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Postmatch Recap: St. Etienne 1-1 Inter

The Nerazzurri walk away with a draw from their Europa League encounter...

Claudio Villa

After the mess that Inter were in following the loss at Parma, Inter needed to refocus their energies on the Europa League and their French opposition, Saint Etienne.  Walter Mazzarri has been under fire, and if the squad continued to be underwhelming, the rumors of him being let go would surely be closer to fruition despite the management's denials.

Lineups:

ST-ÉTIENNE: Ruffier; Perrin, Bayal Sall, Pogba; Theophile-Catherine, Lemoine, Clement, Tabanou; Hamouma, Erdinc, Gradel

Substitutes: Moulin, Mollo, Van Wolfswinkel, Brison, Monnet-Paquet, Baysse, Diomande

INTER: Carrizo; Andreolli, Vidic, Juan Jesus; Mbaye, Kuzmanovic, Medel, Kovacic, Dodo; Palacio, Bonazzoli

Substitutes: Handanovic, Osvaldo, Icardi, Obi, Ranocchia, Donkor, Palazzi

Match Summary:

Inter made a few changes from this past weekend, as Juan Pablo Carrizo took the place in goal for Samir Handanovic, while Andrea Ranocchia was also given some midweek rest.  The back three consisted of Andreolli, Vidic, and Juan Jesus (who was also captain on the night).  The midfield comprised of Mbaye, Kuzmanovic, Medel, Kovacic, and Dodo while Palacio and Primavera starlet Bonazzoli rounded out the attack.

The first half started out with Inter attacking and holding possession of the ball, as well as controlling the tempo of the match.  The Nerazzurri had the first chance at goal early on in the second minute, as Andreolli headed the ball over from a corner.

The first twenty minutes had three Inter corners, none of which were converted.  The best chance from open play came from Palacio, who was on the receiving end of a Kuzmanovic through ball.

St. Etienne took control over the next ten minutes, as they attacked Carrizo's goal.  After two corners and testing the Inter defense, Carrizo was forced into action but saved the ball cleanly.

Inter finally broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute, as Dodo scored off a ricochet off the post.  Mbaye crossed the ball into Palacio, who had the initial shot on goal.  St. Etienne keeper, Ruffier, blocked the initial shot, which Dodo put away.

The visiting side had complete control of the first half, which was a welcome sight after the debacle at Parma this past weekend.  Inter were up 1-0 going into the break.

Unfortunately, the second half was a complete role reversal between the two sides.  As much as Inter owned the first 45, St. Etienne took control of the next 45.  The French side came storming out of the break and were rewarded within five minutes of half time, as they capitalized on a corner.  Vidic lost his man during a corner, and Bayal Sall scored the equalizer to make it 1-1.

The atmosphere was already boisterous, but the goal really brought the crowd to life.  St. Etienne seemed to feed off their fans, and it seemed like the majority of the second half was Inter defending against a side that had not scored in the Europa League prior to the earlier goal.

The match started to get physical, as Tabanou was yellow carded due to a harsh foul on Mbaye.  As the clock started to wind down, players from both sides were starting to get into each other's faces, and frankly for Inter, the referee couldn't end the match soon enough.  St. Etienne had two more solid chances before regulation was up, and the match was called for full time after the three minutes of added time were up.

Goal scorers:

1st Half: 33' (Dodo)

2nd Half: 50' (Bayal Sall)