Heading into the 30th round of league fixtures, Inter were the last amongst the Serie A teams to play their midweek match against Udinese. The Nerazzurri were hoping to erase the last minute goal that led to Sunday's loss against bogey team, Atalanta.
As the Nerazzurri hosted visitors, Udinese, one expected a deluge of goals scored if their history was considered but what type of performance could the Inter faithful expect from their beloved squad, one that would make the supporters proud or one that may be better left forgotten?
Official Lineups from the Inter site:
Inter XI (3-5-2): Handanovic, Ranocchia, Samuel, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Guarin, Cambiasso, Hernanes, Nagatomo, Palacio, Icardi
Substitutes: Carrizo, Zanetti, Andreolli, Campagnaro, D'Ambrosio, Rolando, Kovacic, Alvarez, Kuzmanovic, Taider, Botta, Milito
Coach: Walter Mazzarri.
UDINESE (3-5-1-1): Scuffet; Heurtaux, Danilo, Domizzi; Widmer, Badu, Allan, Pereyra, G. Silva; Bruno Fernandes; Muriel
Substitutes: Brkic, Kelava, Naldo, Bubnjic, Yebda, Adson, Lazzari, Pinzi, Maicosuel, Zielinski, Di Natale, Nico Lopez
Coach: Francesco Guidolin
Officials: Gervasoni, Di Fiore, De Luca, De Pinto, Doveri, Aureliano
(Please click here for the Live Match Thread and comments).
To change things up, Mazzarri while keeping his favored 3-5-2 formation, reintroduced Samuel as the central centerback while Juan came back from his three match suspension to play on the left and Ranocchia on the right. The midfield five also changed as Jonathan, Guarin, Cambiasso, Hernanes and Nagatomo (in for D'Ambrosio) connected the defense with the Argentine strikers, Palacio and Icardi.
While Udinese striker Di Natale usually invokes fear in rival fans, the legendary goal scorer was on the bench for this match.
The game started with both sides coming out wanting the win. There was an early chance on target for Udinese in the 3rd minute but Handanovic handled it easily.
Jonathan had a few runs down the right side but unfortunately was not able to connect with any of his strikers and the play was an even exchange in the midfield as both sides attempted to gain any advantage.
There was not a lot of action on the pitch during the first half despite the constant change in possession. While Inter battled for control, crosses were not connecting with the strikers up top. In fact, Icardi did not have his first touch until the 30th minute of the first half and there was yet to be a shot in target until deep into the second half for Inter.
The half came to an end with a score line of 0-0.
Mazzarri taking out his frustration on a bottle:
Inter came out in the second half with a more attacking tone in the second half and clearly took possession of the ball.
The Nerazzurri's first substitution was Alvarez for Guarin in the 9th minute of the second half. This change provided a more attacking, up tempo pace that reflected Inter's desire to win.
Hernanes took a free kick in the 13th minute of the second half that went wide of goal.
Finally, in the 20th minute, Hernanes took a shot that forced a save from the Udinese keeper. This was Inter's first shot on target of the match.
Ranocchia looked to be pulled down in the Udinese penalty box in the 39th minute of the second half but the referee saw differently. Additionally, there was a possible handball on the Udinese defender but again the officials deemed there was no penalty to be called. (Note: heading into the 30th round of league fixtures, Inter have yet to be awarded a penalty).
Despite the offensive introduction of Alvarez and then later on Milito (41st) and the increased possession and opportunities for goal, while the game seemed to open up for Inter in the second half, the final touch for goal was not present for the Nerazzurri today.
The first half performance was poor by any standard but the increased midfield possession and attack in the second half warranted a goal for the Nerazzurri. Unfortunately for Inter, the game drew to a close with both Inter and Udinese collecting a point for their draw as the final score remained at 0-0.
Inter are in 5th place in league standings, three points behind 4th placed Fiorentina and one point ahead of 6th placed Parma. The hunt for European competition is alive and well with eight more rounds to go as Inter look towards their next match against Livorno on the road.
Inter 0-0 Udinese
Goal scorers: N/A