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March 9, 2012
• Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi, Verona
Referee: P. Mazzoleni
• Attendance: 11000
Final whistle. Finally, finally, Inter secure a victory. The players are absolutely ecstatic in the centre of the field, and will feel they have been justly rewarded a positive display of attacking football. They missed a hat full, but eventually achieved the breakthrough that their performance deserved. Thanks for joining the action here on Goal.com.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of two added minutes in Verona. Inter are running down the clock...
Assist Javier Zanetti
Goal Diego Milito
GOOOAAALLL INTER! Like London buses. That is a superb ball from Javier Zanetti, who combines with Maicon down the right hand side before picking out Diego Milito, who heads into the roof of the net. Happy Birthday Inter.
Assist Wesley Sneijder
Goal Walter Samuel
GOOOAAAALLLLL INTER! Huge moment for the Nerazzurri. Sneijder's corner is perfectly flighted and Walter Samuel rises unchallenged to head down into the net. Every Inter player runs over to celebrate with the centre back. Finally, a win may be on the cards.
MISS! GLARING MISS! Sneijder's effort dips just in front of Sorrentino, who pushes the ball up into the path of Cambiasso in front of an open goal. Yet for some unknown reason, the Argentine leans back, and his volley flies over the top. Is that the last chance for Inter?
We're still waiting for the free kick. The Chievo wall isn't far back enough.
Esteban Cambiasso is on for Andrea Poli. Sneijder has a free-kick 30 yards out...
Poli is awarded a free kick after going down on the edge of his own box under a challenge from Hetemaj. The young midfielder got out of jail there, as he had turned intro trouble when there was no need to do so.
Is there a late winner in this for either side? Inter are faced with two solid banks of yellow shirts every time they break forward. It may take something special to snatch the points here.
Then again. Michael Bradley's shot is well-struck, but high and wide of the goal. Neither keeper has had a great deal to do tonight, if truth be told.
Poli trips Thereau on the edge of the box. free kick. Potentially big moment...
Di Carlo brings on Davide Moscardelli in place of Sergio Pellissier. The big no.9 should add an aerial threat if Chievo look to go direct in the final stages.
Maicon may as well go up front. He is in the attacking third yet again and it takes three Chievo defenders to stop him. What a battering ram he is.
Luca Rigoni lines one up... but Walter Samuel gets his head to the ball and his shot loops up for Julio Cesar to gather.
That Inter change will offer a bit more pace up front for the visitors. They could desperately use a spark of creativity in front of goal.
Here's a change for either side. Giampaolo Pazzini is on to replace Diego Forlan, while for Chievo, Perparim Hetemaj replaces Luciano.
Lots of pushing and shoving in the box there, and it's Chievo who are penalised. Could have gone either way there.
Cyril Thereau looks to have wasted an attack by playing Pellissier too far out wide, but the striker does well to hold the ball up and win a free kick from Yuto Nagatomo. Michael Bradley to take...
Chievo attempt to fire a few high balls into the Inter penalty area, but each time they do, Lucio is there to head it away. The defender then carries the ball forward for another attack. You feel like he could play anywhere he likes sometimes.
Lovely play from Sneijder, who jinks away from two challenges and sends a ball towards Milito that is defended well by Chievo. One of those is going to connect sooner or later.
Another misplaced pass from Inter, this time from Samuel. Ranieri's side have been severely lacking in front of goal tonight. They just can't get that final ball right.
Oh Andrea. The ball from Poli, looking for Milito, is nowhere near its intended target and runs out of play. Should have done better.
First change of the game, and it's from Chievo. Replacing Paolo Sammarco is defender Dario Dainelli. Looks a slightly negative change from Mimmo Di Carlo. Wonder if they're content to sit on this draw...
There he goes again. Sneijder's 40-yard ball is looking for Forlan, but Boukary Drame gets there first and heads back to Sorrentino.
Sneijder is looking more assured on the ball, and has already pinged a couple of sublime cross-field passes forward. Not a return to form as such, but encouraging signs at least.
Maicon again gets forward, bustling his way past Acerbi who stretches to win the ball. The Brazilian goes down theatrically, but that is never a penalty.
Indeed he does! Sneijder's drive, however, is always rising and doesn't trouble Sorrentino. Time to force the keeper into a few saves now.
Maicon has already made several penetrating runs from full-back since half-time. Inter just need to keep giving the ball to him. He plays the ball to Forlan who wins a free-kick 30 yards out. Sneijder may have a go here...
