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UEFA Champions League
25 April 2012
• Stadio Communale Friuli, Udine
Referee: L. Banti
• Attendance: 18000
It was literally a game of two halves: the first was a corker, with three exceptional goals. The second was scrappy and full of mistakes. Inter will take this though, as they condemn Udinese to only their second home loss of the season. I've been Alex Mott, thanks for joining me. I'll be back in an hour for Milan - Genoa.
90' + 6'
And that's it. Full time here in Udine, and it's finished Udinese 1-3 Inter.
90' + 5'
Pasquale has it now for Udinese down the left-hand side. He gets his cross in, towards Floro Flores, but his header is too acute, and it goes across goal and out for a goal kick.
90' + 3'
The corner's played short and kept by the corner flag, but Pasquale comes across and clears the ball away for Udinese.
90' + 3'
Domizzi has the ball now, in his own area. Guarin chases him down though, and wins a corner for Inter.
90' + 2'
After all that, both Stankovic and Floro Flores are back on.
90' + 1'
There will be six minutes of added time here.
No, Stankovic is walking off now, and he seems to be holding his ribs. We're back playing anyway.
Floro Flores is back on his feet. Stankovic though, is still on the floor in some pain.
Stankovic and Floro Flores have collided. And it does not look good for either of them.
Torje whips it in from the right. Benatia has a free header right on the penalty spot, but his effort goes over the bar. He has to do better there.
Torje has it again for Udinese. On the right-hand side of the area, he tries to use his pace and get round the outside of Nagatomo. The Japanese international though, manages to get his foot on the ball and out for a corner.
Up the other, Torje plays Floro Flores through, but the former Napoli man can't quite flick the ball over the head of Julio Cesar, and the Brazilian parries the ball away.
Inter are on the counter now, as Guarin comes over the halfway line with the ball. He plays in Sneijder, who looks to slip in Milito. The Argentine, on the edge of the area, cuts back, and plays it square to the on-rushing Guarin. The Colombian though, isn't quite strong or quick enough to get past Asamoah, and Udinese clear.
Obi, who's looked lively since coming on, plays a one-two with Sneijder on the halfway line. He the return pass from the Dutch midfielder is overhit though, and Handanovic plays the keeper-sweeper to leather the ball upfield.
Floro Flores gets played in down the left-hand side, but Maicon comes across, and shepherds the ball out of play.
If results stay as they are, Inter will move up to sixth place, level on points with Udinese on 52. Three points behind Lazio in third.
It's Sneijder again for Inter, looking for his hat-trick. Obi, on the right-hand side of the area, plays the ball inside to the Dutchman, who fires a shot at goal. The effort though, goes just wide.
Julio Cesar immediately starts another attack for the Nerazzurri, as a long kick upfield ends in a corner on the right-hand side which Stankovic takes. It's flicked on at the near post by Ranocchia to Sneijder who, on the edge of the area, fires wide with a volley.
It comes to nothing as Nagatomo, inside the Udinese area, loses the ball, and Udinese counter. The ball is pumped long to Floro Flores, but the former Napoli man can only cross into the arms of Julio Cesar.
Inter are just keeping the ball like it's a training exercise. But, to be fair to Udinese, this is the first time in the half the Nerazzurri have had any period of prolonged possession.
Luckily for Inter, and Ranocchia, the corner comes to nothing.
Ranocchia gets caught, for the second time in this game, dithering. A header flicked on by Floro Flores should just go all the way through to Julio Cesar, but Ranocchia decides to take the law into his own hands at the last minute, and slices the ball over the keeper, and luckily, over the bar.
It's been all Udinese so far in this half. And again, the Zebrette have another opportunity to score. Asamoah, on the edge of the area, fired a great shot at goal, only for Julio Cesar to get down and palm his shot away. And from the rebound, the ball is played back into the box, where Di Natale looks to create half a yard and fire at goal. He does, but Julio Cesar, again, gets down and pushes the shot away. Great goalkeeping there.
Floro Flores has it again for Udinese. 30 yards from goal, he spots the run of Di Natale, and plays the ball through. The veteran striker should take the ball into his path and shoot at goal. Instead he tries to cut inside and draw a foul from Lucio. It doens't happen, and Inter clear.
The game's getting a bit scrappy now: Benatia fouling Cambiasso inside the centre circle.
Yellow Card Antonio Floro Flores
Floro Flores comes forward now for Udinese. He plays a one-two with Di Natale on the edge of the area, but gets upended. The referee though, waves play on, much to the disgust of the Zebrette fans and players. Floro Flores gets booked for dissent.
Maicon goes on a surging run down the right-hand side and wins a corner off of Armero. Stankovic takes it, but Floro Flores heads it back towards the Serb. He puts another ball in, this time towards Guarin. The Colombian can't get his head to it though, and the ball runs away for a throw in.
@komobaba has weighed into the Stramaccioni/full-time debate: "I see no reason why Inter should not retain this new coach, he is energetic and full of ideas." He has only coached for four and a half games everyone!
