then a tough last game against Lazio any chance of making up the ground is very slim. As I said earlier though a Europa league place is still possible and to be honest if Inter are to bring in more youngsters next season it may be a blessing in disguise as they will gain valuable European experience but without the intense pressure of the Champions league. I know we will be losing out on a huge amount of money this way but we have to find some positive from the situation we find ourselves in.
Lastly with the Milan Derby on Sunday, Inter find themselves in a very tricky situation as we must win it to stay in the fight for a top four or five finish, but if we do we will hand our most despised rivals Juventus the Scudetto! This really is a case of being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
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Posted on May 3, 2012, in Serie A and tagged Alvarez, Cambiasso, Cesar, Faraoni, Football, Inter, Lucio, Maicon, Milito, Nagatomo, Nerazzurri, Obi, Pazzini, Samuel, Serie A, Sneijder, Stankovic, Stramaccioni, Zarate. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.