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FC Inter Milan
Posted by Gianni Serra on 11/21/2010

Inter paid the price for another dismal performance as they crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Chievo Verona at the Bentegodi Stadium. Sergio Pellissier fired the hosts in front in the first half and his substitute Davide Moscardelli scored the second with nine minutes remaining. And with only few seconds left Samuel Eto'o scored arguably the most meaningless goal of his career. The defeat leaves Inter nine points behind table-toppers AC Milan and six behind Lazio.

Massimo Moratti: time for action? ©Getty Images

Injuries forced Rafa Benitez to avoid experiments. The Spanish coach selected the most logical lineup with Esteban Cambiasso returning alongside Dejan Stankovic in midfield, behind the Pandev-Sneijder-Biabiany trio. After few minutes it was plain to see that not even the return to the old deep defensive line seemed to help. Humility, good sense and conservative tactics sometimes are not enough when players are paralysed. And Inter players were.

In the post-match conference the Spanish coach tried to protect and reassure his players, who looked very demoralised. "I think my players today were brave and they fought very hard on a heavy pitch. I know we are supposed to win these games but in a couple of days we'll have the chance to win against Twente and to qualify for the Champions League's next round. I think it's important," said the Spaniard.

Benitez was man enough to avoid any excuses. No mention of the post hit by Goran Pandev from a tight angle at the minute 13. The Spanish coach admitted that Castellazzi, with three fine saves, was the best man on the pitch for Inter and that says it all.

The Chievo's game was treated like a Cup final by Inter board but the players' attitude was more typical of a team fighiting to avoid relegation. Amateur defending and lack of creativity and fluidity were evident.

Samuel Eto'o scoring at the minute 92 his 18th goal of the season [in 17 appearences!], when the game was nearly over, sums it up Inter's misery. Despite the striker's outstanding vein seems unstoppable, his goals do not help Inter avoiding defeats. On the contrary, at the moment Inter and Eto'o seem to go opposite directions.

Poachers are used to say that any goal matters. Not true. The mark of the true Champions, the ones with capital 'C', is that they score decisive goals. In the previous 91 minutes, when Inter desperately needed a goal or at least a shot, the Cameroon striker tried only once and it went over the bar. Eto'o made people in Verona aware of his presence only at the minute 37 when he headbutted [à la Zidane] Chievo's defender Cesar in the chest. A silly retaliation not sanctioned by the referee. But Inter' number nine may face a disciplinary action that could result in a 3-game suspension. A behaviour irresponsible and inexcusable, to say the least. Most of all not accapable from a footballer so experienced.

Inter need desperately a leader on the pitch. Someone willing to carry the team on his shoulders when the going gets tough. It was not a problem last season because the leader was on the bench. Nationality? Portoguese. No, not Quaresma. Mourinho's charisma was so big to be felt on the pitch by Inter players and by their opponents too. That factor's gone and the Boys should behave like adults now.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Luca Castellazzi. He was the difference between a 2-1 and a 4-1 defeat.

Serie A 2010-11 / Day 13

CHIEVO-INTER 2-1 (1-0)

CHIEVO VERONA: Sorrentino, Frey, Andreolli, Cesar, Mantovani; Fernandes, Rigoni, Marcolini (Guana 64'), Constant (Bogliacino 86'), Thereau; Pellissier (Moscardelli 67'). Coach: Pioli
INTER MILAN: Castellazzi; Santon, Lucio, Cordoba, J. Zanetti; Stankovic (A. Mancini 86'), Cambiasso (Nwankwo 55'); Pandev, Sneijder, Biabiany (Alibec 67'); Eto’o. Coach: Benitez

Referee: Rocchi
Scorer: Pellissier 28', Moscardelli 81'; Eto'o 92'
Yellow cards: Fernandes, Rigoni, Thereau; Stankovic


Posted by Baron on 11/22/2010

Your comments and report has a particular bias on Eto'o. In the match where there is no coherence, begining with the coach with his old school tactics and line-up, what do you expect Eto'o to do? Play the whole field? No way, the players are just too big for Benitez. That is the problem he is facing. He has never been a coach to a team with such big, old stars whom he seems to be afraid of. In this light he is even unable to discipline them. Only Mourinho had the God's because he has a bigger charisma than any player in the team. What achievement has Benitez got to deserve respect or be listened to by these heavy duty players?

