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Match Report: Genoa 3-2 Inter Milan – It's almost over (thankfully)

A terrifyingly open match (due to some atrocious defending) ended with Genoa getting a late winner and basically ending Inter's European hopes.

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Inter Milan traveled to Genoa knowing that a win was necessary to keep up the pressure on Sampdoria in the race for the Europa League. Though Genoa had their UEFA license rejected, they still wanted to play well and get a win in case their second appeal was granted. Plus, Gasparini's men (and their fans) want to finish the season higher on the Serie A table than their rivals Sampdoria. So both teams were very motivated to get a win in this match.

Mancini lined up his usual 4312. Handanovic was in goal, D'Ambrosio and Nagatomo as fullbacks with Ranocchia and Juan Jesus as centerbacks. Brozovic, Medel, and Kovacic made up the center 3 in midfield, with Hernanes in the hole behind Icardi and Palacio.

Genoa started more brightly and Maxime Lestienne forced Handanovic into a few good saves in the opening minutes, the biggest being a reflex stop from a Lestienne header after Inter had been unable to clear a cross.

Inter were able to take the lead though in the 19th minute. Hernanes sent in a ball that Icardi won in the air before poking it past Perin. (This puts Icardi level with Tevez at the top of the goalscoring charts going into the last match of the season.) That lead would barely last 5 minutes though, Pavoletti picked up the ball at the edge of the area, spun, and fired into the bottom corner.

The match at this point was unbelievably open and flowing from one side of the pitch to another in a series of rapid attacks. More goals had to come and it was Inter that was able to take the lead again. Icardi let a through ball roll past him into the path of Palacio and he coolly slotted past Perin. Inter tried to go for a third goal to put the game away and Icardi had the ball in the back of the net twice in the 38th minute, but both times the goals were disallowed for offside.

Even though Genoa were losing again, they did not let their heads drop and pushed for a second equalizer. Lestienne had a snapshot that smashed against the crossbar but eventually he was able to get his goal, thanks to a defensive howler from Inter. Miscommunication between Ranocchia and Handanovic saw them both rush out and slide to clear a through ball. The ball hit them both and landed at the feet of Lestienne who could not miss that empty net.

It would have been almost impossible for the second half to be as frantic and exciting as the first but there still were a number of chances for both sides. Genoa looked the more likely side to score though Inter were denied by the woodwork twice in a matter of seconds from Hernanes and Brozovic shots.

In the final minute of the 90, Edinilson took a free kick that found the head of Kucka and he put in in the back of the net. Inter tried to get a late equalizer but were unable to do so.

With this loss Inter are pretty much out of the race for the Europa League unless Sampdoria their lose final two matches. Not being in Europe is not the worst thing in the world; it will allow Mancini to focus on the league and really push for a Champions League spot next season. In the past few seasons teams like Roma and Liverpool have shown how this more open schedule can help, so the management and fans will both be expecting much better from the team next season.

Side Note:

So it looks like over the summer Mancini is going to have to go back to the basics during preseason training. Mainly to teach the Inter players 3 things that it seems like they don't know how to do.

Set Pieces: Besides a few that Hernanes managed to score from directly, the set pieces that the team have done have been kinda awful. Many corner kicks did not make it past the first defender, and though the team has tall players, there have been surprisingly few goals from corners or free kicks. Part of this problem is due to my next point...

Crossing: You know, for a team that was set up towards rampaging wingbacks under Mazzarri, and with a tall striker up top like Icardi, this team is really bad at crossing. It's sad that when Santon arrived in the summer and was able to whip in a few good balls, many fans were hailing him as the best fullback the team currently has (and then Mancini decided to stop playing him because...logic). But Santon's crossing ability wasn't the only reason why fans were so happy to see him playing, which ties into my final point...

Defending: So there's this thing that players learn at a pretty young age, it's fairly important, and there's a whole set of players devoted to this one aspect of the game. It's called defending and after watching the team's defenders this season one could make the argument that the players have never practiced this skill before (namely Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Vidic in the first half of the season, arguably Dodo, arguably Nagatomo...damn that only leaves D'Ambrosio, Santon, and Andreolli-and only one of those 3 played consistently this season). So as you can see that's kind of a big problem, and one that needs to be fixed if this team is going to push for the CL next season.

So...yea let's just finish off this season and hope some serious work happens during the summer. Because what happened this season cannot happen again.