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SerieA: Chievo 0-2 Inter, 3 man defence brings 3 points

Andrea Stramaccioni’s side made it five wins out of five on the road this season with a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Chievo at the Stadio Bentegodi.

The coach had expected Chievo to provide a stern test and the hosts certainly got off on the right foot, Pellissier and Di Michele causing problems for Inter early on. Guarin responded for the visitors by fizzing an effort across the face of the goal before Pereira struck two minutes before the interval: Nagatomo’s cross left him with the simple task of tucking home from just yards out. An important goal for the Nerazzurri and the Uruguayan’s first for the club. Inter came out after the break with the bit between their teeth as Milito and Cassano linked up to good effect in the final third, while Marco Rigoni and Co. drew a couple of big saves from Handanovic. Cassano, set up by Gargano, made things more comfortable for Inter with a cool finish: his third in black and blue on his 300th Serie A appearance. (via

Read my views on how Stramaccioni’s first attempt at a three man defence went on ESPN FC

Internazionale: March/ Marzo Review

Another month of disappointment, out of the Champions League, poor performances and after every game wondering how this is going to get better. In the last few days of the month though Massimo Moratti took action and now seems to have begun the rebuilding process, finally there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The results from March/ Marzo

4th March- Inter 2-2 Catania

We scored, Cambiasso cried and we still didn’t win. Awful defending from Nagatomo leading to Gomez of Catania scoring. How Nagatomo could not see what was going to happen, there was only one way Gomez was going to go and the only person who failed to realise was the guy nearest to him. Catania’s second was offside, and clearly so.

When Poli and Obi came on that really added something to the team. They are two players I would like to see either side of Cambiasso a lot more. Do not forget Obi is a centre midfielder not a left midfielder, though he may not have a lot of flair I do believe he can can add something positive to our play. Our first goal came from Forlan making a run inside the area from the wing and tucking away. The second was a lovely finish from Milito rifled into back of the net from just inside the area.

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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.

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Inter 2-0 Chievo match report & reactions

That’s more like it, even though they weren’t at their very best yesterday Inter showed a lot more quality than the have for the last two games with a couple of players really standing out, the first was Zanetti who was playing on the right of the 3 man midfield, his speed, passes & runs were outstanding and watching him last night you would never guess he was 37. The other was Yuto Nagatomo who for me was the man of the match was just everywhere defending, poaching balls and making blistering runs up the left wing and also getting a few shots off on goal, I’ve said it before but this guy has got a really bright future and he reminds me alot of the legendary Roberto Carlos which is exactly the type of player Inter needs. As rumours have suggested this week I think Moratti has got some big changes in mind for next season as all the way through the match he looked less than impressed! But tonight’s result went the right way and that’s all that matters for now.

Match Report

Inter beat Chievo 2-0 in the early kick-off of Serie A 2010/11 Week 32 this evening. The first half ended 0-0, despite Giampaolo Pazzini and Samuel Eto’o both going close. The Nerazzurri took the lead in the 65th minute thanks to Cambiasso, whose goalbound effort took a double deflection off Andreolli and Sorrentino before hitting the back of the net. Maicon made the points safe with 6 minutes of normal time remaining, when he neatly slotted home after picking up a rebound in the box. Inter thus go up to 63 points to put pressure on the leaders, awaiting the results of tomorrow’s games.

Leonardo made a few changes to the team that started against Schalke: Lucio returned from suspension to partner Ranocchia at centre-half while Nagatomo started at left-back. The coach fielded a three-man midfield of Zanetti, Cambiasso and Stankovic, with Kharja getting the nod over Sneijder to play in the hole behind Pazzini and Eto’o.

Chievo made a lively start to the game and Inter had to wait until the 7th minute for their first shot on goal: Zanetti set up Eto’o, whose effort was blocked easily by Sorrentino. Shortly afterwards, Stankovic tried to play a long ball for Pazzini but the ball bounced away from the striker and ended up in Sorrentino’s arms. With just over a quarter of an hour played, Inter had two great chances to take the lead in quick succession: first Nagatomo, after being set away down the left flank by Pazzini, reached the by-line and pulled back for Eto’o, who failed to connect when he only needed the slightest of touches to turn it in. A minute later, Pazzini clipped his shot inches wide of the far post after being played in beautifully by Maicon. Chievo went close in the 28th minute when Bogliacino shot from the edge of the box, but Julio Cesar showed safe hands. Then on 34 minutes a dangerous cross-shot from Sardo looked as if it might trouble the Inter keeper, but the Brazilian managed to collect. Two minutes later Eto’o hit a ball into the centre looking for Pazzini, who couldn’t quite reach it. Another decent chance came Inter’s way with 38 minutes on the clock, and this time it was Eto’o’s turn to hit an effort just wide of the post. Chievo hit back on 41 minutes when Sardo picked out Pellissier’s head with a cross, but the striker’s effort went over.