Posted by Benson II on 11/22/2010

I hope you have no bias towards Eto'o, and just may be disappointed that he allowed himself to be suckered by Caesar. Apparently you did not mention the incident that preceded the head but. I hope you do not think that he is just another uncivilized african who just runs to Caesar and head-butts him. why did you not mention Sneiyder poor play all season, Pandev inability to score. Stankovic inability to make a pass. etc. The thing is that at the MOMENT, every team in Serie A knows that eto'o is the only goal threat at inter. so they will do anything to provoke him. Finally, i think Mr Morratti needs to, may be take a huge loss and get rid off most players that are not the regular starters, because the rest are just crap. They cannot pass, cannot hold the ball, cannot shoot straight and they make poor decisions when on the field. Once you get past the regular starting 11, there is no one off the Bench that is a difference maker. biabiany, rivas, macini, suazo, pandev and santon

Posted by maf interfan on 11/22/2010

I would have really liked this article of you just didn't mention Mourinho at the end. Srsly, all Interisti should not compare Benitez to Mou. Yes, he won a freakin' TREBLE! But srsly, if you are goin to compare Benitez then compare him to the way Inter has been playing for the last half decade overall. This is where I feel Benitez is failing! We have never been out of the top 4 let alone have a 9-point gap between the leaders. Still will be cheering for them against FC Twente and hope we can start playing the way we did just a month ago when we scored the fastest 3 goals ever in CL (which just over a month ago). But please, don't bring up Mourinho...nobody, not even Mou himself, can repeat what he achieved with Inter again.

Posted by interesti on 11/22/2010

agree with maf interfan. we shud stop comparing Benitez to Mou...its pointless

Posted by Gianni on 11/22/2010

@ Baron and Benson: I need to clarify. I have no bias towards Eto'o or anyone else in the team. Benitez included.
You demand more from the best players not from mediocrities. Eto'o is one of the best, certainly the best this season. He has scored tons of goals everywhere and two very important ones in two CL finals [the mark of the Champion...]. But vs Chievo Eto'o had been a pedestrian for 91 minutes like Sneijder... Inter are in trouble and you can't expect the likes of Pandev, Santon, Biabiany or Nwankwo to come to the rescue of the teammates: too average or too young. Eto'o is an outstanding goalscorer but not a leader.
@ maf: Sorry, I didn't mean to repeat the usual comparision. My intention was to stress that Mourinho protected, motivated, treated players like children, Benitez like consumated pros. But few of them seem ready to take responsabilities.

Posted by Sam on 11/22/2010

The problem is Inter look beaten when they take the field, not one yesterday did I feel that we would win that game. The only notable time that Inter broke through Chievo's defence and looked like scoring was Pandevs effort that hit the post, after that nothing. As a team we are not creating anything. We can only hope that Eto'o does a bit of magic and scores by himself. This in itself is dangerous for two reasons. It puts too much pressure on Eto'o to score AND it could also mean that Eto'o will lose faith in his team mates and instead of passing or putting a teammate through on goal he will shoot. As for the headbutt, he should be banned for a few games for that. You just cant do that sort of thing!
The team is a mess and CL qualification must be our goal now. Moratti cannot let Benetiz choose the players that come in in January or the squad will be ruined and Santon cannot be sold. If Benetiz stays the squad must be built for a new coach next season, not for this man.

