After the win against Genoa, Inter traveled to Reggio Emilia to take on Sassuolo. Eusebio Di Francesco was dealing with a major selection crisis going into this match (8 injuries and 1 suspension) so I might have been a little optimistic that Inter would be able to pull out a third win in a row in all competitions. Then again Inter is Inter so nothing was certain when I dragged myself out of bed this morning to watch this game when I was still half (ok like 75%) asleep.
(I’m gonna be honest, I was pretty sleep deprived when I watched this game at six-freaking-thirty am, so I’m going to pretty much stick to my notes which just talk about what happened and not really about how it happened/the overall style of play.)
Stefano Pioli stuck with the 3 man defense, this time in a 3-4-2-1. The defense was again made up of Danilo D’Ambrosio, Miranda, and Jeison Murillo in front of Samir Handanovic. Cristian Ansaldi and Antonio Candreva were the wingbacks with Felipe Melo and Marcelo Brozovic in the center of the park. Up top Joao Mario and Ivan Perisic had the task of supporting Mauro Icardi.
Candreva created the first real chance of the game, a thunderous shot from distance that forced Andrea Consigli into making a save. The 29 year old was involved again soon after, another long range effort took a deflection off Francesco Acerbi to beat the keeper, but not the woodwork. Federico Ricci tried to respond for the hosts, but a pass to him was overhit when he was ready for a simple tap-in and then he wasted a decent opportunity from a Antonino Ragusa cross. A minute later Handanovic sprung into action to save when Ragusa found Lorenzo Pellegrini but his shot was pretty much straight down the center.
Inter’s captain had a great opportunity to take the lead in the 28th minute. The ever-present Candreva found Icardi with a cross but despite being unmarked the 23 year old could only put it wide. Within the span of two minutes both sides had their best chances of the half. Stefano Sensei picked out Gregoire Defrel and Defrel’s volley had to be saved by a sprawling Handanovic. Inter’s chance fell to Perisic after Candreva picked him out, but Consigli was equal to the Croatian’s attempt. The referee blew his whistle for the half with the game scoreless.
The parity in the scoreline didn’t last long, just two minutes into the second half in fact. Icardi found Joao Mario and while his shot was saved, the rebound found its way to Candreva who gratefully accepted the chance to cap off a strong performance with a goal. The home side tried to stay in the match but Handanovic was equal to a shot from Sensei and that was the closest Sassuolo came to equalizing for the remainder of the match (outside of a Miranda deflected clearance that was almost an own goal). Perisic and Brozovic both had chances but none were successful and the match finished 0-1.
Oh I almost forgot a couple of other important incidents that occurred during the match. First of all Joao Mario picked up another booking today which I think suspends him for the Lazio match. Second Felipe Melo received two yellow cards and was sent off, though his final booking for a foul on Acerbi was a little harsh. Lastly Gabriel Barbosa got some playing time today. Care to guess at what point of the match he came on? The first minute of stoppage time so he got a whole 3 minutes to add to his total playing time for Inter.
I remember very little of what happened in this match besides what I wrote in my notes. I don’t think the team totally dominated Sassuolo but a win, a clean sheet, and a first away win in all competitions since September means I’m not going to complain. Instead I’m going to go back to sleep.