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Inter Milan held to draw by Udinese

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Nerazzurri fail to gain ground in Champions League race.

Udinese v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Radja Nainggolan of FC Internazionale in action during the Serie A match between Udinese and FC Internazionale at Stadio Friuli on May 4, 2019 in Udine, Italy.
Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Despite injuries abound, Udinese was able to hold Inter Milan at bay for a 0-0 draw in Udine on Saturday afternoon.

While the Nerazzurri were able to gain a point, they needed more as they race for Champions League qualification following a pair of draws with AS Roma and Juventus.

Udinese, on the other hand, got a better result at its point crept it further from the relegation zone in Serie A. The Friulani had William Troost-Ekong, Nicolas Opoku, Seko Fofana, Valon Behrami, Antonin Barak out with injury and Samir suspended for the match.

”We also had a lot of chances tonight, but we weren’t able to make the most of our dominance. We played the game that we needed to, they dropped deep and defended the six-yard box well,” Inter manager Luciano Spalletti said, in his post-match news conference. “When we had the opportunity to put the ball into dangerous positions, we weren’t able to score. We got it right until the final pass but lacked the necessary physicality to win. This is where we need to work so we can improve.”

It was Inter who attempted to score first as Radja Nainggolan – celebrating his birthday – nearly scored the first goal of the match, but his shot bounced to the right and goalkeeper Juan Musso was able to barely push it around the post and out of danger.

Udinese v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Mauro Icardi of FC Internazionale reacts during the Serie A match between Udinese and FC Internazionale at Stadio Friuli on May 4, 2019 in Udine, Italy.
Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Danilo D’Ambrosio – who earned a yellow card prior for a take down of Sandro almost put a header into the back of the net but his effort went across the front of the goal. Lautaro Martinez nearly followed that up with a shot, but it went off the far post.

Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic was tested early after Rodrigo de Paul tried to go under the wall on a free kick, but Nainggolan deflected the ball out of the area. Rolando Manragora blasted a shot off Handanovic’s hands on a dangerous counter-attack later.

Both Matteo Politano and Marcelo Brozovic had attempts fall away from the mark.

Prior to halftime, Mandragora got past Brozovic in the area and the Croatian nudged Mandragora to ground. Despite that, no penalty was awarded.

Martinez almost put the Nerazzurri ahead just a minute into the second half, but Musso fell to meet the challenge.

Udinese v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Jens Stryger Larsen of Udinese Calcio competes for the ball with Ivan Perisic of FC Internazionale during the Serie A match between Udinese and FC Internazionale at Stadio Friuli on May 4, 2019 in Udine, Italy.
Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Mandragora had a third attempt at goal, but Handanovic blocked it away. Musso matched Handanovic minutes later when he kicked away efforts from Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic.

”We’ve dropped two important points here, it was a classic game in which the opponent sat deep and we weren’t able to get a goal,” Nainggolan said. “If you don’t score quickly, everything becomes more difficult.”

Inter nearly had a penalty of their own when Icardi was tripped up by Sebastien De Maio, but similar to the first near-penalty, the referee waived it off.

Keita Balde made one last effort to score for Inter, but his attempted was saved from point-blank range from Musso.

”In the second half, we were less precise in our play,” Spalletti said. “We should have continued to push forward like we did in the first half, especially because they had spent a lot of energy. We should have shown more quality when we found space.”

It marked the third consecutive tie for the Nerazzurri as they sit just four points clear of Atalanta and five up on AS Roma.

Inter will return home to take on Chievo next weekend before closing the season at Napoli and at home to Empoli.


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