And with half-time approaching, the Meazza crowd thought the Nerazzurri had taken the lead when Maicon’s rocket hit the side-netting and created the illusion of a goal, after Ranocchia and Pazzini had both seen shots blocked. So the deadlock remained and the teams headed in for the break after two minutes of stoppage time were played.

Leonardo looked to shake things up at half-time and brought on Sneijder in place of Stankovic. Yokic’s 51st-minute cross was inviting for Pellissier, but he again failed to keep his header down. Three minutes later Pellissier had another chance, this time with his feet, Julio Cesar saving comfortably. In the 58th minute Sneijder picked out Nagatomo and the Japanese full-back tried to set up Pazzini, but Mandelli was covering. On the hour mark the Nerazzurri keeper had to be alert to clear with his fists as Mandelli tried to nod home a dangerous high ball yards from goal. And Maicon made an important interception on Constant shortly afterwards, as Chievo continued to threaten.

That, however, was the cue for Inter to score: Sneijder took a freekick out wide in the 65th minute, Lucio collected on the far side and laid back for Maicon to cross to the Argentinian, who was free in a crowded box. His shot took two deflections, off Andreolli and then Sorrentino, before nestling into the back of the net. Inter were 1-0 up. Pellissier had a fantastic opportunity to level the score in the 78th minute, following Yokic’s low cross, but he contrived to shoot skywards when the goal was much closer. A few minutes later Thiago Motta’s backheel allowed Milito to get a shot in, though he wasn’t able to trouble Sorrentino with it. The Chievo shotstopper then made another save, from Sneijder, while down the other end Uribe went close for the visitors, who hadn’t given up hope of snatching a point. Fortunately though, Inter were soon two goals to the good:

Maicon played a ball to Sneijder, whose shot from the edge of the box was half charged down and went to Milito, before finding its way back to Maicon in the middle of the area; the Brazilian kept his cool to turn and slot into the corner and give the Nerazzurri some breathing space. Milito could have made it three, first when he tried to curl an effort into the top corner (on 89 minutes), then when Yokic unintentionally set him up, but the Prince couldn’t get his header on target. In stoppage time Nagatomo had another chance, as he stormed into the box and shot left-footed, but he was denied by Sorrentino. After 5 minutes of added time, the match between Inter and Chievo finished 2-0.

Inter 2-0 Chievo (HT: 0-0)
Scorers: Cambiasso 65, Maicon 84.
Referee: Antonio Giannoccaro (Lecce).

Booked: Sardo 20.
Added time: 2 + 5 minutes.
Attendance: 61,456.


1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic (Sneijder 46); 14 Kharja; 7 Pazzini (Milito 61), 9 Eto’o (Motta 76).
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 2 Cordoba, 23 Materazzi, 27 Pandev.
Coach: Leonardo.

28 Sorrentino; 20 Sardo, 5 Mandelli, 3 Andreolli,17 Yokic; 6 Fernandes, 16 Rigoni, 23 Costant (Marcolini 68); 26 Bogliacino (Uribe 76); 80 Moscardelli (Thereau 55), 31 Pellissier.
Unused subs: 18 Squizzi, 4 Mantovani, 12 Cesar, 84 Pulzetti.
Coach: Stefano Pioli.



“We had our objectives before the two defeats and we still have them now; and more so after today’s game, which was difficult for many reasons – starting with how well Chievo played.” That was how Leonardo began as he commented on the win over Chievo.

The coach was asked if he had been afraid Inter wouldn’t win. He replied: “I always try to keep those thoughts as far away as possible. We have won lots of games at the end and we have made plenty of comebacks; we knew we had to keep plugging away until the end, patiently and intelligently, without losing our shape, and that’s what we did. The lads showed courage. The president and the club have handled a difficult situation very serenely. My affinity with the players? I think they just need to remain calm. Even if they don’t run over to hug me, I know what relationship we have. They don’t have to demonstrate anything publicly. Their prime concern is to be at ease, to come into the training ground feeling happy; not just to clock in and out. Our objectives are clear and they have never changed, and that goes for Europe too.