Inter are looking to break now, with Guarin coming forward down the right-hand side. The former Porto man brings it over the halfway line, before playing it inside to Sneijder. The Dutch midfielder then switches the play to Alvarez on the left-hand side. The former Valez Sarsfield man doesn't take enough care in possession though, and gets tackled by Basta before he can get his cross in.
Floro Flores gets played through by Pinzi, and goes racing into the box. He 's being pressured by Nagatomo and Ranocchia though, and manages to fall over inside the area claiming a penalty. It isn't. And he doesn't get it.
Ahmad Osman on Twitter is pleased with Stramaccioni: "Stramaccioni is the only brave coach to alter the formation since Mourinho and reap the rewards!" But would you give it him full-time Ahmad?
Floro Flores takes the quick throw in and gives it to Asamoah. The Ghanaian brings it inside, and from 25yards, strikes at goal. The shot goes wide of the left-hand post.
A long ball from Danilo is headed away by Nagatomo, but only as far as the touchline.
We're back. And it's Udinese who gets us underway, kicking from left-to-right. Here's hoping the second half is as good as the first!
Fareed Rezaei on Twitter has been impressed with Stramaccioni's selection: "This Inter looks different! Ranieri never used Sneijder and Alvarez together claiming they can't play together. Look at them now!"
Wow. What a half. An early Danilo goal looked to have given Udinese the initative, but a pair of Wesley Sneijder strikes, and a brilliant solo effort from Ricky Alvarez have given Inter a 3-1 lead. I'll be back in 15 minutes, but in the meantime, do hit me up on Twitter @alexjmott.
45' + 1'
Yellow Card Danilo
Sneijder takes, put it goes over the bar. And that, is the last action of the half.
Danilo gets done completely by Guarin on the edge of the Udinese area, and the Brazilian centre back decides to take him out. Free kick. Yellow card.
Asamoah has it for Udinese now. On the halfway line, he runs forward with the ball, and plays it into the feet of Floro Flores. The Ghanaian looks for the return pass, but the former Napoli man has other ideas, and goes for the shot himself. The effort is a poor one though, and the ball goes over the bar for a goal kick.
HANDBALL!!! NO? Basta, from the right-hand side of the box, tried to put in a first time cross. The ball though, looked to have hit Nagatomo's hand inside the area, but the referee waves play on.
Immediately from kick off, Udinese win a free kick on the let-hand side of the area. Di Natale whips it in, as Danilo tries to flick it on at the near post. His header though, is too strong, and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Assist Fredy Guarín
Goal Ricardo Álvarez
GOOOAAALLLL INTER!!! AND IT'S ALVAREZ WITH THE GOAL!!! A counter-attack from Inter started with Guarin on the edge of his own area. The former Porto man used his pace to get past Asamoah, and then played the ball over the top to Alvarez. The young Argentinian went with the ball towards the box, turned one way, then the other, and struck the ball, from just inside the box, across Handanovic and into the back of the net. 3-1.
Yellow Card Dejan Stankovic
The free kick is played short, but Basta loses the ball, and Nagatomo attacks down the left-hand side for Inter. He gets to the byline, and cuts the ball back for Sneijder. The Dutchman looks to play a delicate ball through to Milito, but the pass is wayward, and Handanovic collects.
Pinzi, on the halfway line, has been clattered by Stankovic, and a free kick is given.
This game is going from end-to-end, and back to the other end in a flash. Udinese are certainly dominating possession, but Inter look like they could score everytime they get into the Zebrette's half.
The corner comes to nothing and Inter break. Cambiasso takes the ball over the halfway line, and plays the ball through to Nagatomo, who's running from deep. The Japanese international gets to the edge of the area, cuts back on to his right foot, and curls a shot at goal. Unfortunately though, his shot is slightly to high, and the ball goes over the bar for a goal kick.
Immediately from kick off, the ball ends up at the feet of Floro Flores on the right-hand touchline. He runs at the Inter defence, before unleashing a shot from 25 yards. Julio Cesar has to get down well, and tips the ball around the post for a corner.
Assist Diego Milito
Goal Wesley Sneijder
GOOOAAAALLLL!!!!! AND IT'S 2-1 INTER!! Milito, with the ball on the right-hand side of the area, shrugged off Danilo and Benatia, before rolling it across the box for Sneijder. The Dutchman still had a lot to do though, with Handanovic coming out to close the angle. The former Madrid man though, cheekily chipped it over the keeper and into the back of the net.
And as I say that, Alvarez, with the ball on the edge of the Udinese area, nearly plays Cambiasso through on goal. Domizzi though, comes across, and blocks the pass.
Maicon has it for Inter just inside the halfway line. He plays it down the line to Alvarez, who manages to lose the ball and give away a free kick in the space of five seconds. I've been really disappointed with Alvarez recently. I know he's been injured and in-and-out of the team, but the early promise he showed just hasn't come to fruition. What do you think? Get involved @alexjmott on Twitter.
