After winning 5 games in a row, Inter finally had to face more challenging opponents. Over the following span of 4 matches against Fiorentina, Juventus, Sampdoria and Palermo, the Nerazzurri were only able to accumulate 3 points. The few certainties that helped the Nerazzurri earn their first 15 points started to teeter, in particular after the ugly defeat against Fiorentina, which was a huge blow for the team's confidence. In fact, three matches after that unlucky Sunday, our team is still fighting for the first place. In fact, they are at the top of the standings for at least one night, waiting to see what the other teams involved in this race will do.
The game started as slow as anyone who has watched Inter this season could have predicted, even though against an underwhelming opponent like Bologna the Nerazzurri should have pushed on the gas pedal at the referee's first whistle.
We had to wait until the 38th minute for the first true Inter scoring chance, and it came from a free-kick from the by-line by Adem Ljajic who found Perisic inside the box, but his header ended way wide despite being really close to goal.
The only other play to note from the first 45 minutes was a beautiful solo play by Bologna's Alex Ferrari, who cut through Inter's defence like a knife through butter. Infortunately for him Santon decided to ruin his effort and blocked Ferrari's shot attempt at the very last moment.
The second split was unarguably better than the first one, without being exactly exciting though.
Icardi had the opportunity of tasting the ball right after the start of the half, but his header from a long pass by Ranocchia was too weak even if he directed it into the goalmouth and Da Costa saved it without any problem. 3 minutes later Inter created another goal scoring chance, but Perisic was too careless while trying to find Icardi inside Bologna's area and his pass was easily grabbed by the Rossoblu keeper.
The biggest chance for Inter - apart from the one that resulted in goal - came at the 59th minute, when Icardi and Perisic momentarily switched roles, with the Argentinian making a low cross for the Croatian who wasn't able to find the bottom of the net, with his shot being saved by a Bologna defender.
One minute later Felipe Melo picked up his second yellow card of the game and he had to leave the game early. Banti was too inflexible here and the Brazilian didn't deserve the sending off, but in retrospect we should thank the referee, because this was the turning point for the Nerazzurri and it helped them playing with more tenacity and intensity.
At the 67th minute Perisic intercepted a careless pass from Gastaldello, Brozovic recovered the sphere and passed it to Ljajic right away, who was kept onside by Gastaldello himself. The ball wouldn't have reached the Bosnian if Ferrari wouldn't have scuffed the clearance, allowing Adem to find Icardi all alone inside the area, who just needed to tap the ball in.
The rest of the match saw Inter trying to defend the result, without too many worries to be honest. There weren't a lot of chances for both teams until the very last minute. Bologna's Destro had a huge opportunity to finally even the match, but he wasn't collected enough to angle his shot and Handanovic ended up making a truly amazing save.
Mancini should think about what happened in the second half. His midfield started to click after Melo's ejection, and it was plain atrocious before. I'm not saying that Melo is detrimental to the team, but that maybe Inter need less people in the middle of the pitch. This would seem to allow the midfielders to play more box-to-box and less from side-to-side, especially Geoffrey Kondogbia, who has amazing physical and athletic tools, but he his not that good when he needs to think too much at what he needs to do.
I like Jonathan Biabiany playing the last 25-30 minutes of the game. Mancio said that he isn't ready to play a full match yet. But I wouldn't start him even if he is completely healthy, because he looks so much more effective playing at the end of matches when the opponents are tired and he can unleash all of his incredible speed and quickness.
Our defence was very solid once again, even if Andrea Ranocchia was in the starting XI for the first time this season after playing hideously last year. He looked sharp and the presence of the always calm, precise Miranda surely helped him play with less pressure. I'm waiting to see him play against a more challenging opponent before judging him, but he made a very good impression last night. I hope it wasn't just a fluke, but the beginning of a new and more successful chapter of his up and down career.