Terzo Tempo – Handanovic and Icardi Save Inter at the San Siro

October 29, 2014 22:59
( 20 ) Comment


Tonight Inter took on high-flying, third-placed Sampdoria in a midweek clash with a variety of intersecting story lines. Former Inter player/assistant manager Mihajlovic returned to face his former team, to which he has been consistently linked this season as a replacement for Mazzarri. Similarly, Icardi started against his former team again after a very heated return last season. Campagnaro was ruled out of the match late due to a muscle strain; therefore, Vidic returned to the defence. Kovacic retained his spot in the starting lineup despite some concerns and Joel Obi started after a disappointing showing against Cesena.

Inter started this game positively, moving the ball forward with a bit of pace and making good runs off the ball. This movement almost paid off and the Nerazzurri were very unlucky not to go up 1-0 in the first 5 minutes as Kovacic sent Palacio through; however, Palacio decided to make a pass to Icardi rather than have a shot and that pass was poor. Palacio then had another great opportunity after being sent into the box from Hernanes but Romero got down well to save the shot. Inter were getting their chances but were just missing the final ball. The build up play was constructed with some urgency but the team was not moving forward together as effectively as they should.

Notably, Hernanes and Kovacic were both moving reasonably well together. Hernanes was making some good runs, reminiscent of his time at Lazio. His midfield partner Kovacic was slaloming through players with changes of pace as we know he can and made some quality individual moves as well. In defence Juan was playing with his usual grinta and Medel was both winning challenges and effectively moving the ball. Unfortunately, after the half-hour mark Inter’s attack began to stagnate and they were unable to break down Sampdoria’s defence. Consistently, Inter’s best chances came when they were running at Sampdoria and moving the ball with pace; however, this was rare and a majority of Inter’s possession was in the form of sideways passes in front of Sampdoria. Inter were lucky not to go into the break down 1-0 as on-loan player Duncan hit rocket off the crossbar after some confused defending in the Inter box.

Inter’s return from half time started flat and Samp began to gain more possession in the Nerazzurri half. Palacio had a great chance against the run of play but again put the shot wide of the net. Unfortunately for Inter, Hernanes was forced to come off and is likely going to add his name to the long injury list currently plaguing the Nerazzurri. Kuzmanovic came on for Hernanes and had a great chance to put Inter up 1-0 but completely missed the ball. Both Palacio and Kovacic also had chances to put Inter up before the 70th minute with Palacio being forced off the ball and Kovacic hitting his volley wide of the net.

The game began to get scrappy and you could feel the tension beginning to rise on the pitch. Both teams were going into tackles heavily and countering one another’s attacks with one of their own. Palacio continued to have a poor showing and missed a series of chances that he should have buried. This game was begging for Inter to take advantage of their goal scoring opportunities. Oddly, given the game seemed to be missing a striker’s touch, Mazzarri decided to substitute Obi for Mbaye, with both Bonazzoli and Puscas, who have both been scoring at will for the primavera remaining on the bench. Sure, they are young and unproven at this level but they have pace and are in form. Luckily the last minute fury of events saw Handanovic (Batmanovic) make an incredible save at one end and then Mauro Icardi converted a last minute penalty at the other end to give Inter the three points.

Inter won again tonight but once again it was not pretty for stretches of the game and it did not come without suffering, which is a little easier to take against third place Samp than bottom of the table Cesena. I think it is important to mention that a core of players performed admirably tonight. Hernanes moved well before he was taken off and Handanovic, Kovacic, Juan and Medel all worked very hard and put in excellent performances. Icardi deserves a special mention as well for hitting home another penalty after he was starved of service for most of the night. On to the next one.

Joseph Postorino
By Joseph Postorino
  • ErollG

    For Bonazolli and Puscas is highly debatable. We’re 0-0, 3 points is still a very big possibilites because sampdoria is crumbling (read the last 3 paragraph is about we keep missing great chances) the player are frustated because they miss a lot of chances. Put a 17 years old player on that kind of situation is not a good thing. Look at Mbaye who’s clearly have more experience in the serie-a, 1-2 month ago he’s still Our BIG PROSPECT, BETTER THAN AMBROSIO, DEFFINETLY BETTER THAN JONO. Now the hype is almost gone.

    • Mbaye needs consistency, he’ll come around eventually. He really performed great at Livorno last season and we should have him in mind on the long run. Certainly has more potential than Jonathan ever did 😛

  • ErollG

    How the hell that Mazzari get 2 star while the attack got three. You see how Palacio Misses chance after chance ? We’re creating chances and most of them are not from crossing. Especially in the second half, Sampdoria chances are limited to shot from outside the box from obiang & gabbiadini freekick and one counter attack that very dangerous. While Inter easily enter samp penalty box its not Mazzari fault that Kuzmanovic running free in the box, Palacio got clear chances few times, Kovacic shot without any samp defender covering him.

    • frigo

      When you’re coach of Inter, your team is on the 9th place and in the middle of the second half at home result is 0-0 you can’t put in Mbaye who’s more central defender instead of Obi if you want to win the game. That’s mediocre team who want to avoid relegation mindset. If you wanna win tough games, you have to make risks when is needed. With three central defenders it’s not so hard to understand that you can switch with four at the back and instead of one of the central defenders put in attacking player if you want to win. Doesn’t matter that they are too young, the chance to help for goal is much bigger compared to expect the same from central defender or Mbaye.