Best moment by a mile from Inter and Wesley Sneijder. The Dutchman clips a delightful ball in from the right, and about three forwards miss the ball before a sliding Andrea Poli knocks the ball out of play. Nice play, but no final touch.
Sneijder and Milito link up well and the Argentinian forward wins a corner. But it's cleared and the break is on! Maicon makes the tackle on Drame, but good to see some end to end action all the same.
Walter Samuel looks bemused as he is penalised for a sliding tackle on Sammarco. Can't see what was wrong with that, but the free kick is easily headed away.
A good long ball from Acerbi releases Thereau, and Chievo brings four players in to support him. The Flying Donkeys perhaps looking to force the issue themselves in this second half.
Paolo Mazzoleni gets us back underway in Verona. Inter need to go for this now, the fans are starting to forget what a win feels like.
Thanks for your tweets so far, a lot of frustrated Inter fans out there. Keep the contributions coming to me via @woodstome
That's half time. Sorrentino is the party-pooper so far, saving Diego Milito's penalty to deny Inter a birthday goal. The Nerazzurri have been dominant, but are struggling to create many clear cut chances against a determined Chievo defence. Will their luck improve in the second half, or will Chievo punish Ranieri's side for their profligacy? Join me for the second half to find out.
45' + 1'
Not even close. The corner is too long, Lucio collects it and bends a cross in that falls for Diego Forlan. However, the Uruguayan's shot is an absolute mile over the top.
One minute of extra time to play, and Inter have a corner...
Sneijder twists and turns on the edge of the box, but can't fashion an opening and his eventual shot is too weak to trouble Sorrentino. The frustration continues for Inter.
@NinukFTW asks: 'Why can't inter just put away their chances? They try and try, then lose concentration'. That miss from Pellissier is a prime example of exactly that point.
Moment's later, Diego Forlan gets ahead of his marker to side foot wide. Should have hit the target from there.
Huge chance for Chievo. Pellissier turns Lucio too easily inside the box, but his touch is just too heavy and Cesar is able block the shot with his legs. Let off for Inter.
Another attempt on goal from Inter, Maicon bending in a cross that is headed away for a corner. Sneijder's corner, however, doesn't beat the first man.
It's a little ill-tempered out there, as Stankovic plows through the back of Luca Rigoni. That looked a painful one. Shortly after, Luciano clips Milito as he looks to charge forward. Play nice, now.
Maicon is hurt again after taking a forearm in the face from Drame. The Brazilian is causing Chievo all sorts of problems every time he gets forward down that right side.
That's better. Drame whips in a cross that is deflected up into the air, and on the stretch, Luciano can't hook his volley on target. Counts as a shot, at least.
A standing Zanetti manages to keep the ball between his feet, despite the attentions of Michael Bradley and Boukary Drame. That's how hard it is for Inter to win the ball.
Nothing but blue and black shirts on the ball. Chievo can't get the ball off their opponents, so are sitting deep and ensuring that final killer pass doesn't get through. Could be a dangerous tactic from Mimmo Di Carlo's side.
Third embarrassing moment from Inter, as Maicon misses the ball and allows it to run out of play. They're putting on some birthday entertainment, at least.
Boom. What a hit. Milito works the ball to Dejan Stankovic on the edge of the box, he lets the ball drop, and hits an absolute pearler of a volley that is inches over the top. He fancies his chances tonight, does the Serb.
Good break by Javier Zanetti, the Inter captain skipping into the box to meet Maicon's through ball. But after all that, he misses his kick, and Acerbi can clear. Woops.
Now it's Inter's turn to have the ball, and they put together what must have been 25 passes in the opposition half before Forlan forces a corner. Sneijder's cross is defended well, and Chievo briefly clear their lines.
Long spell of possession from Chievo, but the home side are not able to fashion any openings inside the final third. Inter stronger in every department right now.
The 36 year old Luciano skips past Andrea Poli, 14 years his junior. That's not right, surely...
It's shoot on sight at the moment, and Diego Forlan is the latest to drive a long-range shot at goal. Acerbi makes the block. This has been a very positive side by Ranieri's side. Bit more belief than has recently been on show.
CROSSBAR! That is a fantastic effort from Sneijder, the no.10 bending a shot towards goal from the corner of the area. It's dipping all the time, but clunks against the top of Sorrentino's crossbar and out of play. Unlucky.
