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2 December 2012
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: M. Bergonzi
• Attendance: 41000
S. García 74' (own goal)
Shots on Target
Well, that's just about it from me, folks. Thanks for following the game with Goal.com. By no means a classic but Inter fans won't care. Catch you during the week for all of the Champions League action. Ciao!
FULL-TIME: And that's that! A crucial victory for Inter, who had amassed just one point from their three previous Serie A outings. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't deserved. But Inter are back to winning ways ahead of a monumental encounter with fellow Scudetto contenders Napoli at San Siro next Sunday night. As for Palermo, they can take a lot of pride out of this performance but without Miccoli, there is a total lack of incision.
90' + 4'
Morganella tries to get on the end of a long ball forward but Ranocchia shepherds the ball out of play. Less than 60 seconds to go.
90' + 2'
Inter have taken the sting out of this game extremely well, with Palacio, who has excelled in that regard, earning his side another corner.
Into the final minute at San Siro. Palermo don't look remotely like scoring, but they've got four added minutes to work with.
Corner for Inter. Coutinho takes it but it's straight into the arms of Ujkani. A real waste from the Brazilian.
I mentioned Palermo's poor form on the road earlier. Well, to be more specific, they've failed to win any of their last 11 Serie A away games. Looks like that ignominious run is going to be extended to 12 matches today.
Good hold-up play from Palacio, who earns his side a throw-in deep in Palermo territory. Inter will be looking for more of that from him in these last few minutes.
Cambiasso, who's run his socks off today, blazes over the bar, and that's his last contribution of note, the Nerazzurri veteran replaced by Mariga for the closing stages.
Dybala has run out of steam and on comes Zahavi in his place.
Unsurprisingly, Inter suddenly look a whole lot livelier, and Coutinho tests Ujkani with a well-struck effort that the goalkeeper manages to gather at the second attempt.
Gasperini responds to seeing his side undeservedly fall behind by replacing Ilicic with Budan.
Own Goal S. García
GOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLL! DISASTER FOR PALERMO! Ranocchia picks up possession on the right-hand side and whips over a harmless cross that Garcia deflects into his own net. Understandable that he tried to cut out the ball but so frustrating for Inter as it wasn't as if any Inter player was waiting to pounce. Inter don't care, though. They didn't look like they were going to score at all!
Yellow Card Walter Samuel
Dybala causing problems for Samuel again and the veteran defender pulls him down. Out comes the yellow card and that's a costly booking for Samuel as it rules him out of next weekend's crunch clash with Napoli.
Dybala pounces on a mistake from Gargano wide on the Palermo right before driving infield before letting rip. However, that was never troubling Handanovic, who simply waved it over the bar.
Now a change from former Inter boss Gasperini, who replaces Brienza, who's impressed sporadically, with Giorgi.
Nagatomo and Guarin make an almost immediately impact, playing a key role in slick move that looks destined to end with Palacio tapping home at the far post. However, Ujkani stretches out a hand to divert the ball away from the Argentine. Crucial intervention from the goalkeeper.
Well, as predicted, both Nagatomo and Guarin have come on. However, what's incredibly surprising is that Milito and Zanetti are the men to make way! Neither man looked to have been carrying an injury. Bizarre!
Yellow Card Jasmin Kurtić
Coutinho tries to lift the hosts by running at Palermo. He's quickly chopped down by Kurtic, though, and the Slovenian deservedly sees yellow for a rather cynical foul.
That's not quite as inspiring from Ranocchia, who sees his long ball towards Palacio go straight out of play.
Gargano has picked up a knock. It remains to be seen just how serious an injury it is, but we might see Guarin soon.
Some barnstorming play from Ranocchia earns Inter a corner, which Palermo repeatedly fail to adequately clear. Eventually Samuel swings over a low cross that Ranocchia has two cracks at it, the second of which results in the ball flying just over the bar. A fine effort from the centre-half.
