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SerieA: Atalanta 3-2 Inter

Inter’s winning streak came to a halt in Bergamo, where Atalanta beat the Nerazzurri 3-2 in Week 12 of the 2012/13 Serie A.

There were no three points today but plenty of character shown by Andrea Stramaccioni’s side to battle back after going behind. Despite starting on the front foot, the Nerazzurri found themselves a goal down after 9 minutes of play as Bonaventura rose well to connect with Peluso’s inch-perfect cross. Denis had a great chance to make it two in the 36th minute but skied his effort from the edge of the six-yard box.

Fredy Guarin made no mistake with his 56th-minute free kick, blasting an absolute rocket past a helpless Consigli. Inter’s joy was short-lived though, because four minutes later Atalanta restored their lead as Denis slotted home Maxi Moralez’s low delivery. The Argentine midfielder caused more problems in the 67th minute when he ran into the box, seemingly from an offside position; Silvestre’s challenge made contact with the ball but the Atalanta man fell over and Mr Damato had no doubt it was a foul. Denis converted from the spot to take the score to 3-1. It wasn’t over there. As the game entered the last five minutes of normal time, Gargano picked out Palacio in the box and the Argentine finished clinically. 3-2 and all out attack for Inter in the final minutes, but it wasn’t to be. Atalanta were reduced to ten men in stoppage time when Parra saw red for a push on Guarin. (via inter.it)

Find out who I think is responsible for this defeat in my article on ESPN FC

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Europa league: Partizan Belgrade 1-3 Inter

Inter sealed their place in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 with two games to spare. Rodrigo Palacio grabbed himself a double after coming off the bench before Fredy Guarin made it three late on: Partizan were beaten 1-3. It was the Nerazzurri’s tenth victory on the spin in all games and also their tenth consecutive away win – a new club record.

The first half finished goalless thanks to Handanovic, who kept the scores level with two top-class saves from Ivanov in the space of a minute, proving once again how important he is for this team. After the restart, having rode their luck a little with Juan Jesus almost inadvertently succeeding where Ivanov failed, Inter took the lead thanks to Palacio, the Argentine well placed to chest home Guarin’s powerful cross. Partizan intensified their efforts and sought an equaliser but Handanovic kept the door shut. With 75 minutes on the clock Palacio made it 0-2, latching onto Guarin’s through ball and sprinting towards goal before beating Petrovic with a neat angled finish. Guarin twice the provider, Palacio twice the finisher. Inter weren’t in the mood for sitting on the lead though, and with three minutes to go Guaro added his own name to the score sheet after collecting Cassano’s through ball, with Palacio involved in the build-up. Tomic scored a consolation goal for Partizan in the last minute of normal time.

Stramaccioni’s side now sit on 10 points, level with Rubin Kazan and their place in the knockout stage is certain. All that remains to be decided is who will qualify as group winners: Rubin Kazan v Inter in two weeks’ time may well settle the matter. (via inter.it)

Read my full article on the match on ESPN FC

SerieA: Inter 3-2 Sampdoria

Inter have beaten Sampdoria 3-2 at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in driving rain, and move to 24 points in the table.

The hosts created chances in the first period yet it was the visitors who took the lead on 20 minutes. Samuel and Ranocchia got in a tangle from Tissone’s free-kick and Munari was there to pounce. The Nerazzurri equalised after the interval though, as Milito scored from the spot on 53 minutes. Costa brought the Argentine down from behind, and the referee rightly awarded Inter a penalty and gave the Sampdoria defender his marching orders. ‘El Principe’ then dispatched the spot-kick and punished the visitors who were now a man light.

Inter then made use of their powerful front line, first through Milito who hit the post, before Palacio scored the Nerazzurri’s second after 68 minutes, after Cassano had broken well. Fant’Antonio then struck the crossbar from a free-kick. Inter’s third goal arrived ten minutes from time: Nagatomo broke forward, waited for Cassano to arrive and then fed his team-mate. The man from Bari then rolled the ball to his right where Guarin skipped past Estigarribia before lashing a shot past Romero. Eder grabbed an injury time consolation for the visitors but it was Inter who emerged with all three points. (via inter.it)

Read my views on this Halloween fright fest in my full article on ESPN FC

Europa League: Inter Grind Out 1-0 Win Against Partizan

An 89th-minute header by Rodrigo Palacio gave Inter all three points in their 2012/13 UEFA Europa League Matchday 3 clash with Partizan Belgrade. The Argentine striker came off the bench on the half-hour mark to replace Coutinho, a real handful for the Serbians before being forced off injured. Lazar Markovic struck the post on 21 minutes and was denied by a fantastic save from Handanovic, which led to El Trenza scoring from the resulting counter-attack less than a minute later.

The win takes the Nerazzurri up to 7 points in Group H alongside Rubin Kazan, while Neftchi and Partizan Belgrade remain on 1 point. (via inter.it)

Read why this win, despite being uninspiring, is a good omen for Inter in my full article on ESPN FC

Europa League: Neftchi Baku PFC 1-3 Inter

Inter dominated this Group H Europa League game against Neftchi with their youngsters proving their worth, especially Phillipe Coutinho who once again was fantastic, adding weight to my argument that he should be Wesley Sneijder’s heir and be replacing the Dutch trequartista fairly soon, as I discussed in my article ‘It’s time to offload Sneijder’ on ESPN FC

The youngsters really shone in this game as did Fredy Guarin, the future is looking bright for Inter.

