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World Cup 2014
March 31, 2014
• 3:00 PM
• Stadio Armando Picchi, Livorno
Referee: G. Calvarese
• Attendance: 15450
I. Emeghara 85'
R. Palacio 45'+
That's all that we have time for from Stadio Armando Picchi, as Livorno snatched a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Inter in Serie A. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
That draw means that Nerazzurri couldn't capitalise on Fiorentina's stalemate with Sampdoria, but Livorno will be extremely glad to snatch a point from a dire situation. The home side remain in the relegation zone behind Bologna, but a point against Europe-chasing Inter is no mean feat.
FULL TIME! Inter throw away a two goal lead to aid Livorno's survival push, with goals from Paulinho and Emeghara enough to gift the home side a point! It was a spirited performance, with Hernanes and Palacio's first-half strikes seeming a long time ago indeed.
90' + 3'
BOTTA! A minute left of this contest, with Livorno looking to have done enough to steal a point from the jaws of defeat. Palacio is put in behind by a clever Icardi backheel, before setting a pass back to Botta, but the substitute can't get a shot away from deep in Livorno's box!
90' + 1'
ICARDI! He can't keep it down! Guarin provides the cross from the right hand side, the Argentine striker escapes his marker but can't turn his header on target!
90' + 1'
There are four minutes of stoppage time for either side to try and find the all-important fifth goal of the evening.
KUZMANOVIC! The Serbian is denied by a Bardi save, but the linesman's flag is raised anyway! The Inter midfielder met a good flick-on, but strayed into an offside position in doing so. Mazzarri has a resigned look on his face, he knows that his side have thrown away important points tonight.
A few minutes are left for Inter to find a winning goal, with Zanetti driving down the right hand side well. He makes a cross, but Castellini is there to clear. Livorno are defending with their backs to the wall, desperately clinging on for a point.
Yellow Card Rubén Botta
Botta replaces Ricky Alvarez and Mazzarri isn't prepared to accept his side will be going home with a point quite yet! The substitute is booked for taking to the field, as he was supposedly not permitted to come on. Five minutes of normal time remain for the visitors to find a winner!
Goal Innocent Emeghara
ICARDI! It's Guarin who provides the cross yet again, this time allowing for Icardi to get in behind Valentini and poke a tame effort towards goal. Bardi is on hand once again to get down to his right and smother the ball. The Livorno goalkeeper has looked solid once again.
PALACIO! The Argentine goalscorer is slipped in by Guarin, with the diminutive striker bursting into the penalty area, but Bardi stands tall to push away Palacio's eventual clipped effort.
BENASSI! The former Inter youngster tries a cheeky effort, looking to dip a long-range effort narrowly under Handanovic's crossbar, but the Slovenia international is able to watch the speculative strike behind for a goal-kick. The hosts haven't given up on this game yet.
Yellow Card Walter Samuel
Ten minutes left on the clock, with the ten men of Livorno desperately searching for an equaliser that would lead to a potentially vital point in the battle for relegation. Samuel is booked for the visitors, after blocking off Paulinho cynically.
Guarin continues to lead the Inter charge, pressing and looking for the Nerazzurri's elusive third goal of the evening. Mbaye hobbles off the field and doesn't look able to continue, with Livorno having already made their three substitutions. Mazzarri chooses to replace Jonathan with Zanetti.
GUARIN! Two changes for the substitutes, but he can't find the net on either occasion! Icardi is found in behind Livorno's lines, before Bardi claws the ball away from the Argentine. Guarin picks up the rebound, sends Bardi the wrong way, before cannoning a shot into Mbaye, with the rebound also being met by the Colombian. This time, the ball rattles into the side netting!
CASTELLINI! The Livorno defender rises highest to try and meet a corner delivery, but can't make contact with Handanovic's goal gaping ahead of him! Half chance for the home side, that's for sure, with Di Carlo still glued to the edge of his technical area.
Only a quarter of an hour remains in this Serie A clash, but Mazzarri looks a nervous man. The Inter coach has his face pressed into his hand, watching the game intently. Benassi goes down in the penalty area under the challenge of Juan Jesus, but the former Nerazzurri midfielder perhaps goes down a little bit softly - the referee awards a corner.
Guarin has been involved a lot since coming on, pressing down the right flank as much as he possibly can. The Colombia international gets to the byeline, before zipping a cross into the near post, but Castellini manages to hook the ball clear. Livorno try to break, but Rolando and Juan ensure that Emeghara doesn't get in behind.
