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Inter 2-0 Benevento: Player Ratings

When defence is the best form of attack

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Despite a performance at times that was verging on the disgraceful, Inter scraped past bottom-of-the-table Benevento at San Siro thanks to two set-piece goals that momentarily returned them to third place in the Serie A table.

Below you can check out our player ratings from a truly terrible game of football at San Siro, while if a match recap is what you’re after then you can find it here.

Starting XI

Samir Handanovic - 6

A straightforward save from Massimo Coda and little else. For all the promising positions Benevento got into they didn’t actually give him much work to do, their best chance of the match ending with Coda clearing the crossbar.

Joao Cancelo - 6

Another decent display from Inter’s most in-form player. In the first half he was probably bogged down by the general malaise plaguing the team but thankfully he woke up in the second, providing his usual supply of overlapping and crossing before an inch-perfect free-kick delivery enabled Ranocchia to make it 2-0. Any chance we can keep him?

Milan Skriniar - 6.5

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Often it’s said that attack is the best form of defence, but on this occasion it was defence’s turn to be the best form of attack.

Skriniar didn’t meet his usual high standards in the first half, carrying on from where he had left off last weekend with an uncertain display (although not having any kind of midfield filter in front of him didn’t help), but he more than redeemed himself 25 minutes from time when he headed in unquestionably the most important goal of his young career to date.

Andrea Ranocchia - 7

He was the only player - the only player - to come out of the first half with any kind of dignity, putting in a more secure defensive display than Skriniar which helped Inter to keep their head above water while Benevento controlled the game. Tidy, punctual, concentrated and clear-headed.

And then he scored the goal that secured an undeserved but indispensable win with 20 minutes left - his first goal of any kind for Inter since December 2014. Despite everything he continues to demonstrate that he cares for the shirt and for that reason above all others he honoured the captain’s armband he was wearing on this occasion. Bravo.

Danilo D’Ambrosio - 5

Between his inability to use his left foot and Perisic’s indolence Inter’s left-hand side was nonexistent during the first hour. One of the worst offenders in recent weeks when it comes to elementary mistakes on the ball. At least he cleared up a couple of dangerous Benevento counterattacks.

Matias Vecino - 5

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A
Matias Vecino is no longer the player he was during the autumn.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Next week is the Milan derby, the match Vecino helped Inter to win four months ago with a spectacular coast-to-coast run that produced the corner from which they earned their last-minute penalty. Where on earth has that player gone? The done thing here would be to say that he’s a shadow of the midfielder he was at the start of the season, but he’s not even that. Awful, again. Without the flick on for Skriniar’s goal he’d have 4.5 too.

Roberto Gagliardini - 4.5

A performance in keeping with his last three months. Absolutely horrific, in other words. Slow, scared and desperately clumsy - quite how he didn’t receive a booking in this match is anyone’s guess, because he would have deserved at least four of them. Although to be honest the first-half tackle on Sandro was more orange than yellow.

If Inter are to qualify for the Champions League this season then they’re going to have to do it without a midfield, because neither Gagliardini nor Vecino can be classed as midfielders anymore. There’s virtually nothing Spalletti can do to solve this problem with the material at his disposal.

Antonio Candreva - 5

When Candreva is bad, he’s really bad. It’s not the effort that’s lacking, just virtually everything else, with a multitude of poor crosses and basic mistakes characterising a pitiful display. But then Spalletti moved him into the centre when Karamoh replaced Rafinha and his match got a little better. Could he be the trequartista we’re looking for? Based on those 20 minutes it’s an experiment worth retrying.

Rafinha - 5.5

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

If there was still anybody who didn’t understand why Spalletti had been keeping him on the bench so far, hopefully they understand now. Rafinha is not ready to play matches from the start at the moment and it was plain for all to see on Saturday evening.

The appalling performance from Inter’s central midfielders forced him to keep coming deep in order to get attacks going, leaving the team with a chasm of empty and unexplored space on the edge of Benevento’s penalty area, but the biggest issue was his lack of match fitness. He worked hard and won a few free-kicks here and there, but in this condition he isn’t the answer to our attacking woes.

Ivan Perisic - 4.5

He returned to the starting XI after missing the trip to Marassi, but it looked as if he was still struggling with the shoulder issue he sustained against Bologna. He wasn’t comfortable moving his left arm and it appeared to inhibit him.

Having said that, the performance remained vastly insufficient. You just want to shove a rocket up his backside at times, because when he can be bothered he knows how to be devastating. But he hasn’t been bothered for almost three months now.

Eder - 5

Inter had no clear strategy of how to get the ball into the box and so he ended up suffering the fate Icardi has suffered on many occasions this season, left to fight against the entire Benevento back four by himself. When he did get his chance he spurned it with an ambitious lob from an angle, before winning the foul that saw Viola receive his second booking.


Yann Karamoh - 6

The darling of San Siro in this horrid period of the season. And not without justification. No sooner had he come on than he’d won the corner that led to the opening goal. He won’t, but I’d quite like Spalletti to start him in the derby.

Marcelo Brozovic - N/A

Came on too late to warrant a grade. Probably for the best...

Head Coach

Luciano Spalletti - 5.5

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

He made the move many had been calling for by benching Borja Valero in favour of Rafinha, but it changed nothing because Inter’s problems are far bigger than who he picks here and who he picks there. The first 60 minutes were an unmitigated disaster and had Inter not received two helping hands from referee Luca Pairetto and his VAR assistant (Benevento were denied a clear penalty while Gagliardini was lucky not to go for the late lunge on Sandro) they would have been staring a humiliating defeat in the face for them.

Bringing on Karamoh for Rafinha and moving Candreva into the centre improved things somewhat, but Inter can, should, must be so much more than what they showed on Saturday. We got the win and that was the most important thing, but that doesn’t change the fact that this team is a mess and cannot even hope to make the top four while they’re putting in performances like this.

Milan, Napoli and Sampdoria are up next - vast improvements are required, otherwise it’ll be trouble.

Man of the Match - Andrea Ranocchia

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

No doubt over this week’s Man of the Match. Not that there was an enormous amount of choice...