After a disappointing draw against Empoli Saturday, the Nerazzurri bounced back really well with a 2-0 win against a less-than-impressive Sampdoria team.
I was at the stadium today and I can say that there was not any sort of tension or anxiety for this match, even though the team has not been playing at the expected level consistently. With this club you just don't know how they will play the next game: they can play great, solid games, giving the impression of being a top class team or they can be soft and sloppy. Apparently the fans knew that today the good side was on the field, mostly because they believe in Roberto Mancini.
First start, first goal for Shaqiri
The Swiss player was very pro-active and ran the right wing very well, showing a good shape (that is always a good sign from players who are trying to find a starting role). Shaq seemed a little bit anxious in this game, mostly because he knew that Inter fan are very demanding and they can easily be disappointed, despite that they showed great support to the player even after a wasted fast break that could have changed the score in the first half. All the chants for him were rewarded when he converted a great back heel pass by Lucas Podolski, beating Sampdoria's keeper Sergio Romero.
71 minutes to score against a ten-men team? Just too much
One sure thing is that Sampdoria is always a tough match up. I Blucerchiati have great energy and good pace. They run a lot and are very accurate with their passes. Anyway, playing with ten men for 60 minutes (red card for Krsticic who tried to stop Icardi headed to goal) and then nine men for 15 minutes (second yellow card for Wszolek) would be hard for any team, but Inter could not find the right opening in Sampdoria's defense to score until Shaqiri's goal. Two great opportunities were missed by the Nerazzurri in the first half: one when Kovacic failed to score in a one-on-one situation against the opponent's keeper and another when Icardi saw his penalty (earned by Dodò) saved by Sergio Romero.
The second goal came late in the second half when Mauro Icardi intercepted a sloppy pass by Lorenzo De Silvestri and found himself all alone in front of the goal and couldn't miss.
It has to be said that the Genoese team played it safe by barricading themselves in their own half for most of the match and allowing little space for the Inter attackers to convert all the ball possession in something more. One thing that has emerged in this first half of the season/cup rounds is that Inter is missing some sort of cold blood in terms of approach to games, they often appear insecure of their abilities and skills. But, maybe the reason can be found looking at their ID card, because we must remember that this is a very young squad in the middle of the rebuilding process, with very high hopes for the near future.
Lastly, it was a good game that helped both fans and players relax after a painful goalless draw at Empoli and to regain confidence in the squad through the solid efforts of newcomers Podolski and Shaqiri, who should each be really satisfied by their respective performances today (and Mancini will be pleased too). Now Inter Milan has to wait for the result between Napoli and Udinese in order to know who will be their next opponent in the Coppa Italia quarters.
Inter 2-0 Sampdoria
Scorers: Shaqiri 72', Icardi 88'
Inter: Carrizo; D'Ambrosio, Andreolli, Juan Jesus, Dodo (Obi 89'); Medel, Kuzmanovic; Shaqiri (Bonazzoli 79'), Kovacic, Podolski; Icardi (Puscas 89')
Subs not used: Handanovic, Berni, Palacio, Guarin, Campagnaro, Vidic, Krhin, Donkor, Hernanes
Coach: Roberto Mancini
Sampdoria: Romero; Wszolek, Gastaldello, Romagnoli, Acciatore (Silvestre 45+1'); Krsticic, Marchionni, Rizzo (De Silvestri 67'); Djordjevic, Okaka, Soriano (Duncan 46')
Subs not used: Viviano, Massolo, Correa, Obiang, Palombo, Bergessio, Eder, Fornasier, Ivan
Coach: Nenad Sakic