      • ErollG

        Risk ? There’s a risk of we’re losing grip of the match. Look at Sampdoria, are they playing better or worse after the substitution ? We’re dominating and its only about time we scored a goal. Those misses are unbelievable. Its only frustating because we couldn’t scored a goal. Puskas & Bonazolli are only 18 & 17, that’s why include them in a frustating match will put unnecesary pressure on the lads. Seriously i doubt a world class coach like Mourinho, Simeone or Ancelotti would subs in a 18 years old in Inter vs Sampdoria condition.

        • frigo

          That’s your opinion. But the facts are that we lose so many points since Mazzarri is our coach and made so many draws only because Mazzarri is afraid to take risks when is needed to win. After 60-65 minutes we slow down and can’t find the way to create opportunities, only passing between the defenders and kicking the ball in the air. If you remember when Mourinho was a coach and we have problems he made changes on the halftime, sometimes even trough first half. Mbaye is 19 and you expect his substitution to change the result, but not someone between Puscas or Bonazzoli?

          • ErollG

            But this is a review of Inter vs Sampdoria, not review of the previous matches. Mbaye is 19 but he play an entire season on serie-a with Pescara last season. The problem at sampdoria match is inter striker couldn’t score, and the only striker replacements is an 18 & 19 years old with no previous serie-a appearance. Look at our past youngster, Balotelli debut is as an substitute against Cagliari already winning 2-0. Santon debut is on Coppa Italia.

          • bastion_delhumanite

            **Livorno last season.

    • bastion_delhumanite

      Mazzarri’s substitutions were uninspired given the context of the game. It is explained pretty clearly in the article. Sure, Palacio missed a lot of chances. However, Icardi scored the GWG and is also a striker. Makes sense to me amico.

  • JustTheFun

    cant understand people who thinks that its a good 3 points… It will just let Mazzari have Thohir’s confidence , and he will remain here despite his shity results. Inter have to sack Mazzari in order to move forward , its vital . The team have to wait penalties or to play againts 10 players to win ! We are Inter , we are not a team which fight for the middle ! We have good players who can do better , but with this man , this con man , this charlatan we will just stay like this and not improve.

    • 1. Every 3 points are good 3 points, it’s what we want ultimately. So as long as we’re not a top team, not playing top football, I’ll be happy with each win we get, no matter how it happens.

      2. We should really keep Mazzarri right now, don’t expect that whoever arrives should WM get fired will be a top coach and a miracle worker like Mourinho who can make the team click in the middle of the season. It will either be Mancini or Moyes, Spaletti at best – certainly no one world class.

      If Thohir can find a really decent coach in the meantime and get him ready to take over next season so he can be sure that we don’t end up rescinding his contract in a year or two and basically go back to what Moratti used to do with coaches – pay them for sitting at home – then we change. But we don’t change for the sake of changing.

      • HP

        I am with you, we can’t sack WM now. But man! game after game, I feel so frustrated with WM. His lack of tactical flexibility and attitude during and after the games is hurting our players. Next year, E.T. really needs to get a good young coach who can motivate our players because they will be mentally exhausted and confused at the end of the season.
        I personally would like to see Spaletti at Inter. I think he did a great job at Roma. More than once they gave Inter a run for the money in those days. Even though Inter had a much better team, Roma played better as a team. The big stain in Spaletti resume is the 7-1 loss against MU in the Champions. But, The current Roma Team just lost 7-1 to BM, and that doesn’t mean that Rudy Garcia is not a great coach.

        • I completely understand you about Mazzarri, I don’t like the character he gives the team as well, but I really believe that we should act rationally, it was, after all, one of the reasons we criticized Moratti before he sold to Thohir.

          As for whoever inherits our bench, I’ve said it before, I’m dreaming of Bielsa, he is outrageously good tactics-wise, is very ambitious and strict and adopts a more exciting, enthusiasm-awakening style of play. Think he’d leave a legacy to all the players that would last a long time. So he doesn’t have to be young 🙂

          As for Spaletti, I’m not completely convinced, but I think he’s alright. Would also consider Ajax’s de Boer, Everton’s Martinez, Benfica’s Jorge Jesus… Of course, there’s always Simeone, but he seems out of our league right now. Maybe at some point in the future, when both Simeone and Inter are on the same page.

  • Zoki

    Handanovič is such a god, we are lucky to have him. A crucial victory that puts us one win from the CL spot.

  • interd1sia

    hohohoho. strikers who wasted their 90% chances given 3 and half star while the one who prepared this team only got two. hohohoho. what an objective one that is

    • Zoki

      While strikers maybe didn’t deserve 3.5*, that doesn’t mean Mazzari deserves more.

      • interd1sia

        if those strikers get 3,5 star then mazzarri definitely deserve more
        than 2

  • The Zlatan

    “Hello Walter, here’s two penalties, that should give you enough reassurance from the president for the rest of the season. We look forward to Champions League football next summer.”

    • Dani Milekić

      Hi Zlatan, we miss you.

  • Dani Milekić

    Keeper great as always, defense solid with JJ tackles, midfield good and actually fluent but attack is a disaster. We need a big name or a real talent this January…