“What was I talking to Eto’o about on the touchline? About the best position to for him to break through their defence. Today our full-backs enabled us to make full use of the flanks and that benefited everyone. Is that a good sign going into the Champions League match? You must always concentrate on one game at a time, and until the final whistle went against Chievo we were thinking of nothing but this game, which we had to win. Now we can turn our attentions to the Champions League, with the same focus as we had today. Is it possible to come back? Inside I believe that anything is possible. I believe it and the players believe it too. Eto’o perhaps believes it more than anyone: he has plenty of comeback tales and he has played a part in lots of them. He told us all about them and they were great to hear,” concluded the coach, just as the Cameroonian appeared on camera.

Samuel Eto’o

With Leonardo listening in through an earpiece, Samuel Eto’o smiled as he spoke to Sky Sport Italia about great comebacks. He explained that “when I played for Barcelona and we lost 5-1 to Getafe, we turned it around with a 4-0 victory and went through…”

Then he returned to Inter: “It might seem difficult to believe at the moment,” said Eto’o, assessing the Nerazzurri’s chances of beating Schalke 04 over two legs, “but anything is possible in football. You can always dream. Inter have a team capable of going there and getting the result needed to reach the semis. The same goes for the league: there are still two months left to play.”

Esteban Cambiasso

“In December this situation was really unthinkable, so we can’t lose our heads over two defeats.” Relating to Sky Sport Italia what Inter’s situation was last December, Esteban Cambiasso described the situation now after the victory against Chievo and before the upcoming challenge in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday, with a comeback still to be engineered, and one in which all of the fans must still believe. Cambiasso explains why: “Because 45 years had passed without winning the Champions League, and this team did it.”

‘El Cuchu’ then continued to the microphones of Inter Channel: “Today we really needed some calm, after the two defeats and most of all for what had been created more outside than inside the club. Our fans have always believed in our possibilities. We did very well to move forward.”

Giampaolo Pazzini

“It was a tough game. We found it difficult because Chievo defended well and they were very well organised, but we got the win. It was a very important one too because the three points will boost morale and help us move forward.” Speaking to Inter Channel, Giampaolo Pazzini commented on Inter’s win this evening that keeps them in the running for the title.

“It wasn’t easy to get going again after two defeats,” the Nerazzurri striker continued. “There was a lot of pressure and we had to win because we still believe we can achieve the goals we set ourselves. We struggled a bit with the heat and with breaking down Chievo, but today the performance wasn’t so important; what was important was the three points.”

Giampaolo had an early chance but wasn’t able to stick it away: “I’m annoyed I didn’t score that one because normally I would have done better, but that’s ok. Esteban and Maicon settled it for us so that’s ok.”

On Nagatomo: “We’re happy for him. Today he showed what he’s capable of; let’s hope he keeps it up.”

Finally, the Champions League. Pazzini won’t be involved against Schalke 04 on Wednesday evening: “It’s really hard not being able to contribute myself but I have faith in my team-mates and in what they can do.”

Yuto Nagatomo

“I wanted to do my bit and help the team win and that’s the spirit I went onto the pitch with. I succeeded and so I’m happy.” Yuto Nagatomo was speaking at the end of the Chievo match, in which he was one of the best players. “There are lots of very good players at Inter,” Nagatomo went on, “and I know that I can’t start every game, but I have to make sure I am always ready. Winning our Champions League tie? I think the result can be overturned and if we didn’t believe it there would be no point in even playing the game; but we do believe we can do it. Absolutely.”

Finally, a comment on the support received for Japan: “In Italy all the fans and players have offered their support for the Japanese people and I want to thank them for that.”

It’s good to see Inter back winning after a very bad week though the performance was no where near their best but Nagatomo has proved what an asset he could be for Inter, I think he should definitely be Inters first signing of the summer. Now on to the return leg against Shalke in which we need at least 4 goals, can we do it? Who knows but one things certain the Nerazzurri won’t give up without a fight and with Inter anything is possible!

Inter v Chievo Preview

So here we are ready for today’s game against Chievo which comes at the end of an awful week for the Nerazzurri. On the bright side this is a match that shouldn’t cause us too much trouble, of course from now on we must win every Serie A game to stand any chance of making up the 5 point difference with Milan but we know Inter will fight with everything they have got to snatch the title back allwe need is a little luck for Milan & Napoli to slip up a few times between now and the end of the season.

