It’s the hope that dies last. Yeah, the odds were heavily against Inter repeating as champions going into Matchday 38, but there was that one small part of me that believed we’d end the day as the kings of Italy. And, well, it didn’t pan out that way. Inter took care of business in a straightforward 3-0 win over Sampdoria but Sassuolo could only stand and watch as Milan took home the title (for what it’s worth, at least Milan made it clear they weren’t going to drop points from the word go, rather than spring late drama on us). It hurts for sure. Still, there was a lot to be proud of this season, a lot to enjoy. But yeah, it hurts.
Inzaghi went with a full-strength starting eleven, with only the slight surprise of Joaquin Correa partnering Lautaro Martinez upfront. Marco Giampaolo’s Sampdoria former a 4-1-4-1 shape, keeping many of its starters in the lineup despite having nothing left to play for.
The stage couldn’t have been better set for the curtain closer on the 2021/22 season. The San Siro was full to the brim and Inter came out of the gates with a purpose. The Nerazzurri had all of the ball in the opening stages and kept Sampdoria pinned in its own box, but ultimately couldn’t come up with the goods in the final third. Calhanoglu ripped a low effort goalwards but couldn’t find the corner, Perisic had a close-range volley blocked over the bar, and Lautaro flicked a header just wide. Both the fast tempo and boisterous atmosphere in the stands faltered almost simultaneously as Milan put a pair of goals past Sassuolo. Inter still controlled possession but it felt more like a formality than anything else. The hosts did come close to opening the scoring late in the first half when Correa nodded a cross towards the bottom corner only for an outstretched Audero to make the stop. That was one of the few quality chances Inter created despite tallying 18 shots (5 on target) compared to Sampdoria’s 2. By the time halftime arrived, it was 3-0 Milan and it was clear that just about everyone in the stadium knew it.
Inter finally got its goal four minutes after the interval from who else but Ivan Perisic.
Ivan Perisic finds his 8th goal of the season for Inter. pic.twitter.com/XhTTnDEKWU— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) May 22, 2022
The good guys didn’t wait long to double its advantage, and this time it was Correa finding the back of the net in the 55th minute with a curler to the far post.
JOAQUIN CORREA. QUE GOLAZO. pic.twitter.com/sntKgjB6rh— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) May 22, 2022
As always with the Argentine, goals come in pairs and El Tucu completed his brace on 57 minutes with an incredible individual effort, dribbling almost the entire length of the pitch before slotting home past Audero.
TWO GOALS IN TWO MINUTES. JOAQUIN CORREA GETS HIS BRACE pic.twitter.com/wBFQxfECCo— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) May 22, 2022
The rest of the half was more or less a snooze fest with both teams moving at a snail’s pace. Inter racked up possession but without much desire to score and both managers went to their benches often to give farewells to departing players and rare minutes to reserves. The final whistle came right at 90 minutes, immediately followed by the collapse of Inter players to the turf as they came up just short in a 38-game marathon.
Handanovic - 6.5: Barely had anything to do but a shutout’s a shutout.
Bastoni - 6.5: Never broke a sweat defensively, allowing him to be at his best on the ball. He notched a 91% passing accuracy, one key pass, and completed four long balls.
de Vrij - 6.5: Samp never put him under any pressure so the Dutchman was able to play calmly and deliberately, completing 97% of his passes (3/3 long balls) and tallying the fourth-most touches on Inter (61).
Skriniar - 6.5: More of the same for Skriniar - 71 touches, 94% passing rate, 4 long balls, and 2 clearances.
Perisic - 7.5: A great showing in possibly his last game in Inter colors. Scored, made 4 key passes, 3 crosses, and 4 long balls. He left injured, however, and it looked fairly serious as he was stretchered off. Hopefully, it’s a quick recovery.
Calhanoglu - 7: Another stellar performance. Along with an assist he made 6 key passes, 9 cross attempts, and had a 92% passing rate.
Brozovic - 7: The usual from Brozovic - 143 touches (!!!), 5 duels won, a 94% passing rate, and 9 accurate long balls.
Barella - 7: A mixed bag from the Italian. Was a bit wasteful in the final third thanks to a number of wayward shots but still got a slick assist, made 4 key passes, and won 5 duels.
Dumfries - 6: Not much of an impact from the 26-year-old, who totaled 0 crosses, 1 key pass, and an 81% passing rate.
Lautaro - 6.5: Looked confident and in the mood, and would have scored at least a couple if not for some superb Audero saves.
Correa - 8 (Man of the Match): Another brace from the Argentine, though this one is more infuriating than joyous - where was this Correa all season?? A great showing nonetheless and hopefully leads to big things next season.
Inzaghi - 7: Spared us from a Lautaro-Dzeko partnership, getting the lineup spot on. Not much else to say really, Inter did the job against a team they should have done the job against.
This crazy, wild season has finally come to a close. Inter will be back in August (a couple of weeks earlier than usual due to the World Cup), but until then we have two months without European football. The transfer window will be as busy as ever, but luckily we still have some time to recover until then.
Expect our post-season coverage (of which we have a lot) to start this week.
And for one last time, Forza Inter!