WHAT A CHANCE! Great free-kick from Guarin, who flights a teasing cross along the six-yard line, but Rolando can't make goalscoring contact! The Portuguese rises well, but his forehead can only glance the delivery wide of the target.
Yellow Card Paolo Castellini
Somewhat surprisingly, it's Hernanes who is replaced by Guarin, with Inter now only having one holding midfielder on the field. Given the open nature of this game, with Livorno breaking whenever they can, that could be a dangerous decision from Mazzarri, unless he intends to change shape.
Mazzarri looks to his bench for the first time this evening, with Inter looking to stay fresh and in control of proceedings. Guarin prepares himself and the Colombian will definitely help the visitors to press upfield and search for the game-killing Nerazzurri third goal.
A brief lull in the game, as Inter hold onto the ball and Livorno don't press enthusiastically. They can't be too gung-ho, conceding now would rob them of the chance to steal a point late on in the game. Sensible stuff from the home side. Hernanes has a shot blocked well.
Less than half an hour remains and Inter are by no means home and dry yet. Inter's defence hasn't been tested too often in this match, but several Livorno counter-attacks have really stretched the visitors. Pace on the break could prove to be the hosts' way back into this.
Brilliant tackle from Duncan! The former Inter man slides in just in time to deny Hernanes, as the Brazilian looked to blast another trademark left-footed effort at goal! The introduction of Duncan and Emeghara has definitely given Livorno some additional tenacity and fresh enthusiasm to run.
Duncan goes down in the penalty area, but the referee isn't interested, allowing for Rolando to stop a brilliant Livorno counter-attack and clear upfield. The ball makes its way to Mesbah on the left flank, who tees himself up for a low drive, but Handanovic is happy to see the strike thud into the advertising hoardings.
Despite conceding, Inter aren't to be shaken, with Mazzarri barking out instructions and dragging Kuzmanovic over to the sideline to try and react to Livorno's resurgence. This match is still very much in Inter's hands.
GRECO! The midfielder crashes a long-range strike into a ruck of Inter defenders, with the former Olympiakos man unable to hit the target once again. Both his shooting and crossing have been rather poor thus far, but Livorno are buoyed by their first goal and appear to have new-found confidence.
Emerson is replaced by Duncan, with yet another player with past experience at Inter taking to the field. It appears that Livorno's coach is of the belief that the Nerazzurri's former players will be motivated to put in a good performance against their former employers. Emeghara also jogs on for the home side.
Assist Leandro Greco
GOOOOOOOOAL! WHAT A STRIKE FROM PAULINHO! The hosts are right back in this now, with the Brazilian receiving a near post corner delivery and crashing a strike off the underside of the crossbar with Handanovic motionless! Great goal!
The visitors are stroking the ball around comfortably, with the hosts sitting in their shape and presumably thinking of damage limitation. You'd think that the scoreline was goalless, Livorno aren't showing any endeavour to grab a goal back to turn this match into a contest once again.
A few free-kicks in quick succession break up the flow of the game, with Icardi and Biagianti taking it in turns to be penalised. Greco breaks down the left flank well, before his good cross is punched away firmly by a leaping Handanovic.
Inter are looking the better of the two sides from the off in this half, with Livorno powerless to resist despite what they need to achieve to take any points away with them. Paulinho and Belfodil continue to be fairly ineffectual at the head of the hosts' attack.
PALACIO! Great save from Bardi, who prevents Inter from putting the game to bed in their first attack of the second half! He gets down smartly to kick the Argentine's effort away from danger. At least one of Livorno's players was alert!
We're back underway in the second half, with Livorno having a mammoth task on their hands to turn this deficit into a victory! The scoreline stands at 2-0, but the home side haven't scored three times in a game since a 3-3 draw with Catania in February.
It looks likely to be a third successive defeat for Livorno, who just can't seem to get a result for luck nor money at the moment. If the hosts don't turn things around, they'll be finishing this week's round of Serie A fixtures in the bottom three. Inter, meanwhile, will be tugging right of Viola's coattails. Be sure to return in ten minutes for all of the second-half action!
HALF TIME! Inter head to the dressing room with a two-goal advantage, given to them through goals from Hernanes and Palacio. The second finish, coming in first half stoppage time, might just knock the stuffing out of Livorno, who were looking capable of resurgence before the Argentine struck mercilessly.
45' + 2'
45' + 2'
Goal Rodrigo Palacio
GOOOOOOOAL! PALACIO MAKES IT TWO TO INTER! He's unmarked at the back post and the Argentine is on hand to cushion a back post Jonathan cross into the far corner! Bardi is completely beaten, there was nothing he could do about that!
