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29 September 2013
• Stadio Nereo Rocco, Trieste
Referee: G. Rocchi
• Attendance: 6000
R. Nainggolan 83'
M. Icardi 75'
However, the good news for Inter fans is that they are six points ahead of Milan and they will look to extend that lead when they host high-flying Roma next Saturday. As for Cagliari, they will search for their first league win in six games when they travel to Udinese. Thanks for joining me, Max Bentley, on this live commentary. Until next time, goodbye.
FT: Cagliari 1-1 Inter. Radja Nainggolan's late deflected strike gives Diego Lopez's side their fourth consecutive league draw after substitute Mauro Icardi had headed the Nerazzurri in front. Inter miss the chance to go top of Serie A but Walter Mazzarri's unbeaten run continues.
The referee blows the final whistle! Cagliari's good record against Inter continues.
90' + 2'
SCRAMBLE IN THE CAGLIARI BOX! Milito's cross is headed back across goal by Icardi and it is a goalmouth scramble of epic proportions as Cagliari just about manage to keep out Cambiasso and Milito. Can Inter find a late winner to head to the top of Serie A?
90' + 1'
A spot of handbags in the closing stages as Astori and Guarin become involved in an altercation by the touchline. The referee gets across quickly however to break it up.
Yellow CardYuto Nagatomo
Nagatomo is the sixth player to be booked after he mistimes a challenge on Nainggolan. Bar that caution, it's been a very good performance from Nagatomo today.
A desperate late change from Mazzarri which shows his ambition to go for the three points as Diego Milito comes on to replace Andrea Ranocchia. Can he prove to be a super sub?
CAGLIARI GO CLOSE! It's a tense finish at the Stadio Is Arenas as Sau wriggles his way past two Inter defenders before his squared pass is cut out brilliantly by the backtracking Nagatomo, denying Ibarbo a tap-in.
WHAT A GOAL THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN! Inter almost respond immediately when Cambiasso chests Pereira's cross to Palacio and the Argentine flicks the ball over the head of a defender with his right foot before firing just over the bar with his left.
1-1, CAGLIARI EQUALISE! It's a goal with a huge slice of fortune for the Sardinians as Nainggolan lines up a shot from the edge of the box which deflects wickedly off Rolando and into the far corner. The Rossoblu support are ecstatic.
Nagatomo has been a constant threat down the right for Inter but this time he cannot pick out a white shirt with his cross. It's been a bright start to the season for the Japanese wing-back who now has two goals and three assists.
Cagliari are not giving up hope of an equaliser however and Handanovic has Ranocchia to thank after the centre-back clears the ball away from Sau after the Slovenian had spilled Ibrahimi's low cross.
Victor Ibarbo is starting to lose his cool for Cagliari and he is fortunate that the referee does not see his intended butting of heads with Pereira.
Are Inter heading for their first win at Cagliari since a Samuel Eto'o strike in a 1-0 victory back in 2010? It really has been a fantastic start to life at Inter for Walter Mazzarri.
ICARDI GIVES INTER THE LEAD! Palacio has certainly made an impact since he came on and his incise ball splits the Cagliari defence. Nagatomo picks up the ball on the right side of the box and his accurate cross is headed in by Icardi from a few yards out. Inter look to be heading to the Serie A summit!
Mauricio Pinilla has struggled to make an impact up front and he is replaced by Marco Sau, who scored a fine goal against Milan earlier in the season.
GOOD CHANCE FOR CAGLIARI! Ibarbo has been the home side's most dangerous attacker and his incisive pass finds Dessena on the right side of the box. However, Guarin rushes back brilliantly to block the midfielder's shot on goal.
Palacio's teasing cross to the near post is half-cleared by Cagliari but Pereira wins the ball back with a brilliant tackle on Perico before Nagatomo's deflected shot is comfortably gathered by Agazzi.
Ranocchia concedes a free kick in a dangerous area but Icardi shows his defensive responsibilities as he heads clear Ibrahimi's testing delivery.
GOOD CHANCE FOR CAGLIARI! Cambiasso produces a rare mistake when he heads a clearance straight to Ibrahimi but the substitute snatches at his shot and blazes over the crossbar.
Inter are looking lively and Kovacic slips a neat pass through for Palacio. However, his first touch takes him too wide and he cannot pick out a fellow white shirt with his cross.
PEREIRA GOES CLOSE! Palacio looks to make an instant impression and his teasing cross from the right finds the Uruguayan at the back post but he can only head over the bar.
Walter Mazzarri responds by making a change of his own and the Nerazzurri's top league goalscorer, Rodrigo Palacio, comes on for Ishak Belfodil.
First change of the game for Cagliari as Agim Ibraimi makes his second substitute appearance of the season, coming on for Matias Cabrera.
