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18 December 2011
• Stadio Dino Manuzzi, Cesena
Referee: A. Romeo
• Attendance: 20138
A. Ranocchia 63'
90' + 5'
INTER HAVE DONE IT! The referee blows for full time and Inter have just squeaked by with a win here thanks to Ranocchia's header. The scoreline is harsh on the home side but with such a poor offense, Arrigoni's men have no one to blame but themselves. Thanks for joining us here on Goal.com!
90' + 4'
Zanetti makes a great run from the right wing into the centre and squares the ball to Stankovic. The veteran midfielder takes a shot that Antonioli just pushes around the far post!
90' + 2'
Inter counter through Forlan and play the ball up the right wing. The side earn two throw-ins in quick succession as the minutes are whittling down now.
The fourth official has added on four minutes of time. Four minutes for Cesena to get something from the match!
Milito off for Stankovic as Ranieri looks to secure the midfield for the very end of the match now.
Inter really hanging by a thread now. Candreva's shot gets deflected for a corner, and before he can take it, Benalouane comes on for Lauro. The corner is flicked on but somehow misses everyone and Inter earn a goal-kick.
Were this any other team rather than Cesena- the lowest scoring side in Serie A this season- it seems that Inter would be there for the taking with defending like this, but it's to the side's merit that they've taken advantage of the chance presented to them.
BRILLIANT FROM JULIO CESAR! The keeper makes a wonderful save to keep the game at 1-0! Cesena's pressure looked like it had payed off when Ghezzal shot right on target from mere yards out but the goalie dived low to keep that out.
Dramatics yet again in the Inter box! Candreva rifles his shot wide and Parolo fails to hammer home the follow up as he's offside. Unreal scenes from Ranieri's men who somehow have failed to concede.
Forlan coming on as a substitute for the second time in two games, coming on for Pazzini who's had quite a poor match.
More last-gasp defending from Inter. Mutu gets the ball just inside the away side's box, and both Lucio and Ranocchia slide to block it. From the ensuing throw in, Parolo's shot sails over the bar.
Inter's defence continues to look shaky at times but Cesena have not shown that they have what it takes to break it down.
Inter have a free kick halfway into Cesena's half after Ranocchia was fouled. Maicon plays it into the box but it's collected but Antonioli easily.
Inter refusing to rest on the one goal lead here and continue to press up the field. They're playing cautiously but not defensively, choosing easy passes rather than risky ones.
Another chance for Cesena gone begging. Mutu and Candreva were at the heart of that, a great drive into the box with the ball bouncing around and somehow, no one on the home team was able to stab that towards net.
Maicon tries a solo effort on goal with a long range strike but it sails over the goal harmlessly.
The game has become a midfield battle, with both sides entrenched near the halfway point.
Parolo fights off pressure from Motta in the midfield and tries to spur his side on, but since the goal Inter are looking much better at the back. Without something extra from the home team it looks like Inter will be able to deal with their attacks.
Candreva tries to cut the ball wide to Mutu but Zanetti has it read and Inter win a goal-kick shortly thereafter.
Abdel Kader Ghezzal
Candreva takes a Cesena corner, but a foul is committed in the box and the referee awards Inter a free kick. Immediately after, Bogdani comes on for Eder and Ghezzal replaces Ceccarelli in a double change from Arrigoni.
Motta is very close to playing the onrushing Nagatomo into the box but his through ball is slightly overhit and rolls out for a goal-kick.
Inter look much more comfortable with that goal under their belts. The movement is more fluid and everyone is playing with just a spring in their step.
Goal Andrea Ranocchia
RANOCCHIA GOALLLLLL!!!! Maicon swings in a superb free kick that the centre-back rises to meet, completely unchallenged, and he just powers his header into the back of the net! Perhaps undeserved for Inter but a goal nevertheless!! 1-0 Inter.
Yellow Card Maurizio Lauro
Maicon whips in a very good corner that just misses his teammates in the box. Nagatomo is taken out on the wing but Lauro and now Inter have a free kick in a great spot.
A good spell for Cesena here! Parolo drives in long range shot that Julio Cesar parries rather unconvincingly. Mutu gets on the end of it but his shot comes to nothing as Inter's defence is left looking quite suspect.
On the break Mutu just tries to slot the ball through the Inter defence but Cambiasso has the situation read and cuts it out just inside the Inter box. On the counter, Pazzini fires a shot from the right side of Cesena's box but his shot is well off target.
Maicon races down his flank to cut the ball back to Julio Cesar before Candreva can do something with it. Cesena are giving Inter some problem and Ranieri's men are far from comfortable at the moment.