Inter hold onto the ball for another long spell, with the home fans voicing their displeasure through a combination of jeers and boos. Hernanes' goal remains the difference between the two sides and there is only one minute of stoppage time.
KUZMANOVIC! That's another good stop from Bardi! The goalkeeper stays on his feet for as long as possible, before springing up athletically to parry a long-range strike over the crossbar! Kuzmanovic really caught that one sweetly, it looked destined to crash into the back of the net.
The away fans have become far more audible since that opening goal, with Inter filled with new-found confidence - that goal is exactly what Hernanes needed heading towards the World Cup. The hosts continue to break with pace and purpose, with a Livorno corner headed clear well by Samuel.
Well, despite their poor marksmanship up to that point, Nerazzurri are ahead! Livorno may feel hard done by after working hard to keep things tight at the back, but Inter have broken forward with most regularity. The hosts will be desperately trying to restore parity before the break now.
GOOOOOAL! HERNANES NETS HIS FIRST GOAL FOR INTER! He celebrates with a back flip and it's 1-0! He hammers a loose ball home from inside the penalty area, as a deep cross eventually is set back into the path of the Brazilian! He steals the chance off the toe of Icardi!
D'AMBROSIO! Good save from Bardi! The young Italian makes himself big at the back post to stand up and parry away a back post header, following a lovely clipped cross from Ricky.
The referee has been very lenient in the first half, letting a lot of physical challenges go and encouraging a flowing game. It suits Livorno, given their endevours to win the ball and break quickly, but it's upsetting Inter's rhythm somewhat.
Inter try to be patient, holding onto the ball, an approach which is met by jeers from the home fans. Livorno couldn't have a more contrasting mentality, looking to break as quickly as possible whenever they receive the ball. Inter's defence is yet to be turned, but plenty of crosses have rained into the visitors' box.
BELFODIL! The Algerian striker just can't get enough power behind his header, with it looping into the air for Handanovic to gratefully claim! It's another good cross from the left flank from the home side, but once again they just can't convert. The Slovenian remains the busier goalkeeper!
A quarter of an hour remains until the break, with the hosts able to take plenty of positive from the opening half hour. Inter have been forced to try their luck from range, with no shots on target to show for their efforts.
HERNANES! INTER ARE GETTING CLOSER! The Brazilian is set the ball back 25 yards from goal, before taking a touch and curling a left-footed effort towards the bottom left corner. Bardi is perhaps beaten and the ball skips off the turf and narrowly wide of the upright!
BIAGANTI! Almost a good headed opportunity for the hosts! Alvarez's poor pass is cut out, before Livorno break upfield, with a cross from the left hand side failing to reach the head of the midfielder! It flashes across the edge of the 18-yard box!
As things stand, a point isn't good enough for either side, with Livorno needing a win to leapfrog Bologna and leave the relegation zone - while Inter would sit two points behind Fiorentina should they only leave with a share of the spoils.
KUZMANOVIC! Another shot goes wide of the target for the away side! The Serbian gets plenty of power, but absolutely no direction on his strike, ballooning the ball high and wide. Mazzarri folds his arms disapprovingly.
Hernanes and Kuzmanovic have looked rather exposed in this first half, with the Inter midfield pairing being the only line of defence between a broken-down attack and a quick transition up to either Belfodil or Paulinho. Hernanes picks up a booking for a cynical challenge and Livorno could hurt their opponents centrally.
Yellow Card Hernanes
Twenty minutes have passed in this contest, with Handanovic being the only keeper to be called into action! Mazzarri may have been pleased with how his side left the traps, but they've stagnated since. The hosts are being urged forward by their passionate supporters and getting three points doesn't seem beyond them tonight.
Good defensive header from Valentini! Inter whip in their own free-kick from deep, but the Livorno defender is on hand to clear the danger. But for their early exploits, the away side have struggled to impose themselves on this game, unable to put together any sustained pressure.
EMERSON! Good save from Handanovic to push away a long-range free-kick effort! It's not entirely certain as to whether he meant to shoot or direct a cross to the back post, but the defender does have a reputation for the spectacular! That nearly curled into the top corner!
JONATHAN! The Brazilian arrives late on the corner of the penalty area, pummelling a first-time drive into the advertising hoardings behind Bardi's goal, as the former Inter youth keeper counts his blessings once again. Nothing for either shot-stopper to do, as of yet.
