For 111 days, Inter sat with a game in hand due to Bologna being unable to play because of a COVID outbreak in their squad on January 6. With the game finally to be played, it was time for Inter to be visibly in control of the Scudetto again. This is Inter though, and nothing with Inter is easy. A late Nicola Sansone goal given to him by the feet of backup goalkeeper Andrei Radu was enough to sink Inter, who are no longer in control of their own destiny and trail Milan by a point in the title race.
Bologna stood pat with the lineup that has gotten them draws against Juventus and Udinese. Former Inter player Gary Medel had a two match ban reduced to one to be available for this match while former Inter striker Marko Arnautovic started with his sights on extending his scoring streak.
For Inter, a horrendous pop up of injuries happened in the hours before kickoff. Both Samir Handanovic and Alessandro Bastoni were ruled out with injuries. This meant both Andrei Radu and Federico Dimarco had to be rushed into starting roles. Lautaro Martinez partnered with Joaquin Correa up top. Robin Gosens was also unavailable, but still has been kept out of the team by an in form Ivan Perisic.
BOLOGNA (3-5-2): Skorupski; Soumaoro, Medel, Theate; De Silvestri, Svanberg, Schouten, Soriano, Hickey; Arnautovic, Barrow.
INTER (3-5-2): Radu; Skriniar, de Vrij, Dimarco; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Lautaro, Correa.
With the lineup shakeup, it was important for Inter to score first and relieve pressure. Perisic knew this and thundered home a wonderful goal after evading multiple Bologna defenders in a move that included a very slick nutmeg. Only three minutes into the match, Inter looked like they would continue upon the path they blazed onto against Roma.
Ivan Perisic HIT that. pic.twitter.com/xTK4soMAcg— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 27, 2022
With the first goal down so early, Inter were flying around the pitch and had a couple of chances to even extend the lead. Bologna posed no threat and seemed shocked after the goal. However, they began to grow into the match as the half hour mark approached.
The Bologna pressure culminated in a goal from their first shot on target against Radu. Arnautovic managed to get between Stefan de Vrij and the much shorter Dimarco to win an easy header in the box that he guided off the post and in for the equalizer.
After the Bologna goal, Inter seemed to be the shocked team. The hosts had more of the ball and Inter’s responses came only in missed half chances. As the half wound down, Inter did not look out of it, but surely needed to find the second goal.
Inter needed a goal and applied tons of pressure throughout the second half. Plenty of half chances manifested themselves through the visitors’ suffocatingly high line, but nothing made it past Lukasz Skorupski, who made a couple of fine saves on Correa and Dimarco.
With the goal seemingly not coming, and Simone Inzaghi throwing on his other striking options in Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez, a draw would have been an okay result. Inter would not be in control of the title race, but would be level on points.
Hakan Calhanoglu came off for Roberto Gagliardini after receiving a yellow card that has now ruled him out for the weekend trip to Udinese. The inclusion of the Italian midfielder is never one that aids in chasing a match, so Inter’s best bet would be to take the draw and hold serve.
Perhaps this could have been possible, but a Steven Gerrard-esque slip from Radu, eight years to the date of that famed incident, allowed the substitute Sansone to poke home a rolling ball into the empty net that was probably already headed into the Inter goal after the Romanian goalkeeper’s blunder. The slip heard ‘round the peninsula put Inter firmly into second place, praying for other teams to help them chase down Milan in the final matches.
Radu - 0: I know this is comically harsh, but I’m giving it for the weight this mistake holds. I have nothing else to say on the guy. I wonder how his final weeks at the club will go.
Dimarco - 4: After a couple of solid appearances, being thrust into the starting lineup on short notice against a tall center forward was too much for him. Had some moments going forward but could only shoot straight at the keeper.
de Vrij - 5: With the shorter Dimarco beside him, he sould have had the awareness to follow Arnautovic everywhere in the box. Instead, he scored and nearly had a second in the same fashion. Not good enough.
Skriniar - 6: One of the few players that showed up. Decent on both sides of the box but not enough when your partners are not up to par.
Perisic - 6.5: What a goal, it deserved more than a loss. Other than that, he was participating in trying to break down Bologna for the second but was unable to.
Calhanoglu - 6: Worked hard in the midfield but did get beaten a few times by Musa Barrow. Not a bad match from him, but should have done better to avoid the yellow.
Brozovic - 5.5: Captain’s armband Brozo is usually quite the player in the few times he has sported it. However, this was a nonexistent game from him.
Barella - 5: Did little to nothing on either side of the ball. Lost possession a lot and did not offer much else.
Dumfries - 5.5: Made runs when needed but could not find the final ball. Got his head on some crosses but not on target. Tired towards the end it seemed.
Correa - 5: Probably his worst game since his inclusion in the staring lineup in Inter’s run of form up until this match. Offered nothing aside from having one shot saved.
Lautaro - 4.5: He was back to snatching at chances and not converting when the ball got to him. When he’s great, he’s great. When he’s bad, Inter suffer greatly.
Dzeko - 5: Did nothing when he came on. Hard to think of a moment he was even on the ball.
Alexis - 5: Same as Dzeko, but did try to win the ball back a few times at least.
D’Ambrosio - 6: Came on for Dimarco to try to sure up the defense. This obviously did not happen but the goal was not his fault.
Darmian/Gagliardini - N/A
Inzaghi - 5: Had to work with what was available and it fell apart on him. Could have brought off Dimarco earlier but other than that had nothing else to go to. A real shame for him.
While it does not look good, Inter still have a shot. Milan will surely drop points in the run in but it will be up to Inter to be perfect from here on out, starting with an in-form Udinese away. It’s tough, but still mathematically possible.
Sempre Forza Inter!