Candreva tries to play Eder into the box but Ranocchia shepards the ball to his goalie before the striker can get to it.
Motta is down in some pain now after colliding with Mutu near the centre-circle. It appears the player may have twisted his knee and he's down receiving treatment.
How did Cesena fail to score there?! Guana lead a quick counter attack after gaining possession from Inter, and somehow failed to cut back to Mutu. Lucio and then Obi put their bodies on the line to prevent the ball from getting into the net!
And that was very very good from Lucio, who somehow managed to cut out a dangerous Candreva ball in the Inter box. The away side gain possession and charge up the pitch in numbers. Maicon puts in a great cross for Pazzini but the striker's header is off target.
It's been a rather scrappy start to the half, with both sides losing the ball easily and giving the ball away quite cheaply.
Lucio cuts out yet another pass, this time for Mutu. He's been quite solid at the back for Inter today.
Tough to tell if that was a shot or a cross from Pazzini, but in either case it was well off target! The player turned and played the ball halfway between the corner flag and the far post where none of his teammates were.
And we're back for the second half. Ranieri is making his first substitution of the match, bringing on Obi for Coutinho. The player is involved nearly immediately, trying to get a cross into the box which gets blocked.
45' + 2'
Mutu is down in the box and in disbelief that he didn't get the penalty call! Lucio had given him a slight push in the back but the referee has decided it wasn't worthy of a spot kick. The first half ends on that controversial note, and it's 0-0 thus far. Join us in 15 minutes for the second half!
45' + 1'
Inter ending the half on a bit of a high, getting a few crosses into Cesena's box, but failing to connect with any of them. Eder nearly able to set his teammates free in the box but Maicon handles the threat from Mutu well.
Milito gets the ball on the breakaway and lashes a shot on goal, which just trickles over the bar.
Nagatomo does well to read Mutu's pass to Ceccarelli and earns his side a goal-kick. The home side has been on top for the past ten minutes or so and Ranieri will be looking forward to the break as a chance to regroup.
Maicon takes a corner for Inter. It's headed away initially and Coutinho's follow-up volley is miskicked. Eder counters and whips a great cross that Ranocchia nods away. The ball is played right back into Inter's box, however, and Julio Cesar rushes off his line to push the ball away from Mutu's head. The goalie is down in some pain from that but looks ok to carry on.
Motta takes the free kick but the wall does its job and blocks the effort. The away side are forced all the way back to their goalie before they can come back up the pitch.
Candreva holds up the ball wonderfully in the box from Lucio's challenge and chips a cross that ultimately comes to nothing. Inter counter and Milito immediately wins a free kick just outside of Cesena's box once again.
Inter finally riding out the Cesena storm and getting more chances up the pitch. The home side's pressing is giving Inter all sorts of trouble, as epitomized by Eder's near interception of a Nagatomo pass.
Mutu does well to take on Nagatomo and lashes at a shot from the right corner of the box but it flies over the bar.
Parolo now trying his hand at a shot but his volley is well off target. Cesena in the midst of a good spell here, and remarkably enough, Julio Cesar nearly gifts the home side possession from his third free kick in a row!
And a real chance for Cesena! Candreva shoots from just outside the box and forces Julio Cesar to dive to his right in order to parry the shot away.
Rodriguez nods Maicon's corner clear and now the home side are able to build an attack of their own.
Inter slowly but surely making their way up the field. Motta plays a fantastic lofted ball to the onside Pazzini in the box, but the latter's first touch is poor and Cesena are able to nick it off of him for a corner.
Cesena break and Maicon does well to head the ball to his goalie under pressure in the box. 30 minutes in and neither side have yet had a true chance to score.
Coutinho takes this one but he fires his shot slightly over the bar.
Milito wins a free kick after a fantastic dribble around the Cesena box ends with Rodriguez catching his trailing leg.
Inter eventually end Cesena's corner once Julio Cesar is able to catch the ball, though the home side looked much more threatening on this one than last time. Their pressing has been commendable if their attacking edge has left a lot to be desired.
Scrappy scrappy midfield play from both sides who are carelessly losing possession at the moment. Candreva takes the opportunity to get past Maicon with a fantastic back-heel, and when he gets the ball back and fires it at goal, it deflects off Lucio for a corner.
Better corner from Cesena now, but Lauro's final header sails far wide of the target. Julio Cesar has yet more issues with the ensuing goal kick and it takes a very deep Lucio clearance to prevent Eder from slipping through.
Candreva takes on Lucio wide, and for all the trickery that the former has, he can't beat the latter's reading of the game. With a superb slide tackle Lucio dispossesses the player and plays it high for Pazzini to run at.