After a bright first five minutes, Livorno are growing into this game, with Mazzarri's men perhaps regretting their missed half chances in the embryonic stages. Inter look brighter with their rotating Argentine attacking trio, but the likes of Paulinho and Belfodil can create something out of nothing if they're given the time and space.
Poor from Greco! Paulinho bursts down the left flank, before stroking possession out to the left hand side and looking to burst towards the near post to meet the eventual cross. Instead, the midfielder can only whip his delivery into the legs of Jonathan, very disappointing indeed.
Finally, the home side put together a spell of possession of their own. Mbaye uses a lovely bit of skill to nutmeg D'Ambrosio and race around the Italian wing-back, earning him the applause of the spectators. A cheeky move from the Senegalese!
D'AMBROSIO! HERNANDES! Two blocks from Livorno to deny the early Inter pressure a goal! The wing-back found himself in plenty of space at the back post, but his first touch played him into trouble. Mazzarri will be very pleased with his side's positive opening exchanges. Livorno, on the other hand, look out of ideas.
The first five minutes have been promising for Inter, with Livorno only escaping their own half on one occasion, when Belfodil miscontrolled. The visitors' forward three are free-roaming and looking for gaps in the opposition defensive line. Advantage to the Nerazzurri thus far.
HERNANES! Half a chance from a tight angle! The Brazilian tries his luck with a left-footed strike, after driving into the box to receive a pass from Kuzmanovic. It's poor, however, with Bardi happy to let the ball hurtle into his side netting.
Benassi commits the game's first foul, much to the delight of the home fans, given his previous commitment to Inter. Alvarez is starting on the left hand side of the visiting attacking three, with Palacio on the opposite flank, leaving the central striking position for Icardi.
We are underway in the first half! This game is vital for both sides, so we should be in for a real treat at Stadio Armando Picchi tonight! Neither can afford to drop points in their contrasting quests for Europe and survival.
Tonight is a must-win game for the home side, following disappointing results against Torino and Atalanta, leaving Di Carlo's side perilously close to relegation from Serie A. With only two wins since February, the form book doesn't support Livorno's cause, but in their current situation the hosts can't afford to slip up on home turf. With 15 minutes to kick-off, be sure to stick around for all of the action which has huge implications on both the race for European football and the scramble to avoid the drop-zone.
Inter substitutes: Zanetti, Andreolli, Kovacic, Castellazzi, Guarin, Cambiasso, Botta, Taider, Milito, Ranocchia, Carrizo, Nagatomo.
Inter starting line-up: Handanovic; Rolando, Samuel, Juan; Jonathan, Hernanes, Kuzmanovic, D'Ambrosio; Alvarez, Icardi, Palacio.
Livorno substitutes: Piccini, Gemiti, Mosquera, Ceccherini, Emeghara, Anania, Siligardi, Borja, Aldegani, Duncan, Coda.
Livorno starting line-up: Bardi; Valentini, Emerson, Castellini; Mbaye, Benassi, Biaganti, Greco, Mesbah; Belfodil, Paulinho.
TEAM NEWS: Danilo D'Ambrosio is preferred at left-back to Nagatomo, with Walter Samuel, Juan Jesus and Rolando backing up the back three. Kuzmanovic gets a start in midfield, behind an Argentine attacking trio of Ricky, Palacio and Icardi. Plenty of options on the bench for Mazzarri, however, with the likes of Guarin, Cambiasso, Zanetti, Taider and Kovacic all ready to take to the field if required.
TEAM NEWS: Five Inter-owned players are involved for the home side, with goalkeeper Francesco Bardi, Ibrahima M'Baye and substitute Alfred Duncan on the visitors' books. Marco Benassi and Ishak Belfodil are also present for Amaranto, with the travelling supporters hoping that they won't see good performances from their young players in the shirts of tonight's opposition.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with all of the action, as this evening's visitors try to lift themselves to within one point of fourth-placed Fiorentina. Despite a bad start to the season, Mazzarri may just be able to redeem himself should Nerazzurri finish the business end of the Serie A season in style. More importance is placed on this game for Livorno, however, as the relegation-threatened side can move out of the drop-zone with a win tonight, which would see Bologna become the side to replace them in the thick mire of the relegation battle.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Serie A's late kick-off, as Inter travel to face Torino, with both sides in stuttering domestic form. Two wins from their last five matches has hindered Mazzarri's push towards cementing Inter's place in a European competition next season, but Nerazzurri will be hoping to get back on track tonight - against a team who have only picked up four points over the same period. Earlier this month, however, tonight's hosts managed to hold Napoli to a 1-1 draw.
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