Following the nervy win over Udinese, Inter played host to Chievo Verona for their weekend match. Chievo have one of the best defenses in the league but one of the worst attacks, so it was expected that they would sit back and try to soak up whatever Inter would throw at them. With Mancini's men back in the race for the Europa League they knew that they would have to do their best to break down a resolute defense to win this important match.
Ranocchia, JJ, and Brozovic returned to the starting lineup for this match replacing Santon, Felipe, and Kovacic.
Basically as soon as the match began Inter was taking the game to their opponents. Palacio and Icardi went close inside the first 20 minutes, with the young Argentine heading onto the post. Guarin, Brozovic, and Vidic all made sure that opposing goalkeeper Bizzarri was on his toes throughout the rest of the opening 45 minutes. Chievo were more than happy to sit back deep and defend for the entirety of the half and they held on to keep the scoreline level going into the break.
In the second half Inter once again came roaring out of the gates. Palacio had a great run into the box that was ended by a Dainelli block, and on-loan defender Schelotto almost gifted his parent club an away goal. But Chievo had a few chances of their own in this half as well; Christiansen, Meggiorini, and Paloschi all forcing Handanovic into 3 good saves within 10 minutes.
Mancini sent on Podolski, Shaqiri, and Kovacic in an attempt to finally unlock the Chievo defense, but they continued to stand strong and the Inter players began to get impatient and frustrated in their passing, allowing Chievo more opportunities to counter. Icardi and Shaqiri had final efforts go wide before former Biraghi hit the crossbar with a long distance effort and Handanovic stopped a last minute Paloschi attempt. The match ended to the whistles of the home fans.
Things to note:
- Hernanes's hot streak looks like it finally came to an end. The Brazilian midfielder was invisible for most of the match and just seemed to be trying to do to much. Given that Shaqiri was fairly ineffective as well once he was introduced it will be interesting to see who Mancini starts in the next match against Lazio.
- The match ended with Inter having 72% possession and it felt like more to be honest. In the first half of the match I hadn't seen that much bus-parking since the 09/10 Champions League second leg against Barcelona.
- Inter had 23 shots and only 3 of them on target. That ratio is unacceptable and Mancini will certainly have his players doing extra shooting practice during the week.
- Speaking of things that need work, Inter attempted 47 crosses. Of them only 7 were successful. That's just awful...