Squad selection

Leonardo has selected a 22-man squad for the Inter v Chievo match (Serie A 2010/11 Week 32), which will be played today Saturday 9 April, at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan’s San Siro district.

1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;

2 Ivan Cordoba, 4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Lucio, 13 Maicon, 15 Andrea Ranocchia, 23 Marco Materazzi, 55 Yuto Nagatomo;

5 Dejan Stankovic, 8 Thiago Motta, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 14 Houssine Kharja, 17 MacDonald Mariga, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 20 Joel Obi, 29 Philippe Coutinho;

7 Giampaolo Pazzini, 9 Samuel Eto’o, 22 Diego Milito, 27 Goran Pandev.

Leonardo’s press conference

“Getting criticised is part of the game; it always has been and always will. The praise can also be excessive at times, just as some of the criticism is. But personally I don’t make that criticism into a disaster, or the praise into an amazing achievement. We’ve lost two important games – though we don’t know yet whether they will actually determine anything – but we’ve dealt with them without losing our heads. Now we’re working to find an immediate solution.” That was how Leonardo began his press conference this afternoon ahead of Inter’s Serie A 2010/11 Week 32 match against Chievo.

“The relationship I have with president Moratti is very clear, as all my relationships are,” added the coach in reply to a specific question. “Our meeting was a relaxed affair; that is, as relaxed as it can be after a defeat like that. And I’d like to clarify that, contrary to the things I’ve read in the papers, I came here to work as a coach; when that finishes there won’t be anything else. I didn’t come here to work behind the scenes; I was employed to coach the team. And there is still a very real possibility that we can carry on doing what we have been doing. What ties me to this club, more than my contract, is what we want to achieve together. Nothing has changed for me after these two defeats, apart from the fact that we have to find a solution. You say the president sees me in a director’s role? Well, the president saw me working behind the scenes for many years, because that’s what I used to do, but now I’m a coach. That said, I do still see things from a director’s point of view at times, but that’s normal having been one for so many years. I often look at things from the club’s point of view. What would I have said to myself if were a director now? Perhaps I would have been less kind than the president – he took it extremely well. What do I think about other coaches’ names being linked to Inter? That’s nothing to do with me but it’s all part of the game. I’m really not bothered by it. I’m not afraid of anything and I have nothing to lose. I have something to do, not something to lose. They said that I wanted to quit the other evening, but I had no voice left so I wasn’t able to…” joked Leonardo.

“Now we have to worry about Chievo because we have a chance to get back into the mix,” he continued. “What’s my relationship with the players like? Excellent. I couldn’t say anything negative about any of them in terms of their commitment or anything else. They have to remain calm; they don’t need to think about the coach. They are the core of the team. That much should be clear. Likewise, I always try to do what is best for the team. We get on well, but after that everyone has a job to do, which is to try and win games.

“Every team,” continued Leonardo, “goes through difficult moments in the course of a season. The team that runs out as the overall winner is the one that is able to make sure those moments don’t prove decisive. Generally speaking, this hasn’t been an easy year for Inter by any means; the problems the players have had haven’t made it easy. We played some great football in the match against Schalke at times. And our defence wasn’t all over the place when the goals were scored. But unfortunately the result was what it was.

“We’ve got as far as we have thanks to our desire. I don’t think having immense desire is a negative thing, and I’m sure it will help us again in the future,” explained Leonardo. “That immense desire is one of the great assets of this team. And that’s why it bothers me a bit that the players have been put on trial – more than it does that I have – because they have put so much effort into it. I think it’s disrespectful. What will happen tomorrow? We’ll respond with that same immense desire. From a psychological perspective tomorrow’s game is unconnected. One thing’s for sure: we will look carefully at who has got the most in their legs. We’ll take each game as it comes.”

Finally, there was a brief comment on Diego Milito: “Judging by what I saw on the pitch, Milito is a hero. A hero, considering everything he has been through and the amount of time he had spent on the sidelines.”

My prediction
Inter have got a big point to prove today so I’m expecting them to pull out all the stops so I’m going to go for a 3-1 win for us I would have gone for 3-0 but there’s no way Leonardo will have sorted the defensive problems so we’re bound to let a silly goal in at some point, not that I’d be disappointed if I’m wrong.


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