- Stefano Pioli
Inter’s dreams of ending a 5-year hiatus from the Champions League will remain just a dream. At least for one more season, as tonight’s draw away at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin against Torino effectively extinguished all hopes of making a much needed and desired return to Europe’s top club competition. And the culprits are none other than Inter themselves after a display of abysmal finishing in front of Joe Hart’s gaping goal.
It is quite difficult to comprehend how a team that has scored 12 goals in the last 2 matches can behave so impotently in front of the oppositions goal, especially when that goal is ‘guarded’ by Joe Hart. The English international made a couple of good saves but this match will be remembered for the 2 howlers by Hart that would have even embarassed legendary Colombian clown René Higuita.
Inter followed up last week’s display of ruthless efficiency in front of goal with what can best be described as abysmal finishing against a Torino side, who aside from Joe Hart’s clownish antics in goal, demonstrated just how shaky their defence is, to put it mildly. How else can anyone explain that Inter had 19 attempts on goal and only 4 hit the target? And who else best illustrates that point and how poor of a night Inter’s attacking players had than Ivan Perisic? The Croatian winger had 6 attempts on goal, 4 of them clear goal scoring opportunities yet didn’t manage to hit the target once. That is unless the target was one of the lovely middle-aged ladies selling delicious salsiccia panini’s outside the Stadio Olimpico.
Antonio Candreva may have scored a goal tonight but his crossing, decision making and passing was pathetic and in all honesty, that’s describing his performance in nice terms. Torino’s Molinaro was on him like a rash and Candreva was completely unable to deal with the tight marking and high pressure which the former Juventus full-back put him under. The lack of competition for the 2 winger positions was glaring as well as staring Inter in the face, since in any other team with top 3 ambitions in any of Europe’s top 4 league’s, both of these gentlemen would have been brought off at half-time at the very latest.
Candreva and Perisic were hardly alone in having a dreadful night in Turin, in fact the only two Inter players that weren’t awful and thus were Inter’s best players on the night, was Cristian Ansaldi and Geoffrey Kondogbia. The former stated before the match that he is working hard on returning back to the form he had at Genoa and when adding tonight’s performance to the ones against Atalanta and Cagliari, it’s hard to argue against him. Geoffrey Kondogbia scored his first goal of the season which also happened to be his second Serie A goal since joining Inter in the summer of 2015, with the first one coming last season against Torino.
A 2-2 draw away against Torino is no disaster especially when considering that Mihajlovic’s men have only lost once at home this season, a defeat that came against cross-town rivals Juventus. The Granata should be complimented on how they played, as they completely dominated the first quarter of the second half and fully deserved to be in the lead. The criticism against Inter’s performance tonight is partly due to how much Torino put them under pressure forcing Inter to make mistakes. However, the main portion of blame is on Inter for displaying a lack of focus, concentration and determination when it mattered the most, not to mention all the unforced errors caused by sloppy passing. Given how the season started it’s difficult to criticize Inter too much, but given how well the team has come back and how close they’ve been to achieving their objectives, tonight leaves a bitter taste. A taste Inter have tasted far too many times these past few seasons. It’s the taste of being your own worst enemy and drawing blanks when it matters the most.