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What got Inter Milan in its current position?

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Nerazzurri prepare for winner-take-all match with Lazio.

FC Internazionale v US Sassuolo - Serie A
FC Internazionale head coach Luciano Spalletti looks on during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and US Sassuolo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 12, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

As Inter Milan prepare for its biggest match of the season, it is important to know just how we got to this point.

Sunday’s season finale in Rome against Lazio will determine who gets the fourth and final Champions League position from Serie A next season.

A win and Inter is in. A loss and the Nerazzurri are playing in the Europa League.

So, here is a look at some key points of the season that drove Inter to its current situation:

Hellas Verona FC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Ivan Perisic of FC Internazionale celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona FC and FC Internazionale at Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi on October 30, 2017 in Verona, Italy.
Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images

The first 16 matches

Inter started the season on fire winning 12 of their first 16 and tying the other four to sit atop Serie A in the beginning of December.

The Nerazzurri won their first four matches of the season before drawing at Bologna. After that, Inter went on to win three more before a 0-0 draw at Napoli.

The first 16 games came to an end with a 0-0 draw at Juventus Dec. 9.

FC Internazionale v Pordenone - TIM Cup
Yann Karamoh of FC Internazionale Milano controls the ball during the TIM Cup match between FC Internazionale and Pordenone at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 12, 2017 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Dec. 12 vs. Pordenone

This was supposed to be a cakewalk for Inter in their first match of the Coppa Italia, but it proved to be anything but.

Inter was unable to find the back of the net for the 120 minutes of the game as Serie C side Pordenone held Inter’s attack at bay for the duration.

Only in penalty kicks were the Nerazzurri able to pull out a 5-4 win after Mauro Icardi, Matias Vecino and Yuto Nagatomo connected on three straight and backup goalkeeper Daniele Padelli saved Giulio Parodi’s final attempt to send Inter through.

FC Internazionale v Udinese Calcio - Serie A
FC Internazionale Milano coach Luciano Spalletti gestures during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Udinese Calcio at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 16, 2017 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Dec. 16 vs. Udinese

Coming off the Coppa Italia match, Inter traveled to Udine to take on Udinese, who sat in 13th place in Serie A at the time.

Seems like a good way to bounce back from Pordenone, right? Wrong.

Tied 1-1 at halftime, Udinese came out on fire in the second half, getting goals from Rodrigo de Paul off a handball in the area by Davide Santon and a 77th minute strike by Antonin Barak to close out the game.

Inter was unable to respond in any way as its offense was lax and its defense was no where to be found. This started a two-match losing streak that moved Inter from first to third.

AC Milan v FC Internazionale - TIM Cup
Patrick Cutrone of AC Milan (C) scores the opening goal during the TIM Cup match between AC Milan and FC Internazionale at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 27, 2017 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Coppa quarters vs. AC Milan

After taking their Milan rivals to the woodshed in October, Inter needed to snap its streak and move into the Coppa semifinals.

AC Milan was struggling even more than Inter at the time, but a goal in the 104th minute by Patrick Cutrone dashed Inter’s hopes of a Coppa trophy and ended the year with three straight losses.

Spal v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Milan Skriniar of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie A match between Spal and FC Internazionale at Stadio Paolo Mazza on January 28, 2018 in Ferrara, Italy.
Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

January and February

Inter remained strongly in third at the end of the year and draws with Lazio and Fiorentina kept the Nerazzurri in the top four.

But, since the draw with Lazio, Inter rattled off five straight draws before beating Bologna Feb. 11.

A 2-0 loss at Genoa the following week dropped Inter from third to fifth and they wouldn’t climb any higher until a 5-0 win against Sampdoria March 18.

Torino FC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Andrea Belotti (L) of Torino FC tackles Yann Karamoh of FC Internazionale during the Serie A match between Torino FC and FC Internazionale at Stadio Olimpico di Torino on April 8, 2018 in Turin, Italy.
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

April 8 at Torino

Inter escaped March in fourth overall after a 3-0 win against Hellas Verona and a draw with AC Milan in the second installment of the Derby d’Madonnina didn’t hurt (of course, it didn’t help either).

But, a late first half goal by Adem Ljajic coupled with continued inabilities of Inter’s offense to produce anything whatsoever sent the Nerazzurri down to fifth – a spot they occupied for the rest of the season.

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A
Juan Cuadrado (L) of Juventus FC competes for the ball with Rafinha Alcantara of FC Internazionale Milano during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Juventus at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 28, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

April 28 vs. Juventus

Inter had a prime opportunity to deal the Old Lady a blow to its Scudetto chances and do themselves a favor in the process.

However, Vecino being sent off on a straight red card in the first half put the Nerazzurri in an immediate hole.

Icardi equalized in the 52nd minute and an own-goal by Andrea Barzageli put Inter up 2-1 midway through the second half. It looked as if Inter may pick up three points.

But, in the 87th minute, Juan Cuadrado drilled a shot off Milan Skriniar that tied the game and, two minutes later, Gonzalo Higuain headed home the winner to deny any points to Inter and any ground gained in the Champions League race.

FC Internazionale v US Sassuolo - Serie A
Joao Cancelo (L) of FC Internazionale is tackled by Francesco Magnanelli of US Sassuolo during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and US Sassuolo at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 12, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

May 12 vs. Sassuolo

Again, Inter was presented with an opportunity to move ahead of Lazio into fourth against a struggling Sassuolo at home.

But, Sassuolo scored first and Inter seemed to be thinking ahead more than about the game at hand.

A second goal in the 72nd minute by Domenico Berardi sealed the fate despite a later goal by Rafinha to keep Inter behind the 8-ball … and Lazio.

That takes us up to Sunday’s match at Lazio where the winner will play in the Champions League next season while the loser will play in the Europa League. A draw keeps Inter in the Europa League as Lazio is three points up on the Nerazzurri.


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