Olympique Marseille defeated Inter 1-0 with Andre Ayew's last gasp header in the UEFA Champions League last-16 first-leg tie. OM won the game beating Nerazzurri at their own game.
Claudio Ranieri's starting eleven revealed clearly his game plan:defend deep and counterattack. (You can do it with Walter Samuel back in the defensive line).
Inter's coach chose the good old diamond in midfield: Stankovic in Thiago Motta's central spot, Zanetti on the right, Cambiasso on the left, Sneijder in his favourite trequartista position behind the two forwards Zarate and Forlan. A brave gamble to pick this duo. By technical and tactical points of view Ranieri's decision proved to be correct: in the first half the attacking pair created four goal opportunities, two each: Zarate at minutes 5 and 37, Forlan at minutes 10 and 22. Ranieri wanted fresh legs and the long rest (Forlan played only few minutes since his arrival; Zarate has not been in the starting line since November) guaranteed he got them at the price of possible rusty finishing. And he got it too: those four chances were not exploited at best by Zarate and Forlan.
If Inter did little, Marseille did nothing. A total zero until the minute 78 when Ayew's header signalled the homeside's first goal attempt. Abedi Pelè's son was the only menace in the final minutes and it's hard to understand why Chivu was Ayew's designed marker for the final corner. Concentration is not one of the former Ajax sweeper main strenghts: the way Chivu allowed Ayew to jump and head the ball in the corner is another piece of bad defending that will be added to the mountain of mistakes Nerazzurri's defence made this season. A healthy Inter would have never lost this game, a healthier Inter would have no problem to win by two or three goal margin in San Siro. But after four consecutive defeats without scoring, you wonder how long will it take to see this team playing with confidence again.
UEFA Champions League 2011-12 – 1/8 1st leg
OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE-INTER 1-0
Olympique Marseille: Mandanda; Azpilicueta (80′ Fanni), Diawara, N’Koulou, Morel; Diarra, Cheyrou (84′ Kaborè); Amalfitano, Valbuena, Andrè Ayew; Brandao (73′ Jordan Ayew). Coach: Deschamps
Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon (46′ Nagatomo), Lucio, Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Stankovic, Cambiasso; Sneijder; Forlan, Zarate (63′ Obi). Coach: Ranieri
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir
Goal: Andrè Ayew 93′
Yellow cards: Diawara; Stankovic, Zarate, Chivu