Seven weeks into the season, Inter continues to redefine the term, "Pazza Inter" (or crazy Inter). Ninth place in Serie A, a coach on the brink of being fired, and the recent announcement of Honorary President Massimo Moratti leaving the club, all created a fervor that reflected the tumultuous times for the Nerazzurri.
While Inter were currently experiencing difficulty in the league, the Nerazzurri were top of their Europa League group and were hoping to continue their winning ways as they hosted Saint-Étienne at home. The second placed French squad reportedly brought 10,000 supporters to the match in hopes of increasing their chances of an away win.
Would Inter continue their good form in Europe or would St. Etienne play the spoilers?
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(Note: Prior to the start of the match, all of the players gathered behind a UEFA banner that read "No to Racism." Hopefully this campaign will encourage everyone to respect each other both on and off the pitch. For other pictures from the Inter site, click here).
Official Lineups from the Inter site:
INTER: 30 Carrizo; 6 Andreolli, 15 Vidic, 5 Juan Jesus; 25 Mbaye, 17 Kuzmanovic, 90 M'Vila, 10 Kovacic, 22 Dodò; 13 Guarin; 9 Icardi
Substitutes: 1 Handanovic, 8 Palacio, 20 Obi, 23 Ranocchia, 44 Krhin, 88 Hernanes, 97 Bonazzoli
ST. ETIENNE: 16 Ruffier; 2 Theophile-Catherine, 26 Bayal Sall, 24 Perrin, 19 Pogba; 18 Lemoine, 6 Clement, 28 Diomande; 21 Hamouma, 13 Van Wolfswinkel, 27 Tabanou
Substitutes: 30 Moulin, 7 Gradel, 10 Cohade, 12 Saint-Maximin, 20 Brison, 22 Monnet-Paquet, 23 Baysse
Carrizo started in goal with a back line of Andreolli, Vidic, and Juan Jesus; the five man midfield consisted of Mbaye, Kuzmanovic, M'Vila, Kovacic, and Dodo; with Guarin slightly behind Icardi who stood as lone striker.
Guarin started the match wearing the captain's armband as he faced his former club.
Inter pressed forward in the first few moments of the match and dominated possession of the ball.
A free kick taken by St. Etienne was the first real offensive threat by either side in the 23rd minute but the French side was unable to convert their opportunity for goal.
Mbaye helped defend against Theophile-Catherine's attempt as St. Etienne again tried their hand at goal in the 34th minute.
Inter maintained possession of the ball for the majority of the first half but had few real attempts at goal. Meanwhile, the French side countered in attack and had a couple of chances but fortunately they did not materialize into anything substantive.
The first half finished with the score line of 0-0.
In the 2nd minute of the second half, there was contact in the box between Inter defender Mbaye and St. Etienne winger, Hamouma as they both fought for the ball but no penalty was rightfully given despite the away side's protestations.
Inter's first real threat on goal was a terrible miss by Kuzmanovic in the 18th minute of the second half.
In the 23rd minute, the away side tested Carrizo but the Argentine reacted well as he easily saved the shot on target.
The Nerazzurri made substitutions in the 8th (Hernanes for M'Vila), 25th (Palacio for Guarin), and the 40th minutes (Krhin for Kuzmanovic) but to no avail as there were no goals to be had in this match.
With 61% of the possession and four shots on target (seven off target), the Nerazzurri received a point from the draw. After three matches played, Inter continue to lead Group F of the Europa League with seven points.
With the midweek European match behind them, Inter will surely be focused on the away match to Cesena at the weekend.
Inter 0-0 St. Etienne
First half: N/A
Second half: N/A