The Nerazzurri looked to extend a two game win streak as the Milan based side traveled to Sicily to face Palermo. Inter were hoping to carry on their good form that led to an uncontested home victory over Sassuolo (7-0) and continued as they won away from home to the Ukrainian Dnipro side (0-1). The Barbera is always a difficult venue to play in and Palermo a tough squad to face as opponents. Can Inter continue this winning streak or would the Rosanero burst the Nerazzurri bubble?
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Palermo: Sorrentino; Anderlkovic, Terzi, Feddal; Morganella, Bolzoni (Belotti 65), Rigoni, Barreto, Lazaar (Drapelà 73); Vazquez (Quaison 83), Dybala.
Substitutes: Ujkani, Vitiello, Pisano, Pereira, Christoffersen, Palmieri Dos Santos, Ngoyi, Chochev, Quaison, Bamba, 33 Daprelà, Belotti
INTER: Handanovic; Ranocchia, Vidic, Juan Jesus (Hernanes 65); D'Ambrosio (Dodo 56), Guarin, Medel, Kovacic (Palacio 79), Nagatomo; Osvaldo, Icardi
Substitutes: Carrizo, Berni, Jonathan, Andreolli, Palacio, Campagnaro, Kuzmanovic, Obi, Dodo, Mbaye, Krhin, Hernanes, M'Vila
Inter began in a 3-5-2 formation with Handanovic in goal; Ranocchia, Vidic, and Juan Jesus in defense; a five man midfield of D'Ambrosio, Guarin, Medel, Kovacic, and Nagatomo; and a strike force of Osvaldo and Icardi.
Palermo scored in the 3rd minute of play as Vidic was caught napping in the back allowing the home side to take the lead. The Rosanero continued to dominate possession of the ball as Inter had difficulty stringing together any semblance of an attack throughout much of the first half.
La Beneamata was quite fortuitous as Palermo player Feddal made a mistake and failed to clear the ball. The ball was left in the path of midfield magician, Mateo Kovacic and the young Croatian international struck the ball well as it landed in the back of the net. Kovacic's goal equalized the score line in the 42nd minute of the first half and gave Interisti hope that a win was still possible.
To make up for his egregious error, in the 45th minute, Vidic headed the ball into the Palermo goal but he was ruled offside and the goal was nullified. From the video replay, it seemed that Vidic was onside, here it is courtesy of @danmari83, so you can judge for yourself.
Il gol annullato a Vidic https://t.co/LqZZb0KWWF— Daniele Mari (@danmari83) September 21, 2014
The Nerazzurri started slowly but as the half wore on they began to dominate the ball in the latter portion of the first half. Unfortunately, as the second half began, Inter once again started slowly and Handanovic was fortunate to save a deflection from Juan Jesus in the 2nd minute of the second half.
It seemed as if Inter's misfortune had turned as Icardi scored in the 50th minute but once again another Nerazzurri goal was disallowed due to the referee. Another dubious offside that negated another Inter goal. At this juncture of the match, two referee decisions disallowed two Nerazzurri goals.
The Inter players never seemed to react well after Icardi's disallowed goal and while both sides had their chances, the score line remained at 1-1. Even though the players looked a bit flat and most likely were fatigued from the Europa League match the Inter supporters may feel justified in feeling wronged as two controversial referee decisions took two goals off the scoreboard for the Nerazzurri.
(Please click here to read TB's piece on the over 7,200 miles that Inter will need to travel throughout Europe for the Europa League competition).
Mazzarri did change tactics from a three man central defense to a four man line when Juan Jesus was substituted in the 65th minute. This formation may favor Vidic who has had a difficult time transitioning to Serie A whether it be the league itself or the three man defense that Mazzarri prefers. It is a good sign that Mazzarri is open to changing tactics but to do so mid-match may not be the most conducive in producing positive results.
Additionally, Inter seem to be having difficulty rebounding between the brief interval of a midweek Europa League match and league play. Mazzarri has his work cut out for him as the Inter boss needs to rotate more players if there is any hope to compete deeply within both European and domestic competitions.
Inter have a few days to rest before hosting the other Nerazzurri team, Atalanta at home on Wednesday, September 24, 2014. It is still early in the season and while presently sitting in 6th place in the league is nothing to be worried about (yet), if Inter does not begin to win against teams in the lower half of the table, it will provide future problems.
The score line should read Palermo 1-3 Inter but due to two disallowed, controversial referee decisions, the official score line is:
Palermo 1-1 Inter
First Half: Vazquez (3'), Kovacic (42')
Second Half: N/A