Inzaghi made five changes from Inter’s UCL quarterfinal against Benfica, bringing Kristjan Asllani, Joaquin Correa, Romelu Lukaku, Robin Gosens, and Stefan de Vrij into the XI. Monza, meanwhile, lined up in Raffaele Palladino’s favored 3-4-2-1 with the all-Italian midfield of Stefano Sensi (who exited with injury after less than half an hour), Matteo Pessina, and Nicolo Rovella pulling the strings.
The action got off to an uneventful start, with the ball bouncing back and forth between the teams for much of the opening stages, albeit mainly in Monza’s half of the pitch. Inter eventually eased into control, however, registering the first shot on target of the night in the 24th minute through Correa from inside the box, but Michele Di Gregorio was on hand to deal with the Argentinian’s weak effort.
That was the closest Inter came to a goal all half. Despite 11 total shots compared to Monza’s sole effort, the hosts put just one attempt on target. The possession numbers show a more accurate representation of action at 53%-47% in Inter’s favor; the vast majority of which took place in Monza’s half but Inter lacked the creativity and dynamism to ever stress the visiting defense.
Monza took on a more protagonistic role to start the second half, rattling off 3 shots in the first few minutes. It was Inter that came closest to the opener, however, when Lukaku directed a Francesco Acerbi (in for the injured de Vrij) cross goalwards, but it lacked the power to beat Di Gregorio who pawed the ball off the line in the 57th minute. The Belgian was in the mood though and fizzed a rocket inches wide of the upper ninety less than a minute later.
Monza had the next quality look on goal in the 64th minute on a cutting counter-attack that found Dany Mota in space in the box, but the Portuguese striker sent his final product just over the bar.
The visitors weren’t to be denied for much longer, however, and broke the deadlock in the 78th minute through a wide-open Luca Caldirola’s header off a Patrick Ciurria corner.
LUCA CALDIROLA HEADS IT HOME TO BREAK THE DEADLOCK.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 15, 2023
Monza take the lead over Inter. pic.twitter.com/7yGJyEFO8Z
Inter threw the kitchen sink at Monza with ten minutes to go, even playing with three strikers once Edin Dzeko was introduced. It was all to no good, however, and despite 26 total shots (8 on target) compared to Monza’s 7 (2 on target), the final score read Inter 0, Monza 1.
Onana - 6: Couldn’t do much on the Monza goal but more or less dealt with everything else Monza kicked at him with ease.
Bastoni - 5: Was the defender closest to Caldirola on Monza’s goal but could only watch as the Inter youth product scored on his old club. Did cause problems at the other end of the pitch with a few dangerous crosses, but that doesn’t negate his defensive error.
de Vrij - 6: Exited on 50 minutes with an ankle injury after a solid showing of 3 duels won, 2 clearances, and 1 blocked shot.
Darmian - 6: Not much added or subtracted to Inter’s overall play from the Italian, although he did have a few nice moments on the ball with 4 accurate long balls and the second most touches on Inter.
Gosens - 6.5: The German put in quite the off-the-ball work, stopping several potentially threatening Monza counterattacks before they could become anything more. He only managed 2 crosses and 0 key passes in attack, however, a sign of Inter’s general attacking malaise.
Mkhitaryan - 6: Looks to be wearing down with so many minutes on his legs this season. Managed only the 6th most touches on Inter before an early sub and struggled to make anything happen in the final third.
Asllani - 7: A second straight start in Serie A and the Albanian continued to impress with a 95% passing rate, 1 key pass, 5 accurate long balls, and 2 interceptions.
Barella - 6: An up-and-down showing from Barella. Led the team in touches and notched 3 key passes but managed just an 82% passing rate and 20 giveaways, proving far too volatile to create much of true danger in the final third.
Dumfries - 5: Once again lacked precision in the final third, going 2 for 7 on crosses. With a bit more quality he could have had an assist or two to his name, but we’ve been saying that all season.
Correa - 5.5: A bit more active than last week with 1 key pass and 4 shots, but Correa is still completely lacking any sort of effectiveness and barely tested Di Gregorio with his one quality look on goal in the first half.
Lukaku - 6: Was Inter’s most dangerous attacker but through a mix of unluckiness and poor finishing couldn’t do what mattered most - score a goal.
Inzaghi - 5: Couldn’t have any complaints with his starting XI or subs, but how it played out on the pitch definitely falls at Inzaghi’s feet. Week after week, it’s the same old story, and that’s the coach’s fault for not finding a fix.
Inter has now gone five games since a win in Serie A and could have gone 3rd with three points today. Instead, the Nerazzurri remain 5th, go two points behind Milan (and possibly 5 behind Roma if it beats Udinese), and could be caught up to by Atalanta. Not great!
Inzaghi’s side will be focused on its UCL leg two against Benfica Wednesday before visiting Empoli Sunday.