Inter do look dangerous in wide areas however and Nagatomo's cross towards Belfodil is a teasing one. However, Astori reads the danger and makes a vital clearance.
Guarin has been relatively disappointing today and he overhits a free kick straight out of play. Mazzarri must be contemplating another substitution soon.
INTER HAVE THE BALL IN THE NET BUT IT WON'T COUNT! Pereira gets clear excellently down the left and his cross towards the back post is headed across goal by Belfodil but Kovacic cannot get there ahead of Rossettini and makes the foul before the Pereira puts the ball into the net.
Yellow CardRadja Nainggolan
Nainggolan is certainly not one to pull out of a tackle and he becomes the fourth Cagliari player to be booked when Pereira gets to the ball slightly before him and nicks it away. The Belgian is not happy with that decision though he can have no complaints.
It's hotting up a little here and after Cambiasso's goalbound shot is well blocked by Astori, Guarin goes down inside the box. However, it does appear that the Colombian went down too easily and the referee waves play on.
Kovacic produces a fine piece of skill to send Nagatomo free down the right but the Japanese wing-back's cross is well cleared by the Cagliari defence.
Pereira's long diagonal pass picks out the run of Icardi excellently but the summer signing cannot get the ball under control in the box. Pereira has looked bright on his first Serie A start of the season.
Cagliari have started the second half strongly and Inter are yet to get the ball forward to the substitute Icardi. You get the feeling that this game may be decided by a single goal.
Perico has got forward several times for Cagliari down the right and his cross from the right is well headed clear by Ranocchia. Moments later Nainggolan surges into the box but he cannot pick out a teammate with his cutback.
The teams emerge from the tunnels for the second half and Mauro Icardi receives his instructions from Mazarri and Cambiasso as he comes on to replace Ricky Alvarez, who I can only imagine has picked up an injury.
Diego Lopez will be relatively happy with his side's performance as Cagliari have looked increasingly threatening as the half developed. Nainggolan and Conti are doing a good job in the heart of midfield with Ibarbo's pace looking to cause problems up front. Let's hope for some goals in the second half.
HT: Cagliari 0-0 Inter. It's all square at the half-time whistle in a 45 minutes which has seen Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi produce several fine saves to keep the Nerazzurri at bay. Ishak Belfodil has looked lively on his first league start for the visitors as they go in search of three points to take them to the top of the table.
Walter Mazzarri is up from the bench and berating orders to his players as they go in search of a late goal before the half-time whistle. Agazzi has made some brilliant saves to deny Inter in this half but they have looked less threatening as the game has progressed.
Inter have only conceded twice in Serie A so far this season and they are well organised again here to head clear Cabrera's corner from the left.
Cagliari are starting to look more of a threat and Pinilla sends a header over the crossbar after connecting well with a cross from the right.
Ibarbo plays a clever reverse pass into the path of Dessena but the midfielder opts to take a touch when he had a chance to shoot from albeit a narrow angle. Will we see a goal before the break?
Yellow CardLuca Rossettini
Luca Rossettini is the third Cagliari player to be cautioned after he tugs back on the shirt of Kovacic.
Alvarez looks to trick his way past Avelar down by the corner flag but the Cagliari left-back stands up and makes a well-timed tackle. The Argentine has showed some good touches but is yet to really show his quality in this game.
Yellow CardMauricio Pinilla
Mauricio Pinilla is the third man in the book after his rash tackle on Pereira. The Uruguayan certainly felt that one.
Conti steps up to strike the free kick and it creeps through a gap in the wall before being well held by Handanovic. Not one of his finer efforts.
Yellow CardJuan Jesus
Guarin's miscontrol from a corner allows Cagliari to counter attack and Ibarbo accelerates towards goal before being brought down cynically by Juan Jesus who is deservedly shown a yellow card. Free kick in a good position here.
ALVAREZ GOES CLOSE! The Argentine seems to be enjoying this free role and his fizzing shot dips narrowly over the crossbar via a slight deflection.
HANDANOVIC IS FINALLY CALLED INTO ACTION! Daniele Conti chips in a cross and Pinilla rises above Ranocchia to send a header towards goal, which is well parried by the Slovenian goalkeeper.
Guarin is never one to shy away from shooting and he collects Kovacic's pass around 25 yards from goal before blazing an effort high over the crossbar.
Juan Jesus has not put a foot wrong so far and he produces a brilliant tackle to deny Ibarbo a route to goal. The Inter back three have been relatively untroubled so far.
Nainggolan's crunching challenge sets up a promising Cagliari counter attack but Ibarbo is denied a tap-in at the back post as Rolando gets across excellently to cut out Pinilla's low cross.
AGAZZI TO THE RESCUE! The Cagliari shotstopper has proved a hard obstacle to beat in the early stages and he produces a fine reflex stop to keep out Belfodil's header after Nagatomo's accurate cross from the right.
