Inter were held scoreless for the second straight match as its late-season tailspin continued with a 1-0 loss to lowly Genoa. How bad was it? Well, Genoa had won just once in its previous 18 matches, including six losses in its last seven games prompting manager Ivan Juric – who only took the job three weeks ago – to openly weep during his press conference following a 2-1 setback to Chievo on April 30.
Genoa had conceded 16 goals in its previous five matches prior to Sunday’s win, but Inter helped the Rossoblu look like their 1923-24 Scudetto-winning squad – which gave up just 13 goals over the entire campaign – as the Nerazzurri had two players whiff on a simple tap-in from five-yards out in the first half before missing a penalty in the second session.
To make matters worse, former Nerazzurri forward Goran Pandev came off the bench to score the winner, although he did earn the respect of Interisti for his muted celebration. It was only fitting then that Inter wore white as it meekly capitulated against Juric’s struggling troops, who they themselves were on the verge of collapse.
In classic Inter fashion, it went from challenging for a Champions League spot following a 7-1 thrashing of Atalanta on Mar. 12 only to go on a seven-match winless slide to ensure that another manager – the fourth in less than 12 months – takes his best shot at reviving a fallen Italian giant.
Here’s what we learned from the disappointing loss to Genoa:
Pioli Dug His Own Grave
Stefano Pioli all but sealed his fate – which was confirmed on Tuesday night – after the listless display at the Marassi. His decision to leave out Joao Mario and Gabigol while starting Eder up front didn’t help his own cause as the ex-Sampdoria forward failed to impress against his former rivals.
Pioli’s inexplicable decision to pull off Mauro Icardi in favour of Rodrigo Palacio caused a domino effect as Inter’s captain and penalty taker was not on the field to dispatch the spot kick, which consequently led to Antonio Candreva’s miss.
Pioli deserves all of the flak for his continued reliance on Palacio. The Argentine has failed to score in all 11 of his substitute appearances in Serie A this season. He has a better chance of solving the Italian youth unemployment problem than finding the back of the net.
Pioli’s justification following the match was just as puzzling. “Icardi wasn’t having his best day,” he told reporters. “I wanted to shake up the attack with fresh legs.”
Wait, what?! Palacio is an ageing 35-year-old veteran whose time in the Italian top flight is over while Icardi is the midst of battling for the Capocannoniere.
Pioli has lost the dressing room after a bright start with the club and will be lumped in as one of the umpteenth managers Inter hired after Jose Mourinho left for Real Madrid in 2010.
The Players Are Already On Holiday
The players have already packed it in as evidenced by another uninspiring performance. Inter had their chances, especially Candreva, who rightfully bore the brunt of the Interisti’s wrath after missing an open net and pulling rank on Gabigol for the penalty.
It’s not the first time Candreva has resorted to such methods as he pleaded with Ever Banega to take a free kick against Atalanta, but on that occasion the Argentine international waved him off before scoring on the ensuing effort.
At least Gary Medel had the decency to apologize to the supporters after Inter conceded a goal for the 10th consecutive match.
“I want apologize to all the fans because they don’t deserve this,” he told reporters. “We will try to give our best for the rest of the season.”
Inter is still playing for a potential Europa League berth but it’s time to play the youngsters along with Icardi and give the likes of Trent Sainsbury his Inter debut. The sooner this season is over the better as the Nerazzurri prepare for another Year Zero.
Max De Luca is a journalist based in Toronto, Canada and has been published on Reuters, CBC, Yahoo, Goal, USA Today and many more. Every week Max pens a column exclusively for SempreInter.com discussing the most pressing topics of the past week.