Palacio lays the ball off for the supporting Pereira on the left-hand side. You can probably guess what happens next, the Uruguayan gifting possession back to Palermo with a truly awful cross. We saw Nagatomo warming up five minutes ago, so surely it's only a matter of time before the Japanese enters the fray? ...
Yellow Card S. García
Pereira embarks on a surge out of defence which is only halted on halfway by a crude challenge from Garcia, who goes straight into the book.
Palacio drives forward before trying his luck from just outside the area. However, the former Genoa man's shot was always going wide.
Terrific interplay from the Nerazzurri creates space for Coutinho in the area but the Brazlian blazes over.
Another good move from Palermo, with Dybala very much to the fore again, but it breaks down. The Rosanero remain one pass away from opening Inter up.
Pereira tries to put Palacio away down the left flank, but Von Bergen deals with that very competently indeed. The Swiss has had a decent game so far.
Just to confirm: no changes from either side.
We're back under way at San Siro, with the onus very much on the home side to bring this game to life.
HALF-TIME: The corner comes to nothing, thus bringing an end to an interesting opening 45 minutes. It's not been a particularly high-quality affair but it did improve the longer it wore on. Milito is the most menacing player on the pitch, but Palermo have been good in possession and a growing threat on the counterattack. They've just been missing that final ball. Join us in 10 or so for a second half, which should be far more exciting given Inter will simply have to commit more men forward to get the three points they so desperately need.
A poor Palacio header drops at the feet of Milito, who immediately tries his luck. However, his effort is deflected wide for a corner. This will be the last action of the half ...
Palacio, who has been very quiet today, gets to the byeline and pulls the ball back across the box. However, his cross is too far behind Coutinho, and Palermo clear the danger.
Zanetti goes on another charge down the right wing, digging a cross out from close to the corner flag. Milito rises to meet it but his header was always going over the bar. In fairness, Milito still looks the man most likely to break the deadlock here.
Yellow Card Á. Pereira
And now Inter's Uruguayan wing-back has gone into the book for a stupid foul on Morganella.
Pereira's delivery has been pretty poor thus far. He's had several opportunities to pick out a man in the area - and he's squandered them all.
Milito, with his dynamism and trickery, is looking a threat every single time Inter get the ball into his feet in the area. Clearly determined to end his goal drought today. He's failed to find the back of the net since that aforementioned 3-1 win over Juventus.
Inter have been so sloppy in possession in recent minutes and after gifting Palermo possession 30 yards from their own goal, Barreto tries his luck from distance. It's a tame effort but Handanovic spills it. Luckily for the former Udinese goalkeeper, there's no Palermo forward on hand to punish his error.
Another Pereira set piece and another volley from Cambiasso, only this time the latter completely miscues and Palermo break to great effect, with Ilicic cutting inside onto his right foot before firing just wide.
Yet another punt forward towards Milito earns Inter a corner, with Von Bergen heading the ball out of play. Pereira's corner is not great but it drops for Cambiasso, who demonstrates excellent technique in unleashing a first-time volley from some 25 yards out. It's straight at Ujkani, though.
Much better from Milito. The ball is fired into the forward and he holds it up well before shrugging off Von Bergen, who is left in a heap on the turf, before attempting a curling effort from the edge of the area which drifts just wide. That's lifted the home fans.
More neat play from Palermo, who eventually work the ball wide to Ilicic, but Samuel is on hand to clear the Slovenia international's low cross.
Palermo have been pretty so far, but totally lacking in incision. Indeed, they've yet to register a shot on target. Inter have been more direct - and more effective.
Morganella is sent racing away down the right wing and whips over a cross that Dybala gets his head on. However, the ball was too far behind the teenager forward, who is unable to generate any great power or indeed direction on his effort. Better from Palermo, though.
Coutinho really coming to life. He rolls Barreto, who's just been booked of course, and surges forward but he's unable to flick the ball through for Milito. Encouraging signs for Inter, though.
Yellow Card Edgar Barreto
That's more like it from Coutinho. This time the trequartista nicks the ball away from Barreto, who is then booked for a cynical tug on the diminutive attacker. Pereira steps up to take the subsequent free, but his strike is high, wide and downright ugly.