Pereira is looking for the aerial threat of Belfodil but he just cannot get the precision on his crosses at the moment. Cagliari attack down the other end and Pinilla does not fare much better as he overhits his cross from the right.
Daniele Conti is not afraid to shoot and his long distance strike takes a deflection off Cambiasso before bouncing awkwardly and just wide of Handanovic's right-hand post. Cagliari are slowly starting to stamp their mark on this game now.
Ibarbo is looking to use his pace to get in behind the Inter defence but to no avail so far. Despite making a handful of changes, Mazzarri's side have certainly not lacked fluidity.
Handanovic is yet to touch the ball and that continues as Conti slices his volley well wide of the target. Inter have looked comfortable so far.
Yellow CardDaniele Conti
BOOKING FOR CONTI! The Cagliari skipper is cautioned after cynically bringing down Kovacic in a quick Inter counter attack. That was a good chance for the Nerazzurri to break away and they had plenty of numbers in support.
ANOTHER FINE SAVE FROM AGAZZI! This time Nagatomo releases Belfodil down the right and his cross is pushed out by the Cagliari goalkeeper to Pereira. The Uruguayan cuts inside his marker and sends a right-footed shot towards the top corner which Agazzi does brilliantly to get a hand to.
There's a lot of water on the pitch here and the ball has got stuck once or twice already. It's good to see that both teams are still trying to play football along the ground though.
Cagliari look to threaten when Cabrera attempts a lofted ball over the Inter defence for Ibarbo to chase. However, Juan Jesus is alert to the danger and hoofs the ball upfield.
GUARIN GOES CLOSE! It's all Inter at the moment and Agazzi has to produce another smart save to turn Guarin's deflected effort over the bar. You can sense the confidence flowing through this Nerazzurri side.
Inter continue to exert the early pressure and Guarin looks to bulldoze his way through the Cagliari defence. The Colombian gets past several players before he is eventually crowded out on the edge of the box.
GOOD EFFORT FROM NAGATOMO! Pereira's cross from the left is flicked on by Belfodil and the Japanese international meets the ball with a dipping right-footed shot which is tipped over the crossbar by Agazzi. Good start from Inter here.
Alvaro Pereira makes an early surge down the left and he looks up for Belfodil. However, the Uruguayan's cross is well cut out by Astori.
The referee blows the whistle and Cagliari get the ball rolling. Can they produce a good performance to claim only their second league victory of the season against Mazzarri's in-form side?
It seems there has been a change to the Cagliari lineup as Danilo Avelar starts in place of Nicola Murru at left-back. Captains Esteban Cambiasso and Daniele Conti exchange handshakes in the centre circle.
The teams emerge from the tunnels and onto the field of play; Cagliari in their traditional blue and red strip with Inter in their alternative white jerseys. Gianluca Rocchi is today's referee.
Defence has been the main problem for the Sardinians, who have yet to keep a clean sheet in any competitive game this term. Given that Inter have scored 15 goals in only five games in the league, they should be hopeful of adding to that tally today.
Walter Mazzarri also rings the changes despite Thursday's impressive comeback win against Fiorentina. Rolando, Alvaro Pereira and Ishak Belfodil make their first league starts of the season whilst Mateo Kovacic is also handed a start after his impressive cameo off the bench. Hugo Campagnaro, Jonathan, Saphir Taider and Rodrigo Palacio are the players to make way.
Diego Lopez makes three changes to the Cagliari side which drew 1-1 with Livorno on Wednesday as Nicola Murru, Matias Cabrera and former Inter attacker Mauricio Ferreira Pinilla are recalled to the side in place of Danilo Avelar, the injured Albin Ekdal and Nene.
INTER (3-5-1-1): Handanovic; Rolando, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus; Nagatomo, Guarin, Cambiasso, Kovacic, Pereira; Alvarez; Belfodil.
CAGLIARI (4-3-1-2): Agazzi; Perico, Rossettini, Astori, Murru; Dessena, Conti, Nainggolan; Cabrera; Pinilla, Ibarbo.
Without further ado, here are today's lineups...
Can Mazzarri's side keep the pressure on at the top of the table? Bringing you all the action from the Stadio Is Arenas, my name is Max Bentley.
The Rossoblu were somewhat a bogey side for Inter last season and picked up four points in the two league fixtures between them, including a 2-0 win here back in April. However, Diego Lopez's side have enjoyed a mediocre start to the season and have not tasted success since their opening day victory at home to Atalanta.
It's been a brilliant start to life at Inter for Walter Mazzarri who has seen his side accumulate four wins and a respectable draw against Juventus in their opening five games. With fierce rivals Milan enjoying a slow start, there are early suggestions that the pendulum is swinging back in the Nerazzurri's favour. However, the season is still young and a trip to Cagliari today, where Inter have not triumphed since 2010, should be a good indicator of their progress.
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