Terzo Tempo – Working hard and working well

Terzo Tempo – Working hard and working well
September 14, 2014 17:17
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The international break was cruel for Interisti who finished the match at Torino with a bad taste in their mouth. The words “same old story” came to mind and there was too much time to think about where the previous match could have ended. However, in words familiar to us all, we are Inter! Our enthusiasm and support for our team is not easily deterred. I took this same enthusiasm into the match against Sassuolo. Inter’s lineup underwent a few changes from the Torino match. Andreolli stepped in for the suspended Vidic, while Nagatomo replaced the injured Jonathan. Osvaldo and Icardi began the game in attack and Mazzarri sported a nice cast, while the Curva Nord was empty.

The first half began with Inter pressing and their work paid off quickly. Kovacic drove to the net with the ball and had his shot deflected into the way of Icardi. The Inter striker had his original shot shaved but would not be denied and his persistence paid off after a couple cracks at the ball. The pressure did not stop and Inter continued to press down the wings through Nagatomo and Dodò and Andreolli forced a Peluso shot wide after some good defensive work.

The positive play continued well past the 20 min mark as Inter continued to impress. The Nerazzurri were soon up 2-0 after Icardi flicked a ball on to Osvaldo, who tapped the ball on to a running Kovacic. Kovacic beat his marker and made no mistake on the finish, sliding the ball past a helpless Sassuolo keeper. Not long after this Inter added to that lead and Icardi was not lying when he said, “this was his spot”. The striker received a pass on the left side, took a touch and then and buried another stunner, curling it around the outstretched hands of the keeper. That was not the end though. Dodò did some great work down the left side beating his marker and staying hungry for the ball. His first shot was saved after breaking into the box and his follow up bounced off the keeper right to an unmarked Osvaldo who hammered the rebound home.

The first half was as great display with the entire squad playing together. Hernanes and Kovacic combined perfectly and could do so due to Medel’s immense work rate in the midfield. At the back Juan used his pace and Ranocchia was solid, with Dodò flying up and down the wing causing trouble for the Sassuolo back line.

The second half started the same as the first, with Icardi on the score sheet. Kovacic played a slick pass into the box and Mauro ripped a left foot finish across the net into the top corner. However, Inter were getting it done at both ends and the Nerazzurri back line continuously stifled Zaza. Handanovic was not as busy as he has been in the past but made a great save off a shot from Taider and then collected the rolling ball before it crossed the line.

Sassuolo’s frustration began to shine through and in an act of pure stupidity Domenico Berardi lashed out with an elbow to the face of Juan, directly in front of the referee. The player was given a straight red card and selfishly put his team down to 10 men.  With the Nerazzurri’s lead seemingly sealed, Mazzarri began to make changes and Mbaye took the field for Nagatomo, followed by Guarin taking the place of Kovacic. The pace of the game began to slow down a bit with Inter beginning to hold the possession and pass around the dejected 10-man Sassuolo team. However, the goals were far from done as an unselfish Guarin slid across to an unmarked Osvaldo to tap in from 6 yards. Osvaldo then returned the favour, sending Guarin through to fire off the post and in. Guarin seemed moved by his goal and celebrated by pointing to the Inter crest and pulling on his shirt. The last 20 minutes looked more like a training ground exercise, with Inter passing the ball around. Palacio came on for Dodò and Inter switched to a back 4 but the game wound down without incident.

Throughout the game I was reminded of a Jose Mourinho quote, in which the coach stated that teams must work hard but they must also work well. Today Inter worked both hard and well from start to finish. The strikers combined intelligently and showed that they could play together. Hernanes and Kovacic were dynamic in the midfield, setting up the strikers, holding the ball and chasing down Sassuolo players. Medel was a monster at both ends, going into ever tackle without fear and helping out the defense. The back line was great as well as Juan showed pace, while Ranocchia and Andreolli were both solid. Both Nagatomo and Dodò had good showings on the wings and all the subs all contributed. This was a compact performance from the Nerazzurri and showed us exactly what this team is capable of.

By Joseph Postorino