All I can say is wow what a fantastic game! The Derby Della Madoninna is always an exciting and tense game between two of world football’s superpowers in the city that is known around the world as the capital of football but this one carried importance on so many levels. For Inter it was must win to stay in the chase for an European place, for Milan it was must win to take the title race with Juventus to the last day and for both clubs, as always, it was to determine who would have the bragging rights across the city of Milano and also the world.
The game didn’t disappoint either with six goals, three penalties, tension, passion and most importantly a derby double for the mighty Nerazzurri! This game will go down in football history as one of, if not THE greatest derby ever!
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.
1st April: Inter 5-4 Genoa
Stramaccioni first game in charge and an entertaining one! What a beautiful first goal, after weeks of witnessing poor build up play and then Cambiasso to Zarate knocks wide to Forlan with a lovely weight cross with a Milito finish. On 27 minutes Milito had a one on one and slots the ball home. Then after play broke up from a set play Lucio knocks into box for Samuel to slide in and finish.
An unfortunate deflection gets Genoa a goal back just before the half time whistle. 1st penalty of the day I thought was harsh on Zanetti, could our great leader get his arm out of way and did he deny a goal opportunity? 3-2. Zarate took a run at the Genoa defence cut in from left and curls into far post to complete a wonderful finish.
Cesar took out Palacio resulting in a penalty which was converted to make it 4-3
Guarin earned a penalty which Milito converted before Lucio and Sculli challenge for high ball, Sculli foot was higher and contact is made and somehow the ref decides it’s a penalty 5-4
A big improvement. The play was more fluid, more conviction in the passing I thought we looked good. With more time it will get better and hopefully we can start to defend as a team.
On a sunny and pleasant Sunday afternoon in Milan, Inter scored two and conceded one as Cesena lost the battle on the Giuseppe Meazza. After having won in Udine in the mid-week fixture, the highly desirable third place in the Serie A was still reachable for Inter as Lazio surprisingly lost away to Novara. Before Sunday’s game, the Nerazzurri were on a string of five consecutive games without losing. A string of games that began when the up-and-coming Andrea Stramaccioni took over as the replacement for Claudio Ranieri on the Inter bench. Following the 2-2 draw in Rome between AS Roma and Napoli in the Saturday night fixture, Inter were fifth with 52 points earned, while Napoli were fourth with 55 points after 35 games – on the same tally as third placed Lazio, who played Udinese on Sunday night.
After the bore draw against Fiorentina last weekend Inter’s chances of securing the third place finish were almost finished but just a few days later the Nerazzurri proved their credentials by securing an important away win at the Stadio Friuli against Udinese. This combined with both Lazio and Roma losing their matches means that Inter are now in sixth place on equal points with fifth place Udinese, both having 52 points just three points behind third placed Lazio with both teams yet to play against the Biancocelesti in the last four games of the season.
A much needed win and it all happened in the first half of the match with Udinese going on the offensive from the kickoff they were rewarded early on when defender Danilo struck a wonderful shot from the edge of the area that flew past Julio Cesar and ricocheted off the upright to cross the line and put the Bianconeri ahead.
After what could only be described as a disappointing draw last Saturday against Cagliari, Inter were back on the pitch just four days later, this time back on home turf of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza and with only seven matches left this season everyone from Andrea Stramaccioni to the squad and the fans knew that to stand any chance of performing miracles and securing the targeted third place Champions League spot we had to secure a win.
The Nerazzurri didn’t disappoint, making it two out of three wins for Stramaccioni on the day our captain Javier Zanetti matched Dino Zoff as the third player with the most Serie A appearances with 570 with only former Inter goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca (592) and AC Milan’s Paolo Maldini (647) appearing more times than him, both of which are now retired.
Just a week ago Stramaccioni was celebrating the Inter Primavera NexGen Series final win and now this week he’s in charge of the first team that has struggled for the last couple of months under the direction of Claudio Ranieri. Since the announcement by Massimo Moratti on Monday evening that the 36-year-old youth team coach was taking over as caretaker coach a new optimism has engulfed everyone associated with Inter.
With his humble but charismatic character he seems to have won over the changing room and with his background in charge of the Primavera squad there is a great expectation of him being the ideal person to phase out the older players in the squad and replace them with a selection of the most promising talents from both the first team and youth squads.
Inter’s week 29 2011/12 Serie A match away for the first time at the new Juventus stadium didn’t end as I was hoping it would. Even though I knew our chances in this match were slim at best, considering the difference in form this season between the Bianconeri and the Nerazzurri, I still held on to that faint glimmer of hope that Inter could be the first team this season to hand our old enemy a defeat.
Of course that was asking too much of Claudio Ranieri and our aged team and even though we didn’t manage to beat them we did put up a good fight and make them work hard for their win.
Ranieri opted for his 4-4-2 formation for the game with just two changes from the squad that flopped against Atalanta last week, bringing in Dejan Stankovic in place of Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Forlan partnering Diego Milito instead of Giampaolo Pazzini. New boy Fredy Guarin made another step towards his debut and was picked to sit on the bench as one of the back up brigade.
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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.
The week 26 match against Catania at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza was being considered a last chance saloon for Claudio Ranieri and just to add more pressure to the Italian coach’s situation, earlier in the day the man most people are touting as his replacement, Andre Villas-Boas, was dismissed from Chelsea FC after an unconvincing season in the English Premier League.
Ranieri himself must have realised he really is close to losing his job as for this match he decided to return to his winning formula of the 4-4-2 formation, opting to put our under fire trequartista Wesley Sneijder on the bench instead of risking once again playing him behind the strikers. Also despite being called up to the initial squad, Claudio decided to play it safe and drop Maicon from the match squad completely as he is still feeling some discomfort in his knee that was injured in the Champions league match against Marseille.
This meant that Javier Zanetti and Yuto Nagatomo took up the full back positions either side of Lucio and Walter Samuel, this is all well and good apart from he started Zanetti as left back and Nagatomo in his weaker rightback position. This of course is from the coach that has publicly said in the past that he’s not convinced by Zanetti as left back?!? New boy Juan Jesus took a step towards making his debut but unfortunately spent the entire match on the bench, this was a disappointment to me as I’m looking forward to seeing what the Brazilian defender can do, and there were times during the match where a quicker defender would have been very useful for Inter.