If you thought a new year meant a new Inter, you’d be right. Well, at least in a way. The Nerazzurri picked up their first draw of the 2022/23 season Saturday night, breaking a run of all-or-nothing results. Unfortunately, it came in a distressing fashion for Inter, who threw the huge momentum and statement gained from beating Napoli out the window and into a busy street against Monza. Pazza Inter is back and better than ever.
Simone Inzaghi made one change from the 1-0 win over Napoli, with Lautaro Martinez replacing Romelu Lukaku up front.
Monza started on the front foot but it was Inter that struck first in the 10th minute. A delightful Alessandro Bastoni cross found Matteo Darmian charging in at the back post and he tucked it home.
Matteo Darmian finishes off Alessandro Bastoni's cross.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 7, 2023
Inter are up and running less than 10 minutes into the match pic.twitter.com/Ft2zKMQKS3
The hosts weren’t to be daunted, however, and answered back immediately via a curling effort from Patrick Ciurria, his first-ever Serie A goal. Inter’s defending was sloppy from start to finish and Monza advanced through the final third like a knife through butter.
INSTANT RESPONSE ⚡️— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 7, 2023
Monza waste no time leveling it with Inter pic.twitter.com/dHYx0XyGpc
Inter flipped the game back the other way before Monza could get comfortable. Pablo Mari made a loose touch in the box on a seemingly innocuous play and Lautaro was there to pounce and bury the ball into the open net in the 22nd minute.
10': Monza 0-1 Inter— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 7, 2023
11': Monza 1-1 Inter
22': Monza 1-2 Inter
World Champion Lautaro Martinez regains the lead for Inter. pic.twitter.com/1Zq4rYaQfy
The game cooled down after El Toro’s striker and balanced out without many clear looks at goal from either side. Inter ended the half with 8 shots (3 on target) and 51% while Monza tallied 4 shots (1ot).
The rain began to fall at Stadio Brianteo as the second half began, and both managers went to their benches to spice things up. In Inter’s case, Lukaku and Asllani entered the action in place of Dzeko and Calhanoglu. It was Monza that took the initiative, however, and the Nerazzurri began to find itself pinned into its own half as the second period wore on. The hosts couldn’t find much success in the final third but Inter’s attack was completely absent. Monza eventually forced Onana into a big diving save on a header from Filippo Ranocchia in the 72nd minute, before Lautaro pinged the post on a counterattack ten minutes later. That miss and a disallowed Acerbi goal on a freekick for a foul loomed large for Inter deep into stoppage time.
Substitute Luca Caldirola headed Monza fans into ecstasy in the 93rd minute to bring the newly promoted side level with Inter.
LUCA CALDIROLA STUNS HIS FORMER CLUB INTER IN STOPPAGE TIME. pic.twitter.com/u20rgv0Np4— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) January 7, 2023
Monza almost went on to win it but luckily Onana was able to stop a second Caldirola header in the final minute of action. By the time all was said a done, a draw was, unfortunately, a fair result after Inter stopped playing football from halftime onwards. Monza outshot and out-possessed the Nerazzurri 13-11 and 55%-45% respectively and showed ten times more fight than the visitors.
Onana - 6: Made 3 strong saves but wasn’t able to do anything on either Monza goal.
Bastoni - 7: Led Inter in touches (67), completed 6 accurate long balls, made 2 clearances and 2 interceptions, and played a sublime assist to Darmian for the opener.
Acerbi - 5: Showed his age after starting two games back to back, looking especially weak on the Monza opener where he was caught out and too slow to close down Ciurria.
Skriniar - 6: Far from a vintage Skriniar showing, with the Slovakian looking off the pace all night and uncomfortable up against Monza’s attackers.
Dimarco - 7: One of Inter’s better performers thanks to a well-rounded shift with 7 crosses, 2 key passes, 3 long balls, and 2 duels won.
Mkhitaryan - 4: Made a simply unacceptable mistake that sparked Monza’s second goal, losing possession in midfield while trying to pull off a sombrero when all Inter needed was calm from its veteran.
Calhanoglu - 6: Put in another solid if uneventful showing in Brozovic’s usual role with 2 key passes and 3 accurate long balls before exiting with a knock on the hour mark.
Barella - 6: Left injured like his midfield counterpart but was fairly active beforehand with the 3rd most touches on Inter, 1 key pass, and 2 accurate long balls.
Darmian - 7.5: Finally got his goal after coming so close against Napoli. Put in a shift off the ball as well, where he won 5 duels and made 2 interceptions.
Dzeko - 5: Was never able to make much of an impact, ending a 60-minute appearance with just 16 touches and 0 shots.
Lautaro - 6.5: Got his first goal of 2023 and broke a lengthy scoring drought in the process, but faded to the periphery after except for one chance late on that hit the woodwork.
Inzaghi - 5: Shouldn’t have started Acerbi after so little rest and every sub was awful - although that’s more the players’ fault than Inzaghi’s. Lukaku in particular put in one of his worst performances ever (not as bad as against Croatia in the World Cup, but close) while Dumfries was beaten far too easily by Caldirola on the goal.
Inter stays 4th but Lazio, Roma, and Atalanta are now all the closer should they win tomorrow. Meanwhile, any title hopes are all but gone just days after they arrived and all the hard work that went into beating Napoli is for naught.
Next up is a Coppa Italia Round of 16 clash with Parma Tuesday and a visit from Hellas Verona this same time next week.