After a loss, a draw, and an international break, Inter took to the field for the third time in Serie A looking for a win. Frank De Boer was starting to feel a little pressure and knew that a win today would be vital, especially since the next leage match would be against Juventus. A lot of people have been asking for a 4231 formation and FdB granted that wish today. Danilo D’Ambrosio and Davide Santon were the fullback, Gary Medel and newcomer Joao Mario formed the base of the midfield, while Antonio Candreva, Ever Banega, and Ivan Perisic supported Mauro Icardi up top.
The first 30 minutes of the game didn’t see a whole lot of action, it was mainly a lot of midfield play from both sides. It was apparent that Inter has a good squad of midfielders, they just need the confidence and understanding to fully impose themselves on a match. There were a couple of times where a move would break down due to miscommunication, and that problem should be resolved with some more training together. The final 15 minutes of the first half saw the goalkeepers have to do some work, Inter nearly got punished in the counter a couple of times especially since the midfielders were slow to get back. The biggest chance for the home side occurred when Inter-owned Gianluca Caprari turned out Jeison Murillo and then played a ball across the face of goal that Valerio Verre could only strike onto the crossbar. Inter’s best chance saw Albano Bizzarri equal to back-to-back efforts from Banega and Candreva.
The second half saw two goalkeepers that were much busier. Samir Handanovic had to go flying to deny Ledian Memushaj in the 51st minute, while Bizzarri denied Banega yet again after Icardi dummied Perisic’s cross to give his fellow Argentine an open shot. In the 58th minute D’Ambrosio decided to channel his inner Maicon and charge up the pitch but his final effort was just high. Then disaster struck for FdB. D’Ambrosio lost substitute Jean-Christophe Bahebeck and the attacker was able to tap in a cross to give the home side the lead in the 63rd minute. Pescara tried to kill the game off before De Boer could respond but Handanovic made two big saves to deny both Verre and Bahebeck in the 67th and 72nd minutes. Inter’s manager knew that his team could not afford a loss (and probably not a draw as well) so he rolled the dice on a triple substitution. Medel, Candreva, and Perisic all came off for Stevan Jovetic (whose appearance triggered Inter’s buyout clause from Manchester City), Rodrigo Palacio, and Eder.
This unshackling of Inter combined with Massimo Oddo’s decision to sub off Verre for a more defensive midfielder changed the match. The final 15 or so minutes saw Pescara mainly pegged back defending, while the Nerazzurri controlled possession and looked for ways to break the home side down. Banega returned to a deeper midfield position and seemed to be more more confident on the ball, and he became integral to pretty much all of Inter’s attacks in those final minutes. The scorelines were level pretty soon after that substitution, Banega sent in a cross and Icardi headed home in the 77th minute to give the away fans hope. Those hopes were almost dashed in a rare Pescara raid forward but Handanovic dived late to divert a cross that had missed everybody and was creeping towards the net. Despite the lion’s share of possession Inter struggled to carve a number of clear cut chances in the final minutes and it looked like the away side would have to be content with another draw until stoppage time occurred. First Banega sliced the home side open with a pass that Icardi and Palacio both could’ve picked up. The older attacker took the chance but his poor shot was easily saved to the eternal fury of every single Inter fan watching. Luckily the younger Argentine was able to take a much more difficult chance seconds later to get his double and win the game for Inter. Once again Banega chipped in the ball but a poor header and miscommunication in the Pescara backline allowed the ball to fall to Icardi who just had to score in the 91st minute. Former Inter defender Cristiano Biraghi almost scored from distance but this time the spoils went to Inter.
This wasn’t a great performance at all. The midfielders weren’t always on the same page and there wasn’t much chemistry going forward. Frank De Boer will know that there is a lot of work to do but 3 points was all he needed to get some pressure off him and his players. He asked for time and he’ll get a little more of it now but he doesn’t have long before Inter’s next match. Inter’s Europa League campaign kicks off on Thursday against Israeli side Hapoel Be'er Sheva and then Satan in the form of a little old lady comes to town in the Derby D’Italia on Sunday.