Inter Milan’s 3-2 extra-time victory over Bologna Tuesday night at the San Siro ensured that the Nerazzurri are through to the quarterfinals of the Coppa Italia. Manger Stefano Pioli used the match as an opportunity to rotate the squad a bit, and give starts to a few players that haven’t featured much for Inter lately. While the match was far from perfect, the result is what matters, and Inter did enough to win on Tuesday.
Author’s note: I was unable to watch the match on Tuesday due to work. With that in mind, please understand that my opinion on how the players preformed comes from the perspective of having watched the match knowing the end result and removed from the emotion of seeing it live.
Juan Carrizo - 5
While there wasn’t anything Carrizo could do about either goal, the Argentine didn’t really inspire confidence in this match. It was a very average performance from a very average backup goalkeeper, which left fans with a sense of relief that the match did not go to penalties. With Carrizo as Pioli’s second choice in net, Inter are ill prepared for a nightmare scenario that (perish the thought) sees Samir Handanovic miss significant time.
Danilo D’Ambrosio - 6
After a disappointing performance against Chievo Verona last weekend, D’Ambrosio rebounded a bit in this match. While he was booked for an obvious foul in the 63rd minute, D’Ambrosio also made a few key clearances to help seal the victory. Overall, it was a decent, but not great match for him.
Gary Medel - 7
Gary Medel was one of the names I was most excited to see in Pioli’s Staring XI when the lineups were announced.
Keeping in mind that he missed over two months of action due to the injury he picked up against AC Milan, some rust was to be expected. Medel did not look out of place in this match, which is impressive considering his injury, and the fact that he’s still adjusting to life as a center back. He also made a key clearance for Inter in extra-time, stopping a Di Francesco cross.
The return of Medel gives Pioli options moving forward, as the Chilean represents a viable alternative to Jeison Murillo, not named Andrea Ranocchia.
Jeison Murillo - 7.5
I’ll just leave this here:
His incredible goal aside, Murillo had one of his best performances of the season for Inter. Perhaps he was motivated by Medel’s return, but if Murillo can play as well as he did on Tuesday moving forward, it will be difficult for Pioli to drop him from the Starting XI.
Cristian Ansaldi - 4.5
Simply put, it was not a good performance from Ansaldi. While his work rate and ability to run the entire match are encouraging, the Argentine fullback couldn’t seem to pick the right pass, and was once again poor at crossing the ball. He also fell asleep marking Godfred Donsah, which directly resulted in Bologna’s equalizing goal.
Left back is a position Inter fans have been calling for an overhaul for a while now. Ansaldi’s performance on Tuesday will only make calls for a new signing that much louder.
Roberto Gagliardini - 7
Believe it or not, Tuesday’s match was just the second-ever appearance for Gagliardini in an Inter shirt. The young midfielder has done nothing but impress in his short time at the San Siro, and Tuesday’s match was another solid outing for our newest signing. I thought his vision—in picking out the right pass, and making runs—was superb.
Are Atalanta kicking themselves for not making Inter pay more yet?
Geoffrey Kondogbia - 6
Kondogbia was very unfortunate that Blerim Dzemaili’s shot deflected off of him into the Inter net for Bologna’s first goal. Isolating the deflection as a bad break, I though Kondogbia played well overall, though he certainly look tired towards the end of the match—running for two hours will do that to you.
It’ll be interesting to see if Pioli rests Kondogbia this weekend, perhaps opting to play Medel in midfield.
Gabriel Barbosa - 6
While it was very exciting to see Gabigol make his first start for Inter, I think Will put it best in his recap: “Barbosa gave the home fans some flashes of his boyish quality but also a couple of clues as to why he has only been entrusted with cameo roles in the league so far.” As exciting and flashy as Barbosa is, his failed back-heel attempt did give away the possession that led to Bologna’s first goal.
Here’s hoping Barbosa get’s more chances because there’s certainly room for improvement.
Joao Mario - 8
Joao Mario was the man of the match for Inter. While Murillo will rightfully be celebrated for his bicycle-kick goal, Mario’s perfectly placed corner set it up. Joao also assisted on Inter’s second goal five minutes later, sliding a flawless pass to Rodrigo Palacio.
The only negative on the day for Mario was missing the chance to seal the victory in extra-time, but you can’t be disappointed in the player that set up two of Inter’s three goals on the day.
Mario was in complete control of the midfield, and performances like these will go a long way in surpassing the expectations that come with a €40 million price tag.
Eder - 5.5
It was pretty forgettable game for Eder. He didn’t do much to impress, but did have some nice link up plays with Barbosa early in the second half. Being subbed off in the 94th minute for Brozovic seemed like the appropriate way to end to an average outing for Eder.
Rodrigo Palacio - 7
Palacio scored Inter’s second goal of the game from Joao Mario’s pass to put the Nerazzurri ahead by two goals at the time. While he was subbed off for Mauro Icardi in the second half, Palacio converted the best opportunity he got. That’s pretty much all you can ask for from a 34-year old striker.
Antonio Candreva - 6.5
When you are an attacking player and you’re brought on as a substitute late in a tied game, your job is to either create or score a goal.
While Candreva wasn’t spectacular by any means, he did score the all-important goal in extra-time to send Inter through to the quarterfinals. Candreva is making a habit of being in the right place at the right time, which is by no means a bad thing for the Italian and for Inter.
Mauro Icardi - 6
While Mauro missed his golden opportunity to give Inter the lead—and was forced to play an extra 30 minutes as a result—he did set up the game-winning goal. Icardi’s energy off the bench was a welcome addition to the match, and although he wasn’t as sharp as he usually is, Mauro was certainly heavily involved throughout his time on the pitch.
Marcelo Brozovic - 5
He’s not a winger, but Brozovic coming on for Eder in extra-time allowed Inter better close down Bologna, and exploit some tired legs. When available, the Croatian has been a constant for Pioli, and I expect Brozovic to once again return to the Starting XI this weekend.
Stefano Pioli - 7
Pioli used the match as a chance to rotate the squad a bit, and although the substitutes were forced to play 30 more minutes than they should have, Inter won.
I give Pioli credit for starting Gabriel Barbosa (something he’s been unwilling to do until now), and making the right substitutions—it was Icardi’s cross and Candreva’s shot that combined to create the game-winning goal.
The victory also gave Pioli the opportunity to assess the health of Gary Medel, and will leave him with interesting decisions to make when selecting the Starting XI to face Palermo on Sunday.
All in all, Inter won, and our best opportunity to win a trophy this season continues. That’s enough reason to be happy for now.