ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - FC Inter Milan
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FC Inter Milan
Posted by Gianni Serra on 03/13/2011

Inter wasted an easy win at Brescia, while AC Milan avoided an embarassing home defeat against Bari. Five points still separate the two.

Inter left Brescia with the first draw of Leonardo's regime. The 1-1 came after Nerazzurri conceded the equaliser with only six minutes remaining and Julio Cesar saved a penalty at the minute 90.

In Tennis when you fail to convert too many break-points it's almost a certainty that your opponent will grab his only chance straight away. Nothing to do with fate. The reason lies in the sudden exchange of roles and the inability to settle immediately in the new one - the 'hunted hunter' finds hard to cope with the new situation requirements. To avoid similar problems you need to possess one thing called 'killer instinct'. Inter simply don't have it.

At the minute 18 the Champions of Italy took the lead thanks to Samuel Eto'o and it was plain to see that the team wanted to put the game to rest as soon as possible. Inter had several opportunities to score but failed to find the net for the second time, missing golden chances with Pandev and hitting a post with Sneijder. Bad luck? Not only.

A poacher is Inter's missing ingredient. This kind of player is exactly what Nerazzurri have been missing for the whole season, despite Eto'o's outstanding scoring vein [31 overall goals, 19 in serie A] seem to suggest the opposite. The Cameroon striker can create goals out of nothing, Pazzini [cup tied] can score too, and both are scoring quite regularly. But none of the two is the kind of finisher Milito is - the old Milito, of course. Players a là Milito, Lineker, Trezeguet or Inzaghi [one chance one goal] help a lot when you are tired or not at the top of your game and you need to kill the game off quickly. To appreciate the importance of this kind of players, just look at Arsenal - under Wenger the Gunners kept the tradition of playing entertaining football but won nothing after the likes of Ian Wright and/or Thierry Henry left.

To be one goal up with only six minutes left, it's not a safe margin anywhere for the current Inter, not even at Rigamonti against a team well known for declining in the second half. But Lucio's injury forced Leonardo to replace the Brazilian ace with Cordoba at the minute 65. Then, with only 12 minutes remaining, Leonardo chose to replace Nagatomo [positive again] with Materazzi, moving Cordoba to the left to accomodate 'Matrix' alongside Ranocchia in the centre. Calamitous decision.

The most obvious choice would have been to bring on Obi to play in midfield, moving Zanetti to the left to fill in for the Japanese fullback. Choosing instead to bring Cordoba out of position and Materazzi out of retirement was a double mistake. The Colombian allowed Caracciolo to equalize at the minute 84 with a wrong header; six minutes later his foul on Eder was sanctioned with a penalty, saved by Julio Cesar.

AC Milan home draw against Bari kept the 5-point gap unchanged, which means the title race is still open. But next stop for Inter is Munich. And Bayern sent an unequivocal message defeating Hamburg 6-0 (first half 1-0) to end a 3-match losing streak with brilliant performances from Ribery, Robben and Van Buyten. Inter are not Hamburg but to win at the Allianz Arena the European Champions need to have Lucio back and to play far more bravely than in the first leg. With more determination and self-belief.

Before Brescia's game Leonardo set the bar very high for himself and his guys: "We can still achieve the Treble and I think this team has the quality to do it again". Actually Inter are still involved in the three competitions won last year [Scudetto, Italian cup and Champions League] but no one sees a new 'Triplete' as a realistic possibility. Especially the players do not seem to share their coach optimism.

Man of the match: Ivan Cordoba. Always fit and reliable. A true pro. But it will be hard to forget the final 12 minutes played against Brescia, as they are the worst ever played by the Colombian centreback in his illustrious 11-year career at Inter.

Serie A 2010-11 / Day 29


Brescia: Arcari; Zebina, Bega, Zoboli; Zambelli (61' Eder), Konè, Vass (83' Lanzafame), Hetemaj, Berardi (26' Daprelà); Diamanti, Caracciolo. Coach: Iachini
Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio (65' Cordoba), Ranocchia, Nagatomo (78' Materazzi); J.Zanetti, Stankovic; Sneijder; Pandev, Pazzini (70' Kharja), Eto'o. Coach: Leonardo

Referee: Rocchi
Goals: Caracciolo 84'; Eto'o 18'
Yellow cards: Daprelà, Zebina, Hetemaj, Kone; Maicon
Red cards: Caracciolo (94'); Cordoba (89')

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Posted by Tunde Maryland on 03/13/2011

Gianni Serra when did Milito become a better finisher than Eto'o,how many years has Milito played at top level bar last year? watch eto's performance with Barcelona in both finals of the Champions league, then you will have to retract that statement.

Posted by Gianni on 03/13/2011

'Tunde', it's amazing how some people take any reference to Milito as a criticism to Eto'o. Anyway, I do not have to retract anything. Everyone who reads my posts here or my articles in knows I rate Samuel Eto'o very high as he deserves.

Posted by Tunde Maryland on 03/13/2011

Gianni Serra, what Inter needs is another offensive option who can pick up the slack when Eto'o has an off day, Manchester United has Rooney and Berbatov, Barcelona has Messi and Villa, AC milan has Ibra, Pato, Robinhno, and the list goes on.

Posted by Moises on 03/13/2011

Unbelievable, had Inter won the match it could have been -3!! But the race is still on.

Posted by Sam on 03/14/2011

I was kind of worried about this match, it can be tough to get properly motivated against such a lowly rated team with a big Champions League match coming up. For me, had Milan won the chase for the scudetto would have been all but over. Fortunately the gods of football smiled upon us and we are still in the race.
So sad to see Cordoba have such a poor game, maybe he was trying to make Matrix feel better about himself by doing the mistakes for him! Inter have to put it behind them and concentrate on Munich now. We can definitely get a positive result there but we will need to be aggressive and take our chances. Def. agree we need a new goal scorer. Eto'o has been awesome and Pazzini has been doing his part but our right wing has been average. Pandev, despite his improvment is not getting the goals required for me, and he fluffed a few more on Friday. Hopefully a new right wing/striker will arrive who can score goals. Hopefully Milito will be back soon too, playing as he did last year!

Posted by nima on 03/14/2011

As a inter fan I can admit that once at the top only way is down. We can't expect to win every yr guys. After a treble its time to rebuild. Castagnos is signed + there are some talented youngsters on loan. This is a weak inter team with many Injuries after a awful start to a season due to Rafa. Lets be happy that we are fighting n showing courage. Our defence needs some serious attention and we need Satchel type of player to run at teams and scare them which we don't have. But let's not panic eh. Times aren't that bad. We are still in all comps n the Munich game was a Julio error.

Posted by Pietro on 03/14/2011

Nima, OK about Luc Castaignos. Hopefully he will be the answer. Funny line Sam about Matrix :-))) Tunde if Samuel is Rooney Diego is Berbatov so...

Posted by Moises on 03/14/2011

I read a comparison that was kind of funny, "Cordoba came in Muntari-mode" He lasted a lot longer though. But anyways, let's hope they erase that from their minds and put on a great performance to beat Bayern.

Posted by Pietro on 03/14/2011

Thx Moises, 'Muntari-mode' is a funnyone too :-)

Posted by Connor on 03/14/2011

I liked the line "Choosing instead to bring Cordoba out of position and Materazzi out of retirement was a double mistake"
Couldn't be more true.. Matrix NEEDS to retire. Asap. We need young players and skilled players, not old, out of pace, out of their twilight zone, etc. Matrix is a classic example of that.

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