After beating Chievo Verona, Inter took on their city rivals Hellas Verona in the Serie A lunchtime match (aka really early for everybody in the USA). A second win in a row would be great for Inter going into a run of matches where two of their next three matches are against teams above them in the table (Fiorentina and Juventus). Also given Fiorentina's draw against Bologna on Saturday this gave Inter a chance to go into that crucial match above the side from Florence.
Mancini went with a very similar side to the one that played against Chievo. Telles and Nagatomo started on the flanks again but with Miranda's suspension, Murillo was partned with Juan Jesus. The only difference in the midfield was that Medel was replaced with Melo, and the front three of Eder, Icardi, and Palacio remained unchanged.
Inter had the first opportunity of the match; Icardi's cutback found Palacio but he shot straight at Gollini. Inter were ahead soon after though when Murillo powered in a header from a corner. Unfortunately the lead did not last long, about four minutes to be precise. Verona had a corner and Helander was able to head the ball past Handanovic to level the scoreline. After another four minutes Verona had taken the lead. A free kick was whipped in by Marrone and Pisano's headed the ball into the back of the net. Inter tried to respond but struggled mainly due to the fact that the team kept trying to cross and most of the time it failed miserably. According to FourFourTwo, Inter attempted 45 crosses during the match and only 7 were successful. As a result many of Inter's attacking plays broke down because the ball just wouldn't reach the players in the box.
Mancini responded to losing by sending on Perisic for Melo (who had been booked in the first half) at the halftime interval. Inter tried to level the scoreline but in the 58th minute Verona had extended their lead. Another corner was ruthlessly dispatched by Ionita to seemingly put the match beyond the Nerazzurri, who had not scored more than one goal in the league since December 12th. The Derby Della Madonnina had been the first time the team had conceded from a header, and now Inter had let in three in one match.
Just three minutes Inter were able to cut the lead back to one though. Perisic sent in a low cross and Icardi poked the ball past Gollini, though the Inter captain might've been offside. Gollini stopped Palacio from leveling the scoreline and then substitute Juanito Gomez had a chance to kill off the match for Verona but he shot over when he had time to line up the shot The home side would regret not taking that chance because in the 78th minute a Palacio cross made it all the way across the goal and Perisic tapped in to make the game 3-3. Both sides tried to score a late winner through Eder and Gilberto but the match ended level.
On the face of things a point is a disappointing result but it was good to see that the team had enough spirit to fight back from being down two goals. Despite conceding three goals from set pieces I do not think Mancini has to worry about that being a major problem going forward. Miranda's absence left the team lacking height at the back and also an experienced head to help deal with defending set pieces (a key detail that Luigi Delneri exploited to the fullest in this match). I would imagine once he returns we will see teams struggle to score from headers again. What Mancini does need to worry about is the team's crossing. Once again Inter only had 7 successful crosses out of 45 attempts. That is a conversion rate that desperately needs to improve in Mancini wants this team to make crossing a regular part of their game plan.
The draw leaves Inter with 45 points, one point behind Fiorentina. If Roma can beat Sampdoria they will end this round only one point behind Inter. The race for the final Champions League spot is heating up and Inter cannot afford more mistakes in the future. Inter's next match is against Fiorentina next Sunday and a win move Inter up to that coveted third place position. With Miranda back in defense, improved crossing, and the ability to score multiple goals like the team did today they might just be able to get revenge on the side that handed Inter their first loss of the season.