The past few days have been hectic surrounding Inter Milan and their involvement with the Super League. The Nerazzurri have been in the spotlight among other big clubs yet their focus was squarely on Spezia at the Alberto Picco on Wednesday night. In an entertaining match between the two sides, Inter tied 1-1 in an upsetting result for Spezia.
Inter controlled possession for most of the match yet Spezia managed to capitalize on their one attempt on goal. Within the first fifteen minutes, Diego Farias scored from just outside the Inter box and caught Inter goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic, off-guard as he failed to make the save. Right before half-time, Inter equalized from an accurate cross into the goal area from Achraf Hakimi. Perisic made a perfect run into the box and converted the cross with his shot going past Spezia goalkeeper, Ivan Provedel.
Neither side scored a second goal yet it was an impressive defensive performance from Spezia. They earned a point against the league leaders and continue to steal points from the top clubs this season. As for Inter, they will feel that three points slipped away as they failed to take advantage of their opportunities.
So, who are the winners and losers from Inter’s 1-1 draw versus Spezia?
Loser: Romelu Lukaku
There haven’t been many poor performances from Romelu Lukaku this season, yet this was his worst game to date. The striker squandered numerous scoring chances which could have delivered a victory for his side. A prime opportunity was late in the second half after Ismaili turned the ball over. This put Lukaku was in a good position to score as Ismaili was the last man back and left the Inter striker all alone versus Provedel. The Belgian failed to convert a glorious chance which would have put Inter ahead.
Lukaku’s passing wasn’t much better as many of his passes were intercepted or delivered poorly. In the first-half, Hakimi was left uncovered down the right side and in a prime position to score. However, Lukaku sent a weak pass and it was intercepted. While Lukaku put in a strong effort he wasn’t clinical and decisive when it counted as one of his five shots were on target.
Winner: Achraf Hakimi
Hakimi had a slow start to the match as he didn’t show much pace down the right side. He didn’t execute his runs well and his crosses were not effective. As the game progressed, so did his performance as he started to show more poise, was much quicker and beat players in one versus one situations.
Nearing half time, he did a great job to get in behind the Spezia defense, where he was left unmarked and had plenty of space to move into. He received a swift pass from Nicolo Barella inside the goal area, immediately advanced forward, and delivered an accurate cross towards Perisic, who scored.
While the run from Perisic was impressive, Hakimi’s ability to make the cross, get in behind the Spezia defense unmarked and show good composure was a step above. This resulted in Inter tying the match versus Spezia and extending their unbeaten streak to 16 games in Serie A. He finished the match with two successful dribbles, seven attempted crosses and pass accuracy rate of 87.5%.
Loser: Salvador Ferrer
It was a terrible match from Spezia defender, Salvador Ferrer, who struggled against Inter’s forwards and midfielders. Perisic was able to beat him on multiple occasions, where he showed a lack of pace and awareness and was caught out of position.
Ferrer did a poor job of picking up his man inside the goal area as Perisic managed to get in behind him and convert the cross from Hakimi. Ferrer was caught ball-watching and left his man unmarked. He also mistimed his slide tackle to intercept the cross.
On a separate play, Milan Skriniar sent Ferrer in the wrong direction and created a quality scoring chance. Ferrer lasted 45 minutes and was subbed off before the start of the second half by Luca Vignali. A smart tactical decision by Spezia manager, Vincenzo Italiano, as the defender was outmatched by Perisic and Christian Eriksen.
Winner: Vincenzo Italiano
Top clubs dropping points versus Spezia has become a regularity this season. Napoli, AC Milan, Atalanta, and Sassuolo have either lost or tied versus the Little Eagles. On Wednesday evening, Inter became the latest team to drop points versus a Spezia side who have been well managed by Italiano. The Italian had his men well prepared from start to end versus Inter.
While Spezia only had one attempt, they made the most of their chance as Farias scored from outside Inter’s box. They started the match very aggressive as they played a high line which put Inter’s defense under pressure, created turnovers and resulted in a goal. It was a tactic that worked well in the early goings of the match.
Aside from Perisic’s goal, Spezia defended very well during the course of the match as they were structured, showed good composure and frustrated Inter’s forwards, who struggled to score.
Spezia had a bit of luck on their side as Inter has a few opportunities which hit the post. Nonetheless, Italiano came up with a game plan and executed it well. His backline put in a strong performance and combined for ten clearances, two blocked shots, two interceptions and six tackles. Prior to this match, Inter dropped points once in their past twelve Serie A matches.
Winner: Lautaro Martinez
Lautaro Martinez fared much better than his partner Lukaku through the duration of the match. The Inter striker was physical, got in behind the defense on numerous occasions and had quality scoring chances. The Argentine managed to beat Provedel yet was denied by the post twice. Although he didn’t score, he performed well for his side and finished with two shots on target, three successful dribbles and two fouls won.