Up the other end, and Pinzi and Di Natale exchange passes on the edge of the Inter box. Unfortunately for the Zebrette though, Pinzi's pass is a poor one, and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Inter have a prolonged period of possession, as Nagatomo and Cambiasso exchange passes on the halfway line. The Argentinian then gives it to Guarin, 30 yards from goal. The former Porto man, for some reason, decides to shoot. And needless to say, his shot is awful.
That's unlucky from Armero. On the halfway, he tricked his way past Alvarez, then Maicon, and used his pace to knock the ball past Lucio. Unfortunately for the Colombian, his touch was a poor one, and he couldn't quite keep the ball in play.
We're back on as Di Natale chases a long ball down the left-hand flank. He manages to keep it in play, and cuts the ball back to Pazienza, who's making a late run towards the edge of the box. He hits it first time, but the shot is poor, and Julio Cesar saves easily.
There's been a stoppage in play because the ball's flat. Apparently I'm watching park football.
Maicon is making his first mazy run forward down the right. He gives it inside to Alvarez, who, 25 yards from goal, looks to slip Milito through. The pass though, is too strong, and Handanovic comes out to collect.
Udinese are coming forward now with Basta. He brings the ball up to the edge of the right-hand side of the area, and plays it inside to Pazienza. The former Juve man then puts in a delicate cross towards the far post, but the pass is overhit and the ball runs out for a throw in.
Assist Diego Milito
Goal Wesley Sneijder
OHHHH!!!! WHAT A RIDICULOUS GAME THIS IS!!! IT'S 1-1!! Sneijder, on the edge of the Udinese area, fired a speculative shot at goal, but Handanovic made a complete hash of it, and let the ball through his hands and into the back of the net.
OHHH. And it's almost two! A cross from the right is flicked on at the near post by Floro Flores, and the ball comes out to Asamoah. The Ghanaian fires a volley at goal, but the shot goes just wide of the right-hand post.
How Danilo has managed to saunter upfield, and be unmarked on the edge of the area, I will never know.
Assist Pablo Armero
OH MY WORD!!! WHAT A GOAL!!!! Danilo received the ball on the edge of the Inter area, and smashed a shot against the inside of the left-hand post and into the back of the net. 1-0.
Oh dear. That is hopelessly poor from Ranocchia. The young defender got caught in possession on the halfway line, and Floro Flores went through on goal. The former Napoli man though, took the ball too wide, and tried to get a cross in towards Di Natale, that Julio Cesar came and collected.
Udinese are coming forward now with Armero. He plays it square to Floro Flores, 25 yards from goal, who gives it to Pazienza. The youngster then chips a through-ball towards Di Natale, but the pass it overhit, and Julio Cesar comes out to collect.
The throw in is taken by Maicon, but Basta reads it, and clears the ball upfield for Udinese.
Lucio has it at centre back, and fires a long ball up towards the feet of Miltio on the edge of the Udinese area. Danilo though, gets the better of him physically, and clears the ball out for a throw in.
And we're off. Inter get us underway, kicking from left-to-right.
The players have left the tunnel, and before we get underway, Di Natale is just leaving a bunch of flowers under a banner with Piermario Morosini's name.
10 minutes to go until kick off here in Udine, and the atmosphere is bubbling under nicely.
As always, you can get involved @alexjmott on Twitter, and send me all your thoughts/predictions/comments.
Inter (4-3-2-1): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Nagatomo; Guarin, Stankovic, Cambiasso; Alvarez, Sneijder; Milito.
Udinese (3-5-1-1): Handanovic; Benatia, Danilo, Domizzi; Basta, Pinzi, Pazienza, Asamoah, Armero; Floro Flores; Di Natale.
TEAM NEWS: Udinese line up as expected, with Floro Flores supporting Di Natale. For Inter however, Sneijder returns from his recent injury lay-off, and will play in a 4-3-2-1 alongside Alvarez.
At Stadio Friuli though, Guidolin's men have been near faultless this season: suffering only one loss in their last 16 games at home.
Equally, Udinese have picked up only one win in their last eight fixtures; drawing four and losing the other three. And despite Di Natale's high-ranking in the capocannoneri, the Zebrette have been held scoreless in five of their last 10 games.
Away from San Siro though, the Milanese giants have been exceptionally poor this term: they have secured only one win in their last seven away games, and have found the back of the net on just 16 occasions in 18 fixtures away from home.
With five games left of the Serie A season, today's game will go some way to deciding who gets that invaluable third Champions League spot. A win this afternoon for Inter will take them level on points with Udinese, with the Nerazzurri unbeaten so far under Andrea Stramaccioni.
Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE, play-by-play coverage, of Udinese vs Inter from Stadio Friuli. I'm Alex Mott, and I'll be your commentator for this afternoon's crucial Serie A clash.
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