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Inter Milan draws, 0-0 with Lazio

Nerazzurri seem to stop the bleeding of three consecutive losses.    

FC Internazionale v SS Lazio - Serie A
Marco Parolo of SS Lazio compete for the ball with Milan Skriniar of FC Internazionale during the serie A match between FC Internazionale and SS Lazio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 30, 2017 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Following three straight losses and winning just two games in all competitions during the month of December, Inter Milan halted their losing streak by closing out 2017 with a 0-0 draw with Lazio in front of more than 60,000 fans at the Giuseppe Meazza.

It was the first draw for Lazio since their first match of the season against SPAL.

For Inter, the draw keeps them in third in Serie A as Roma only drew with Sassuolo earlier in the day.

Both teams saw their respective defenses step up and survive several challenges — specifically in the second half.

It was the Nerazzurri that held possession more during the game — 53.5% to 46.5% — and got very strong play from Joao Cancelo throughout the game. Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic earned a clean sheet in his 200th appearance for Inter.

From the onset of the second half, it was Cancelo who seemed to set the pace on the right side pushing Antonio Candreva.

Inter changed up their lineup moving Ivan Perisic more to the center to pair with Mauro Icardi, which seemed to give Inter different attacking options in the second half.

In the 56th minute, Borja Valero sidestepped Lucas Leiva in front of the penalty area and unleashed a shot that forced Thomas Strakosha to push aside.

Following the corner kick, Icardi nearly found Perisic in the center, but did get a rebound which he blasted out of play.

But, in the 59th minute, Cino Immobile drove a shot toward Samir Handanovic which went off the leg of Milan Skrinar and into Skriniar’s elbow drawing an initial penalty. However, the video-assisted referee overturned the call.

Since that point, both teams traded offensive blows only to see their defenses step up to the task.

Felipe Anderson took his first shot since coming on as a substitute, but Handanovic was able to deflect it away in the 73rd minute.

Anderson had another open look at the net in the 79th minute when he had a cross from Immobile, but the touch went wide of the net. Both attacks were characteristic of Lazio’s form midway through the second half.

Perisic had Inter’s first real chance in the second half when he connected on a pass from Joao Mario, but the header was weak and able to be collected by Strakosha in the 83rd minute.

FC Internazionale v SS Lazio - Serie A
Felipe Anderson of SS Lazio compete for the ball with Roberto Gagliardini of FC Internazionale during the serie A match between FC Internazionale and SS Lazio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 30, 2017 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images

Inter stepped up its attack once Dalbert and Marcelo Brozovic as Perisic drilled a solid cross into the area where Icardi was waiting, but Stefan de Vrij was waiting to push Icardi away.

In the 89th minute, Perisic nearly deflected a shot off Icardi’s head into the back of the net, but the Croatian’s delivery was too strong and went out of play.

Ranocchia nearly put the Nerazzurri on the board late in stoppage time, but his header from a Brozovic corner went wide.

Inter seemed to come out with more confidence than in their previous three matches, challenging the high-scoring Biancazzurri from the onset.

It was the Nerazzurri that maintained possession through the first 10 minutes of the game, pressuring Lazio’s defense — especially in the midfield where Cancelo and Valero challenged Luis Alberto and Leiva in the passing lanes.

Cancelo was particularly impressive assisting Candreva on the left. Both provided fits for Stefan Rado and Stefan de Vrij.

But, it was Lazio that had a first real shot at goal when Alberto drove into the area and found Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the 14th minute, but Handanovic stepped off his line and cut off any danger.

In the 19th minute, Davide Santon nearly connected with Candreva in front of goal, but the pass was too strong and went into the hands of Lazio goalkeeper Strakosha.

Handanovic was challenged again when Milinkovic-Savic missed a shot that ricocheted back to Bastos, who put his header attempt over the bar and out of play in the 21st minute.

Perisic nearly put Inter on the board first in the 30th minute as Valero found him 10 yards in front of the net, but Strakosha was up to the task and pushed Perisic’s attempt out of play.

Late in the first half, Andrea Ranocchia collided with Roberto Gagliardini and seemed to injure his hip, but was not substituted as the first half came to an end.

Inter will return to action on Jan. 5 when they take on Fiorentina as the Serie A schedule flips into the second half.