If Inter failed to win in today’s match against Lazio the team would have broken the record for the worst Inter streak of all time. No Inter side in history had ever gone on a 9-match winless run and Stefano Vecchi and his players knew they had to produce a win somehow in order to avoid that feat. They managed to do it in an incredibly scrappy and oftentimes lucky match that ultimately means nothing besides give the club a small confidence boost.
With a few absentees (Miranda, Kondigbia, Ansaldi, and Icardi) Vecchi brought in Eder to lead the line and kept Andreolli in the starting lineup to partner Murillo. Gary Medel was in the midfield while Gabriel Barbosa continued to remain on the bench. (The young attacker did not feature at all during the match and left the bench to return to the locker room after the Vecchi made his final substitution. In his postmatch interview the interim coach said that he expects the club to take some action against the Brazilian...)
Inter started the match the way one would expect a team on a 8 game winless run to start a match, slow, uninspired, and utterly lacking in confidence. Lazio took the game to Inter and won a penalty in the 17th minute when Jeison Murillo fell and took down Felipe Anderson when the winger had beaten the defender to the byline. Keita Balde put the ball into the top corner to give the home side the lead, and when their opponents didn’t show any real response over the next few minutes of play some of the Inter fans began to leave the stadium already. It looked like it would just be another one of those days Inter fans are all too familiar with, the players seemed to have no idea what to do with the ball and it looked like they would need a fair bit of luck to grab even one goal.
Inter got that stroke of fortune in the 31st minute. From a corner Ivan Perisic flicked the ball to Marco Andreolli and he was able to put the ball into the back of the net. It was the defender’s first goal in three years, and it gave the away players a little spark to push forward in the match. Six minutes later and the away side were in the lead somehow; Antonio Candreva sent in a low cross but with no Inter players at the near post it looked like it would be an easy grab for Lazio’s keeper. Suddenly Wesley Hoedt stuck out a leg and deflected the cross into his own goal to turn around the match. Inter almost doubled their lead just before halftime but Eder was unable to get a foot on a dangerous Candreva cross.
Things got a lot scrappier in the second half with tackles flying and tempers flaring at times. Eder shot a free kick just wide after a barnstorming run before Ciro Immobile fired a shot off the crossbar. Inter’s next stroke of luck came in the 66th minute when Keita went down in the box from a Gary Medel challenge but instead of a penalty he received a second yellow card for diving. While there might not have been enough contact to warrant a clear-cut penalty Medel did definitely get contact on his man, and the sending off was probably the wrong call by the referee.
Things would only get worse for Lazio. Eder tapped home in the 74th minute to give Inter a 2 goal lead, and when Senad Lulic got his marching orders after a late challenge on Roberto Gagliardini, the match was all but over. The only real points worth mentioning were the minutes at the end of the match given to young striker Andrea Pinamonti.
Inter hasn’t had much luck over the last couple of matches, and it finally turned in the team’s favor today. The win wasn’t pretty or convincing, but it was a win. Hopefully there will be some smiles again on the faces of the players (well except for Gabriel Barbosa) this week, and they can finish the season on a strong note. Actually, maybe if Gabigol starts against Udinese then he’ll be happy too.