ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Inter Milan
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FC Inter Milan
Posted by Gianni Serra on 02/17/2011

Ok, no more extra games in hand. From now on it will be an even contest. Only five points separate Inter and the current serie A leaders AC Milan, after Nerazzurri defeated 2-1 Fiorentina in Florence.

Not a classic but another tough game. Fiorentina had some good spells, whereas Inter lost some fluidity in the search of the right balance between the new attacking culture and the need to protect a defence which is missing both Samuel and Lucio, the core of last season triumphs.

Leonardo changed very little after the game lost in Turin - Stankovic replaced Thiago Motta; Nagatomo started on the left, while Zanetti replaced Kharja in right side of the midfield diamond. Nagatomo is no Maicon but he can be a new weapon in Leonardo's arsenal. The left flank at Inter is often used to slow down the game's pace and let the other players regroup, with Nagatomo an offensive option again. The Japanese full back has pace and skills to break defences and create panic. Not a grey sub.

After the initial advantage [thanks to a Camporese's own goal at the 6th minute] Inter never looked comfortable or dominating. The Viola's equaliser came in the most unexpected way [a cross from the left which ended its curve in goal] but it was a deserved reward for the home team efforts.

A great save from Julio Cesar and another couple of chances from both teams could have added some more goals in the final three minutes of the first half. A well timed tap in from the ex Viola Pazzini at the minute 62 gave Inter the lead. Nerazzurri, led by an increasingly confident Ranocchia, managed to control the result until the end, which can be seen as a good sign by Leonardo.

In Turin Inter had to face a possible draw (1 point) turned into a defeat (no points); in Florence the Italian champions managed to turn a very likely draw (1 point) into a win (3). Easy math. Inter are back in the Scudetto race, plenty of chances and opportunities ahead. The League version of AC Milan, where Cassano and Van Bommel are eligible to play, is much stronger than the timid and confused outfit seen against Tottenham or, some months ago, against the likes of Real Madrid and Ajax. So it's an open contest again.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Nagatomo. If his movement is called into action more timely by his team mates he can be more than a mere alternative to Chivu.

Serie A 2010-11 / Day 17 rescheduled fixture


Fiorentina: Boruc; Comotto, Gamberini, Camporese, Pasqual; Montolivo, Donadel (73' D'Agostino), Behrami (86' Babacar); Santana (27' Ljajic), Mutu; Gilardino. Coach: Mihajlovic
Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Ranocchia, Cordoba, Nagatomo (72' Kharja); J.Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic (89' Obi); Sneijder (82' Mariga); Eto'o, Pazzini. Coach: Leonardo

Referee: Damato
Goals: Pasqual 32'; Camporese (og) 6', Pazzini 62'
Yellow cards: Comotto; Stankovic

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Posted by Sam on 02/17/2011

Solid win for the boys, these are the results that you have to grind out and take the points with a smile. As you said it could have easily been a draw so we must be happy. The title race is very much on and not just for Inter, Napoli have been highly impressive also and for me these three teams are most likely to fight it out.
The derby will be a massive game for Inter but I think we could still challenge even if it is a draw. Milan, although better than last season, are not a great team, their midfield is aging and inadequate whilst their defence is just average. They will drop points in the run in. All this adds up to an intriguing run in over the next few months.
Good to see a fast option on the left too, it has been a trouble position for as long as I can remember and it will be nice to have some options. Any idea what sort of price we would be looking at to buy Nagamoto outright?

Posted by Footyfetish on 02/18/2011

Nagatomo Man-of-the-match?!! You must have been watching a different game, or you have some kind of bias. He was one of Inter's worst players in this game, oftentimes it looked like there was no one on the left flank, his passing was errant, crosses going nowhere, etc. He has pace, for sure, but his defending was awful, Mutu & Gilla ran circles around him. Chivu's two classes above him, and he's a natural left-footed player, unlike Nagatomo. Inter will be happy when they get him back.

Posted by Pedro on 02/18/2011

Footyfetish, Ranocchia was my man of the match, but Nagatomic was a revelation too don't be so hard.
Sam you're right AC Milan is an ageing team that will drop lots of points very soon... Please have a look at Milan next 6 games: Chievo, Napoli, Juventus, Bari, Palermo, Inter. I am very confident we will overtake them before the derby

Posted by Moises on 02/18/2011

I heard the game on the Internet radio, so I can't really give my veredict on Man of the Match. But Eto'o (as always) took part on both goals and Ranocchia had a great game too.

All I know is that, this is a 3 Horse Race and if by any chance Inter can't win the Scudetto (The team can't give away points) I would much rather help Napoli win. I checked both Milan and Inter fixtures, pretty even and this derby will be SUPER IMPORTANT, it will all come down to that game.

Posted by Pietro on 02/18/2011

Ranocchia man of the match.
Passing was the main problem of this game: Nagatomo's passes didn't find the right person, Sneijder-same. If nagatomo work on his passing, he will be good on left side.. Stankovic was also good in this match, Eto'o too ;-)

Posted by Nima on 02/19/2011

Our team still doesn't play with an identity, every game we seem different like we're still soul searching and given that we are winning and in viola case win I can't complain. Naga is young but he has confidence in his ability. Also maicon is not the best defender so stop bein harsh on the young Japanese. He has potential. Wes played awful let's not forget! He rushed passes and had bad accuracy. For me once your at the only way is down... the beneamata could only go down after a treble so its a period of change. Inter are addressing the financial fairplay issue and we look good compared to other top European teams. Forza inter

Posted by Gianni on 02/19/2011

@ Sam. The agreement between Inter and Cesena is that Inter can get permanently the Japanese player paying 6 million at the end of the season.
@ Footyfetish. When I choose a 'Man of the match' I'd like to single out a player who deserves a particular mention on that day, not necessarily the best [otherwise this season it would be Eto'o 8 times out of 10]. I remember I gave the 'Man of the match' recognition to Materazzi - He played so badly that he was the key of Inter's defeat; so he had to be considered the man of the match [this is my view of the thing anyway]

Posted by Footyfetish on 02/20/2011

@ Gianni. I see what you mean regarding Man-of-the-Match. Fair enough. Btw, that wasn't a knock on your column/blog, which I always enjoy reading. As for Nagatomo, he was given another chance to prove today and, as far as I'm concerned, he didn't take advantage of. He was again rather poor, brought nothing significant to Inter's offensive play and made some defensive blunders along the way. Then again, maybe he needs more time, I'm not sure, but I just don't see him as a regular starter in this team. Cheers!

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Posted by Lida on 10/30/2012

Ok nel giro di 10 giorni abimbao lasciato l'intera stagione, puf2 succedere dopo un'annata fantastica come la scorsa che ci si senta un po' scarichi ed appagati, forse lo siamo anche noi tifosi. Non credo comunque che serva una rifondazione ma sicuramente dei buoni innesti soprattutto a centrocampo, gente con piedi buoni e tanto fiato.Dobbiamo anche pensare che non si possa vincere sempre, l'importante e8 vincere spesso.FORZA INTER!!!

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Con tanto dispiacere non posamsio credere che questa Inter contro lo Schalke e8 la vera Inter, e per questo anche il presidente Moratti e8 cosciente che alcuni giocatore sono inutili nella squadra quindi dobbiamo fare alcuni buoni acquisti. Perche8 noi non ci dobbiame accontentare con le cinque titoli che abbiamo vinto l'anno scorso, dobbiamo continuare ad avere ambizione di vincere tutto.Filardi - Milano

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