Eder and Zanetti clash in midfield, earning the home side a free kick. It's played quickly and chipped to the former, but he's offside as he races through Lucio and Ranocchia.
Cambiasso concedes a corner for Cesena to take. Candreva plays it very deep, and from the other wing the ball is crossed back in but it's played right out of bounds. Very poor from the home side.
Coutinho takes the corner, from which Ranocchia and Rodriguez bump heads in the box. The two players go down but are quickly back on their feet and allowed back onto the pitch.
Lucio makes a fantastic interception on Parolo and plays the ball quickly. Milito is nearly clear through on goal but cannot fire his shot as the Cesena defence puts pressure on him. Inter are swarming towards goal at the moment and earn a corner after Parolo's intervention on Cambiasso.
Ranocchia and Julio Cesar nearly lose possession from a free kick due to Eder's fantastic pressing, but the striker fouls the Italian defender and Inter are given another free kick slightly higher up the pitch.
Yellow Card Gianluca Comotto
Comotto booked for taking down Nagatomo with a high boot after the fullback just played the ball over the Cesena player.
Cesena enjoying more possession in the last couple of minutes but have yet to really test Julio Cesar. Inter looking quite comfortable for an away side.
Easily Inter's best play of the game so far. Coutinho and Pazzini did very well in the build up, the former playing a tricky pass to the latter who somehow spreads the ball wide through a sea of players for Zanetti. Maicon eventually is able to fire in a cross to Nagatomo, who volleys the ball just over the net!
Lucio on one of his trademarks runs forward tries to spur the Inter attack but he ends up losing the ball with a poor pass. Luckily for Inter, Cesena fail to counter properly and Inter aren't exposed at the back.
Ceccarelli plays a solid cross right into the heart of Inter's box but Ranocchia is there and heads it away. A minute later, the player tries again but Lucio is there this time and knocks it out for a throw-in. Ceccarelli gets involved once again and fires a shot on goal but it's right at Julio Cesar.
Parolo heads Cambiasso's first cross right back at him, and his second bite of the apple is a shot on target that Antonioli does well to parry out. Third time isn't the charm as Inter lose possession cheaply during the next successive corner.
Nagatomo turns on the afterburners and sends a great cross into the box that Cesena just manage to clear before Milito can get to it. Inter have a corner.
Inter trying to break through Cesena's defensive lines but the home side are defending in numbers. Cesena try to counter but Lucio reads the through ball perfectly and heads it back for Julio Cesar to distribute.
Candreva whips the free kick into the box but Pazzini is back defending and able to head it away. Zanetti loses the ball in an odd moment from the captain, and Candreva takes a snap shot on goal that drifts well wide.
And we have kick-off! Cesena begin with possession and immediately force Nagatomo to head the ball out. The home side win it back and win a free kick as well as Ranocchia takes down Eder deep in his own half.
The two teams are now heading out of the tunnel for the pre-match anthems. Inter are in their customary black-and-blue kit, whereas Cesena are also in their usual jerseys with a white shirt and black shorts.
A win today could see Inter go as high as fifth, should Palermo and Napoli lose their respective matches. The stability that Ranieri has brought to the side is remarkable, dragging the giants out of the relegation zone and up towards the European spots.
Meanwhile Ranieri has regained Andrea Ranocchia who missed the last couple of matches with a niggling injury and has opted for Coutinho in midfield. Faraoni and Poli fail to even make the bench. Inter: Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Thiago Motta, Cambiasso, Coutinho; Pazzini, Milito. Subs: Castellazzi, Stankovic, Forlan, Alvarez, Obi, Samuel, Zarate.
As for lineups, Daniele Arrigoni has tinkered with the side that took down Palermo. Marco Rossi is suspended and Martinez, Colucci and Martinho are all out for this one. Cesena: Antonioli; Comotto, Von Bergen, Rodriguez, Lauro; Parolo, Guana, Ceccarelli; Mutu, Candreva; Eder. Subs: Ravaglia, Ricci, Malonga, Djokovic, Benalouane, Ghezzal, Bogdani.
Both teams head into this match coming off a win; Inter took down Genoa away last matchday 1-0 and Cesena managed to end Palermo's 100% home record as well. Despite winning three of their last five matches, however, the Seahorses still find themselves mired in the relegation zone.
Welcome to Goal.com's match coverage of Cesena-Inter! Today Claudio Ranieri's men travel to the Stadio Dino Manuzzi hoping to continue their season revival. It's seventh against eighteenth in this round 16 Serie A clash.
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