If the first 45 minutes were any indicator, Inter Milan had the game well in-hand thanks to first half strikes from Ivan Perisic and Stefan De Vrij.
Unfortunately, football has two halves and Torino made the necessary offensive changes to force a stronger attack which yielded two goals and a 2-2 draw with the Nerazzurri at the San Siro Sunday.
In the first half, Inter controlled possession by a margin of nearly 65-35, leaving Torino with little opportunity to do much of anything more than scramble to stop Internazionale’s ball movement and attack on offense.
After being dominated in the first half, Torino came out swinging a bit harder in the second half as Tomás Rincon gave Torino its best effort in the 50th minute, but Samir Handanovic was up to the task and dove away to collect the shot.
The changes at halftime paid off for Torino when Andrea Belotti beat Danilo D’Ambrosio and was able to move Handanovic out of position to score in the 56th minute, cutting Internazionale’s lead to 2-1.
Nearly nine minutes later, Matteo Politano had a brilliant move on attack and nearly found Mauro Icardi streaking up the middle, but Politano’s cross sailed wide of Icardi’s dive in front of goal.
Then, in the 68th minute, Inter had difficulty clearing out Torino’s attempts and they paid the price after Soualiho Meité came from outside the area and buried a shot right past Handanovic in the bottom left of the goal to level the game.
It marked a complete turnaround of fortune from the first half to the second.
Inter dominated possession to start the game and it paid off in the seventh minute when Perisic drilled a shot into the back of the net off a cross from Icardi.
The Nerazzurri continued to close off Torino as the midfield combination of Marcelo Brozovic, Kwadwo Asamoah (who finally moved to the left) and Matias Vecino were able to eliminate space and block off any substantial attack by Torino early on.
Politano nearly got in on the scoring action and Icardi almost picked up his second assist of the game, but, in the 15th minute, the former Sassuolo man didn’t put enough on his header and Icardi’s cross went off Politano’s head and right to Salvatore Sirigu.
Defensively, Internazionale swarmed any potential attack by Andrea Beloti and Iago Falque. In fact, neither player had more than a few touches in the first 25 minutes of the match.
Politano’s set piece ability paid off in the 32nd minute after his in-swinging shot went right around Falque and off the head of Stefan De Vrij and into the back of the net to give Inter a 2-0 lead before halftime.
Torino’s only offensive threat of the first half came in the 40th minute, but a shot on by Lorenzo Di Silvestri was cleanly handled by Internazionale goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. A few minutes before halftime, Falque had a set piece from just outside the area, but his delivery went wide of the goal and presented no danger.
Internazionale Milano get back on the road next weekend for a matchup at Bologna at 12 p.m. (ET), Saturday, Sept. 1. Two days before that, UEFA will hold the group stage draw for the Champions League.
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