Leonardo's men are now back to winning ways and on course for the Scudetto once again, after a somewhat convincing two-goal victory...
Inter are just two points behind leaders and arch-rivals Milan once again, after second-half goals from Esteban Cambiasso and Maicon ensured the Nerazzurri put a stop to their run of two consecutive defeats and ease the pressure on coach Leonardo with a 2-0 victory over Chievo.
The hosts came closest in the first 15 minutes, after Yuto Nagatomo’s quality overlap play down the left flank saw him charge forward into the opposition box, but Samuel Eto’o couldn’t find the finish for the Japanese full-back’s dangerously drilled ball into the centre.
One minute later, Inter should have taken the lead through Giampaolo Pazzini. The move was started by the evergreen Javier Zanetti, who found Maicon on the right flank and the marauding Brazilian brilliantly picked out Pazzini with a delicate slide-rule pass, but the Italian hotshot’s finish whistled just wide.
Andrea Ranocchia’s week could have ended on an even more sour note than his dreadful performance against Schalke midweek after his poor attempt of a clearance hit opposing striker Davide Moscardelli, but his volleyed shot went wide.
Eto’o was one of Inter’s better attacking players, and he came closest on 38 minutes after a swivel to leave Mandelli stranded and a snapshot at goal went wide.
The last goal-mouth opportunity came in the 43rd minute, after Pazzini’s original attempt in the Chievo box was blocked and fell straight to Maicon, whose thundering volley hit the side-netting.
The 57th minute signalled the first chance of the second half as Yuto Nagatomo charged into the box yet again, and his cross required an important intervention from Mandelli.
The game began to open up as both teams were looking to break the deadlock. The Flying Donkey’s had a great opportunity to take a shock lead through Kevin Constant, who failed to get any contact on Cyril Thereau’s dangerous low ball.
The Nerazzurri finally found the initiative through Esteban Cambiasso on 66 minutes, after Maicon’s low cross found the Argentine, who coolly struck the ball past Sorrentino courtesy of a deflection by Marco Andreolli.
Chievo had a fantastic chance to equalise through Sergio Pellissier shortly after Eto’o's withdrawal, where he horribly miscued his effort from a great ball in from the left hand side and the chance went begging.
Inter had a great chance of their own shortly after, as Diego Milito received Thiago Motta’s impressive defence-splitting pass, but the Argentine hitman's execution of his chip shot was poor.
The hosts eventually grabbed a second on 80 minutes, as a goal-mouth scramble in Chievo’s box resulted in Maicon getting the final touch to score his first goal in over a year for Inter.
Two more decent chances ensued for both teams before the final whistle. Firstly, substitute Fernando Uribe hit the side-netting after trapping the ball beautifully, and Nagatomo once again broke into the visitor’s box and his shot was slammed against Stefano Sorrentino.
Inter have now stopped the rot of back-to-back defeats in all competitions and ensured the Milan and Schalke disappointments are fully behind them. The win also leaves the Nerazzurri just two points behind the Rossoneri, who play Fiorentina on Sunday evening.
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