Posted by Benson II on 11/22/2010

Please tell us how you want eto'o to play. Since Eto'o is likely to be banned because all of Italy is asking for it, Let us see what italy's favorite MILITO can do. Do you know why no big club has hired Milito until inter. He has played in italy and spain yet only got to a big club at age 30. Eto'o was at real madrid at 15 years of age. It is because Milito is just one dimensional. These days most coaches want a little more. Milito who is about 80% of time offsides. Milito the very, very selfish player who even tried to get his younger brother sent off in a game in argentina. Milito the one that needs a hug and a kiss to perform, Milito who needs to be loved for him to perform.
For me I wish Eto'o will leave inter so that way there will be peace in Italy.
Finally, please analyze and write about the performances of sneiyder, pandev, biabiany, milito, maicon, chivu, santon, mattarrazi, cordoba etc.

Posted by jambon on 11/22/2010

I think you are very biased against Eto'o. You have not investigated to find out what insults he received from Caesar. Secondly, a goal is a goal whether scored on the first or last minute. If it were Casano or Inzaghi who scored, you could have said they have fighting spirit. But now that it is an African, you only look and riduclous state for how long you want him to be banned. Please, Eto'o deserves more respect!

Posted by Sam on 11/22/2010

I cant understand why so many people have taken offence to the writers comments about Eto'o. He is not criticising Eto'o merely making an observation that although Eto'o is scoring a lot and looking like an improved player, the team seem to be going in the opposite direction. Many people wondered why Eto'o didnt play in the centre under Mou, the reason is now clearly obvious. The team functioned better with Eto'o on the wing, even though it was not his favoured position. Benetiz has failed to make such a bold decision.
As for the headbutt, well it was clearly not good, no matter what was said. Anyone who watches football however knows Eto'o is not a mean or bad tempered player and he was clearly provoked and frustrated. Despite this he will be banned and rightly so I am afraid to say. Hopefully when he comes back it will be to an Inter that has found its courage again and where Eto't can be a key part of the team and not the one player carrying it along on his back.

Posted by Benson II on 11/22/2010

I understand your comments. This is the problem i have with everyone that says that Eto'o should remain on the wings. Is Eto'o playing at the point why milito is out injured so far this season. will eto'o playing on the wing miraculously heal Milito. Will he start banging in the goals again which he has not done so far this season when he has played. why must eto'o have to pay for his versatility. Do you know why Milito has not been hired by a big club until INTER and at age 30. He played in Argentina, italy, spain and back to italy; it is because he is one dimensional. He is about 70% offsides. Why must milito be loved, hugged and kissed for him to perform. Finally, If sneiyder played more like XAVI, Eto'o, Milito and even Pandev will get the goals. Maicon was world class last season because of eto'o, even chivu looked a good LB because of eto'o. Now they have been exposed as not so good; so they get themselves injured to avoid been humilated further and to get benitez fired.

Posted by krayzie on 11/22/2010

Gianni, i agree with most your post, but your comment about champions with a capital C, as regards to eto not being one was off key. He has scored decisive goals all his career, so the fact he scored 1 in the 91st as oppossed to the first should not be an fact he should be applauded for fighting till the last minute(as his effort for the goal showed).lastly, eto is a true champion, with a capital C. back to back trebles, countless goals and league titels, 3 african player of the year awards, etc make him one... lastly, i do not like inter, so im happy bout the current situation.

Posted by eyambe on 11/23/2010

Eto'o can't play the entire field by himself,he has created so many scoring opportunities for his teammates, but they can't finish particular Pandev, Sneijder lacks the necessary creativity to unlock defenses and he thinks he is a striker by taking bad shots, he already has taken more shots than Eto'o

Posted by Gianni on 11/23/2010

As regards Sami Eto'o, I have already explained my views in the post nr 5. Anyway, post nr. 9 (Sam's) has summarized and interpreted my thoughts even better (thanks).

PS I am sure Eto'o will score decisive goals vs Twente

Posted by Benson II on 11/23/2010

That is italy for you.. 3 match ban and 30,000 euro fine.
Caglari was fined 22,000 euros for Racist fans.

No matter what you write here, You all wish eto'o does not score or do well so and you all want him out of Italy. I wonder if you are an inter fan. I just wish your argentine Italian favorite Milito will start scoring so that Eto'o can leave italy aswell.

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