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.
The Serie A week 33 match against Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi was Inter’s first since the untimely death of Piermario Morosini last weekend and before kickoff both teams stood united in a minute silence to honour his memory.
This was really a must win match for Inter if they were to keep up the pressure on finishing in the last Champions League spot of third, and everything seemed to be in their favour as Fiorentina have had an even more disappointing season than that of Inter, finding themselves sitting on the edge of safety down the bottom of the table. Inter also were handed the advantage that the Viola were without key players like Amauri who was suspended and Stevan Jovetic who is injured, not only that for reasons unknown to me, Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi decided to have Riccardo Montolivo on the bench instead of on the pitch. This combined with the fact they were playing two teenage and fairly unexperienced center backs meant that Inter started the game with a huge advantage over the home side.
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.
With AC Milan’s 4-0 win over Arsenal last week and Napoli’s 3-1 win against Chelsea on Tuesday night the flag of Italian football was truly flying high, so it was up to Inter to finish the job against Marseille and make it three out of three for calcio. This though, in reality just added extra pressure for our under fire coach Claudio Ranieri to get the right result, with the rumour mill and the world’s media claiming a loss in France would signal the end of his Inter career.
Despite this immense pressure on his shoulders and with Massimo Moratti, his son Angelomario and his nephew Angelo in the stands behind him watching every move and decision, he started the team with the slightly risky 4-3-1-2 formation. His starting lineup consisted of Julio Cesar in goal. Maicon, Lucio and Walter Samuel as you’d expect in defence with Cristian Chivu surprisingly taking Yuto Nagatomo’s place at left back. There was another surprise in the three-man midfield as alongside the obvious selections of Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso, Ranieri started the Serbian veteran Dejan Stankovic?!? No I don’t understand it either considering he had the in form Andrea Poli on the bench. Ahead of these Wesley Sneijder sat in his usual trequartista role behind Mauro Zarate (Yes yet another surprise starter!) and Diego Forlan who was making his Champions league debut for Inter.
I can’t believe it! Last night I was unable to watch the match and typically it seems to have been an unmissable game with ‘il Principe’ scoring all four of Inter’s goals, a feat last acheived by Christian ‘Bobo’ Vieri on the 1st December 2002 when the Nerazzurri beat Brescia 4-0.
Despite the incredable performance at the attacking end of the pitch it seems that our defence and Julio Cesar in goal had a nightmare game letting in just as many goals including a hattrick from Miccoli meaning that we take just one point from this home game 😦
The mood coming in to the week 20 match at the Stadio Via del Mare against Lecce was positive as third place Udinese had lost to league leaders Juventus meaning that if the Nerazzurri repeated their home result of 4-1 against struggling Lecce again we would move in to third place ahead of Udinese by goal difference, the reality was very different though with the fans positive mood not seeming to be shared by the squad.
After the mid-week defeat against Napoli in the Coppa Italia it was widely thought that the Lecce match was a great opportunity to bounce back with a win and carry on our great run of league results, but Lecce had other ideas.