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Inter drops 1-0 decision at Sassuolo

US Sassuolo v FC Internazionale - Serie A
FC Internazionale Milano coach Luciano Spalletti gestures during the serie A match between US Sassuolo and FC Internazionale at Mapei Stadium - Citta' del Tricolore on December 23, 2017 in Reggio nell'Emilia, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Lackadaisical … complacent … lack of motivation …

Whatever you want to call it, Inter Milan seems to be suffering from it as a first half goal by Diego Falcinelli handed the Nerazzurri their second consecutive league defeat, 1-0 at the Stadio Mapei Saturday — Inter is winless in their last three Serie A contests.

It gave Sassuolo their third Serie A win in a row.

The loss came despite Inter dominating possession for the entire game — controlling the ball more than 70 percent of the game.

Inter was plagued by a missed penalty, poor finishing, poor positioning in the area and a Sassuolo defense that managed to push back everything the Nerazzurri through at them.

Sassuolo had its first real chance at goal in the 24th minute as Domenico Berardi couldn’t put a solid strike on a pass and shot wide of the goal.

In the 26th minute, Icardi had nearly an unchallenged look at the goal, but his shot was wide to the right. Seconds later, Perisic nearly connected, but his effort was pushed aside by Andrea Consigli.

Inter maintained pressure until the 34th minute when Diego Falcinelli connected on a header past Samir Handanovic, putting Sassuolo up 1-0. Matteo Politano drove unmarked down the right side of the field before drilling a delivery into the penalty area where Falcinelli connected. It was Falcinelli’s third goal in two games against Inter Milan.

Icardi had an opportunity to equalize after putting Consigli on the ground, but the striker failed to make a solid strike on the ball and it sailed out of bounds.

Antonio Candreva had a beautiful cross in injury time before half, but Sassuolo’s defense was able to meet the ball before Icardi could make an attempt.

In the first half, Inter dominated possession by controlling the ball 70% of the half. The Nerazzurri also had six shots on goal to Sassuolo’s four.

Spalletti made a change to start the second half as Éder came on for Marcelo Brozovic.

In the 48th minute, Francesco Acerbi was called for a hand ball in the area, giving Icardi his fifth penalty attempt of the season — he scored the previous four.

This time, however, Consigli guessed left as Icardi delivered a weak attempt into the bottom left corner that was pushed away.

The Nerazzurri offense continued to press offensively, but failed to finish.

Antonio Candreva made numerous crosses into the area through the 57th minute, but Sassuolo defense — namely Francesco Magnanelli — kept Inter out of the area.

In the 73rd, Perisic nearly equalized with a header that was cleared off the line by Federico Peluso. It characterized Inter’s attacking throughout most of the game.

In the 85th minute, Icardi tried to play assist-maker by delivering a chested ball to Éder, but the delivery by Éder went wide of goal.

Even with extra time, Inter kept pressure on Sassuolo’s defense, to no avail as Inter remains on 40 points before Wednesday’s Coppa Italia game with AC Milan and next Saturday’s matchup with Lazio.