The first half was all Inter and Guarin, looking more like a winger tonight, was at the heart of the first two goals. Ten minutes were on the clock when the Colombian drifted in from the right and played a neat pass for Coutinho, who turned the ball past Stamenkovic with a crafty backheeled flick. Guarin then provided more of the same for Obi to score with an easy finish on the half-hour mark. Inter’s third came in the 42nd minute with a bit of help from Bertucci, the defender wrongfooting his own keeper with a deflected intervention that enabled Livaja to nod home. Canales pulled one back shortly after the restart but the hosts didn’t have enough to trouble the Nerazzurri further.

Inter scored their 500th and 501st goals in European competitions this evening and the win takes them to the top of Group H alongside Rubin Kazan on four points. The next Europa League appointment is in three weeks’ time when Partizan Belgrade visit the Meazza. (via inter.it)

Read my full opinion on Stramaccioni’s choices for this match in my article on ESPN FC

Zeman Gives Stramaccioni’s Inter a Masterclass in Attacking Football

One of the most anticipated games of the 2012/13 season came in just the second game week with two of the most attack minded teams in Italy going head to head. It really was a battle of the tacticians with new boy Andrea Stramaccioni taking on the coach who at 65 years old is nearly twice his age, Zdeněk Zeman.
The game ended Inter 1-3 Roma and if you didn’t see the game you would think from that score line that the Roman side ran rings around Inter in front of their home crowd. This however wasn’t strictly true, if you take a look at the match stats (provided by whoscored.com) you can see that Inter was actually the more dominant of the two sides in terms of possession and shots on goal. Over the ninety minutes Inter held on to the ball for 53% of the match and managed a respectable 21 shots on goal, of which only six were on target though, finishing is obviously an area that needs work for Inter. Where Inter really lost out in this match was in aerial balls but when you consider how short the majority of the Nerazzurri players are that isn’t really any great surprise.
So how did Roma manage such a convincing win against Inter?

Read the full article on ESPN FC

Year Zero

Pre Season is over we have qualified for the Europa League and have 3 points in the bag after a convincing win over Pescara.  The Serie A season has arrived and the mercato is finally closed.  It’s time for optimism and controversy to guide us through the season.

Back in December I wrote an article called Sitting on the Fence.  I talked about the issues with the clubs dealings in the mercato, managerial appointments, the intention of Moratti and where he was planning to take our great club.  I said I was going to remain sitting on the fence until the 31st August 2012.  The article was written at a time when people where perhaps being a little short-sighted. After a couple of bad seasons people were calling for Moratti’s head.  If you have been an Inter fan long enough you know the last couple years are nothing on what it use to be like.

So the 31st of August has passed.  It’s time to remove myself from my comfortable place on the fence and make a decision.  It’s an easy one, I’m siding with Moratti and his plans. In the December article I was talking about the need for a plan, for the structure of the club from top to bottom and to take some steps for future income. For the first time since Mourinho’s time at Inter, I see clear ideas, I see the direction of were our great club wants to be. I like to think Moratti has learnt from his mistakes made over the years and this summer may be another step in showing this. Moratti has taken this club to the highest point since the 60’s, we may have fallen rapidly since 2010 but now Moratti is building not just a team but a club capable of repeating that great achievement in the years to come and staying there.

So Year Zero has arrived.

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Inter Dig Deep To Qualify for Europa League Group Stage

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The final aggregate score of Inter 4-2 Vaslui fails to really show how hard the Nerazzurri made this win look, but if you look at the second leg stats alone it becomes more clear, down to ten men after just 33 minutes and only just managing a draw in front of their home crowd, this was by no means the easy game that most people had anticipated.

The game started with Andrea Stramaccioni taking for granted that the two goals Inter brought into this match would be easy to defend and qualification for the group stage seemed a certainty, so he decided to rest several key players including Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder ready for the Serie A clash against Roma on Sunday.

Read the full article on ESPN FC

SerieA: Pescara 0-3 Inter, ‘El Principe’ shines in season opener

The first game of the 2012-13 Serie A season for Inter was a 3-0 victory away from home at the Stadio Adriatico, home of newly promoted Pescara. Inter boss Andrea Stramaccioni decided to line up his squad in a 4-3-2-1 to try to counter the home side’s attacking 4-3-3 formation that they persist with, despite no longer having Zdenek Zeman as coach, who used the tactic to get them promoted from Serie B last season.

Luca Castellazzi in goal was excellent throughout the game making several crucial saves as the Pescara attack tested him all through the first half…………………………………………

Read the full article on ESPN FC

Europa League: FC Vaslui 0-2 Inter

In the Europa league play off first leg the Romanian side Fc Vaslui played host to Inter at their temporary home of Stadionul Ceahlaul as their home ground, Municipal only houses just over 9000 fans which isn’t big enough to play European games.

The game marked a very important landmark for Inter as the legendary captain Javier Zanetti marked his 800th appearance with the Nerazzurri……………………..

Read the full article on ESPN FC

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