Coutinho is released into some space on the left-hand side but he twice fails to get by Munoz, who eventually earns his side a free kick after stripping the Brazilian of the ball. Excellent defending.
Interestingly, Inter are always looking to go route one. This time Ranocchia knocks it long for Milito, but the striker is ultimately crowded out.
Palermo really have been very good in possession and, after about 90 seconds chasing shadows, a frustrated Samuel hacks down Dybala. The Inter defender is somewhat fortunate to avoid a booking there.
In comes to the corner but that's an easy claim for Ujkani.
Inter threaten on the counter, with Gargano spraying a lovely ball over the top for Milito. The former Genoa man jinks one way and then the other, but he can't lose Pisano, who deflects Milito's subsequent strike wide.
After a rather nervy start, Palermo have settled into this one. They look somewhat vulnerable to Zanetti's advances down the right-hand side, but their passing has been good, with Garcia particularly prominent.
Just how big of a blow is the suspension of Miccoli for Palermo? Well, without the veteran striker’s goals and assists this season, the Rosanero would be bottom of the league, with just 10 points.
The exciting Dybala finds some space in the Inter area but he's quickly closed down by Ranocchia, who manages to clear the danger. That'll be an interesting battle this afternoon.
Big chance for Coutinho to stake a claim for a regular starting berth today and he's begun brightly, picking out some nice passes while also looking to run at Palermo at every opportunity.
An awful attempted clearance from Ujkani puts Palermo under pressure. The ball is eventuallyw worked wide to Zanetti, who picks out Palacio in the area, but his compatriot's header is straight at a very relieved Ujkani.
We’re under way, with hosts Inter looking to close their deficit to leaders Juve to four points.
We’re just about to kick off at San Siro. Just awaiting the arrival of the two teams. This one finished 4-4 last season; let’s hope for something similar today!
In a massive blow for Palermo, forward duo Fabrizio Miccoli and Massimo Donati are both suspended, but injury doubt Steve Von Bergen has been given the green light to start. However, striker Igor Budan is deemed only fit enough for a place on the bench.
From an Inter perspective, Philippe Coutinho will start just in behind Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio, with Antonio Cassano still ruled out through suspension. Elsewhere, there are recalls for Walter Gargano and Alvaro Pereira, while Fredy Guarin, Yuto Nagatomo and Ricky Alvarez all miss out.
Palermo (3-4-3): Ujkani; Munoz, Von Bergen, Garcia; Morganella, Barreto, Kurtic, Pisano; Ilicic, Brienza, Dybala.
Inter (3-4-1-2): Handanovic; Ranocchia, Samuel, Juan Jesus; Zanetti, Gargano, Cambiasso, Pereira; Coutinho; Palacio, Milito.
Right, not long until kick-off at the Giuseppe Meazza so let’s take a look at the two line-ups ...
As for the visitors, they’ve undoubtedly improved since former Inter boss Gian Piero Gasperini replaced Giuseppe Sannino at the helm and they arrive in Milan buoyed by victory over Catania in last weekend’s Sicilian derby. However, they remain incredibly vulnerable on the road, having not managed to register a single away win this far this season. What odds they break their duck against an out-of-sorts Inter today?
This is an absolutely massive game for fourth-placed Inter, who have inexplicably suffered a crisis in confidence since dramatically – and deservedly – ending Juventus’ 49-game unbeaten run in Serie A with a 3-1 victory in Turin at the start of the month. Since then, the Nerazzurri have suffered defeats to Atalanta and Parma, either side of a fortuitous draw at home to Cagliari. With Juventus having triumphed over Torino last night, Andrea Stamaccioni’s men simply have to stop the rot today.
Good afternoon, folks, and welcome to Goal.com’s play-by-play coverage of Inter’s fascinating Serie A showdown with Palermo at San Siro. I’m Mark Doyle and I’ll be taking you today’s proceedings. As ever, if you want to have your say on the action, just check out the chat box on the right-hand side of Goal’s fantastic Live Match Centre.
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