After losing to Sampdoria last weekend, Inter traveled to Crotone fully expecting a win. They were facing a side in the relegation zone that had in the previous round just won their first away Serie A match, a team that Inter should beat every day of the week (and most of those days by at least two goals). In the preview Will said, “ They are quite simply unequipped to compete at this level and are lucky to have as many as 17 points on the board after 30 games, and any team that loses points to them between now and the end of the season should probably consider shutting down their club out of embarrassment. Roberto Gagliardini's absence through injury will be a problem, yes, but we could hardly pick a better opponent for a match in which we're missing our best player, so there are no excuses if we don't win this. None whatsoever.” But this is Inter so of course we didn’t win.
I’m going to keep this recap fairly short because if the players/coaching staff aren’t willing to put much effort into their performances I’m not going to put much effort into detailing their incompetence. The only important part of the lineup Stefano Pioli sent out there is the midfield pairing in his 4-2-3-1: Gary Medel and Geoffrey Kondogbia. We all know what happens when those two play in the midfield together, there is no passing creativity or linkup with the attack. Everybody knows that, yet Pioli opted to leave J. Mario on the bench and as we all could’ve predicted it blew up in his face.
Crotone took the game to Inter and in the space of 4 minutes were 2-0 up. First a sliding Medel conceded a penalty when the ball struck his arm and Diego Falcinelli converted from the spot, then the same man chipped Handanovic after a simple flick sent him through one on one against the keeper. The home side could’ve seen the scoreline at 4-0 at halftime but Bruno Martella’s flick past Handanovic across the face of goal wasn’t capitalized on and later Miranda had to clear a shot off the line with his chest when Marcus Rohdén beat Handanovic. Pioli’s switch to a 3-4-3 towards the end of the half saw Inter gain a little more possession with Ever Banega deeper to give him more time on the ball, but the Nerazurri weren’t able to challenge the Crotone net until the last minute of stoppage time and that was an Ansaldi header that went wide.
At halftime Pioli replaced Cristian Ansaldi and Jeison Murillo with Rodrigo Palacio and Eder. The only reason Inter began to really threaten this half is because Crotone decided to sit back and protect their two goal advantage for the final 45 minutes. For the second weekend in a row Danilo D’Ambrosio picked up a consolation goal, he was the first to react to Kondogbia’s flick from a corner and he tapped in to give Inter a bit of hope. The away side (in those ugly Sprite kits) forced a couple of saves but never really seemed like they would snatch an equalizer besides an Eder shot that struck the inside of the post and went out. Despite the referee giving 6 minutes of stoppage time Inter couldn’t find a second goal and Crotone picked up a historic win.
There was no reason for Inter to lose this game yet somehow they did. The players out on that pitch disgraced the club’s 109 year history today and Stefano Pioli made even more questionable decisions today than he did last weekend. After this embarrassment I’m sure Suning is very much considering sacking the Italian at the end of the season and I think the only way he can save himself at this point is by beating at least two of AC Milan, Napoli, or Fiorentina in order to try to discard his reputation of not being able to beat big sides (and even that might not be enough to keep him around). Up next is the Derby Della Madonnina against Milan (who just leapfrogged Inter in the Serie A table).