Inter faced the tough task of traveling to a strong Torino side today. Torino, who have not lost at home since a defeat to Juventus all the way back in December, have proven to be a team with great offensive potential, but have been marred by a leaky defense all season.
Coming into this game, Inter Milan have been riding on some pretty excellent form. In the last two games, Inter have scored a combined twelve goals and were definitely hoping to continue the offensive dominance heading into this game against a Torino side that has struggled to cope with strong offenses. To combat this Torino side, Pioli decided to field the same starting eleven that won the match last week. Handanovic was in goal with Christian Ansaldi, Gary Medel, Miranda, and Danilo D'Ambrosio all protecting him. Roberto Gagliardini and Geoffrey Kondogbia were again partnered in front of the defense while Antonio Candreva, Ever Banega, and Ivan Perisic were all asked to support Mauro Icardi up front.
Inter took control in the opening minutes of the game and were able to test Joe Hart multiple times before Torino received their first real chance of the match. Then in the ninth minute, Mauro Icardi believed he had opened the scoring when he rounded Hart and slid the ball into the net, but the goal was rightfully called off as Icardi was indeed offside.
Torino were starting to get a foothold on the match when a surprise player opened the scoring. Geoffrey Kondogbia, who had not previously scored all year, received the ball on the edge of the box and dribbled by a few Torino defenders. After beating his markers, Kondogbia drilled in a low shot that was too powerful for Hart to save. In all fairness, Hart should have been able to prevent the shot from going in, but the goal capped of an incredible individual play from Kondogbia.
After this opening goal, Inter as a whole let off the gas pedal and allowed Torino to fight back. Just six minutes later, Torino struck back through Daniele Baselli. Baselli's goal came via a well worked corner set piece. Adem Ljajic whipped in a wonderful corner kick which was headed on by Emiliano Moretti to a completely unmarked Baselli who nodded home the uncontested shot. This play was defined by Inter's abismal marking and a well designed set piece.
The half ended one to one with both sides fighting vigorously to try to earn all three points. After the break, Torino came out firing on all cylinders as they took the match to Inter. Torino were getting chance after chance and were finally rewarded for their dominant start to the second half in the fifty ninth minute.
Itrube bursted down the right side of the pitch before finding Acquah completely unmarked at the top of the box. Acquah did not hesitate at all as he brilliantly took a first time effort and blasted it into the top corner of the net. Again, Handanovic had no chance of preventing this goal as his defense simply did not mark the shot taker.
This goal woke up an Inter side that could not connect two passes or manage to break out of our own side of the pitch. To inject some life into the side, Pioli decided to take matters into his own hands as he brought on trusted super sub Eder. Eder's introduction provided an immediate impact as he sparked a previously dormant Inter side.
An equalizing goal finally arrived after endless back and forth gameplay and a plethora of opportunities. The goal came after Antonio Candreva volleyed in a Christian Ansaldi cross. The goal probably should have been prevented, but Hart missed the cross and was then caught horribly out of position.
Desperate to get the full three points, both Inter and Torino pushed everyone forward. The game turned into a real end to end affair with both sides countering at full speed attempting to get that one goal which would provide a team with the full three points. With Inter appearing to take the front foot in the closing minutes of the match, it appeared as if they could snatch a full three points.
Chances flowed and both teams had plenty of opportunities to take a lead, but neither could as both teams lacked a clinical touch. Perisic is especially guilty of this as he missed more than his fair share of chances. He should have brought his goal tally to double digits for the season, but was not able to capitalize on all the wonderful opportunities presented to him.
His poor finishing only compares with the poor defensive display. On both Inter goals, the Torino scorers were left unguarded and were allowed to take free shots on the abandoned Handanovic. Then on both Torino goals, Inter simply decided not to mark the opposing player who scored. The poor defending prevented either side from earning a full three points.
Even with this, both sides will feel that they deserved three points. Torino with their goalkeeping blunders and Inter with their endless chances both could have won this match. This game prevents Inter from gaining ground on anyone above in the standings while allowing those below to gain ground on in the race for European places. This game definitely puts a dent in our champions league ambitions.