Milito looks utterly crestfallen with that penalty miss. Sums Inter up at the moment really. But they have been on top so far and will cause plenty of problems for the Flying Donkeys if they continue to show this much purpose.
Penalty save Stefano Sorrentino
Missed Penalty Diego Milito
MISS! Milito's kick is high and hard, but is too close to Sorrentino, who stretches out a trailing hand to make a splendid save.
Penalty to Inter! From a corner, Lucio attempts a volley that hits the arm of Francesco Acerbi. Unfortunate, but the right decision. Milito to take...
Chievo are taking up some good positions, but lack a bit of cutting edge at the moment. Bradley's cross picks out Thereau, but his header trickles harmlessly wide.
Wesley Sneijder's first contribution of the night is an absolutely wild air-shot that nearly lets Pellissier in. The Dutchman needs a big game tonight. But we have been saying that for some time.
Maicon is OK, but now is lying prone after a clash with Sergio Pellissier. That suspension clearly hasn't blunted the striker's competitive edge.
Maicon crumples over on the touchline and looks in pain. Inter could do without another injury to the rampaging Brazilian.
First touch of the ball for some time from Chievo, but they do look strong coming forward. Michael Bradley clips across a dangerous cross that Lucio is forced to head behind. Julio Cesar punches the corner clear.
Stankovic again tries his luck from distance, and this time it's on target, but there isn't enough pace to trouble Stefano Sorrentino. Positive, aggressive start from the Nerazzurri.
First sight of goal from Inter, Dejan Stankovic attempting a 30-yard drive that deflects behind off Marco Andreolli. After the corner, Maicon drives a dangerous ball across goal that just needed a touch. No attacker arriving to meet it though.
Early attack from Chievo leads to Walter Samuel conceding a corner. The same man clears the resulting kick and is fouled as he does so.
Here come the teams. Chievo in their usual brilliant yellow; Inter wear the traditional blue and black. Tonight’s referee is Paolo Mazzoleni. Here we go…
Thoughts? Predictions? Dreams? Fears? I want it all. Get in touch via @woodstome on Twitter and I’ll get your views on the feed.
Claudio Ranieri’s side have Maicon back from a knee injury, and he replaces Marco Faraoni at right-back. Andrea Poli comes into the side to replace Esteban Cambiasso, who is benched. Diego Milito along with Diego Forlan, the two strikers looking to repeat their goalscoring exploits of last week. Looks like a 4-2-3-1 formation from the tinkerman. Full lineup: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Stankovic; Poli, Sneijder; Forlan; Milito Bench: Castellazzi; Faraoni; Chivu; Cambiasso; Obi; Pazzini; Zarate.
Tonight’s teams are in. For Chievo, Sergio Pellissier is back from suspension, and will be supported in attack by Paolo Sammarco and Frenchman Cyril Thereau. Full lineup (4-3-2-1): Sorrentino; Frey, Andreolli, Acerbi, Drame; Bradley, Rigoni, Luciano; Thereau, Sammarco; Pellissier; Thereau Sergio Pellissier Bench: Puggioni, Dainelli, Cesar, Cruzado, Hetemaj, Moscardelli, Paloschi
For a side desperately chasing a win, this isn’t a great ground to visit either. Chievo have only lost two of their last six home games in the league, and are on a run of three matches without defeat, including a very impressive draw at Juventus last week. In the equivalent fixture last season, the Flying Donkeys ran out 2-1 winners. Could Ranieri possibly retain his position if history were to repeat itself tonight?
Fail to win tonight, and Claudio Ranieri’s side will have gone ten games without a win. Save a dreadful run in the 1998-99 season, in which they finished 8th, I can’t think of any point in recent history when things have been going quite as badly. But let’s be honest, win or lose tonight, a line as been crossed. For a side as expensively assembled as this, nine games without a win is too many. Far too many.
So here we are; the league’s 10th placed side taking on the team in 7th. Both sides might not have expected to be here at this stage in the season. For Chievo, it’s been another season of guts, determination, and grinding out results in spite of the odds. For Inter, it’s been exactly the opposite.
I should qualify that it's Inter's 104th birthday tonight. Happy Birthday Inter. Bet I can guess what you're wishing for...
It’s Friday night. It’s Goal.com. It’s Chievo-Inter Milan. There's a birthday to celebrate. It’s a recipe for success. I’m Tom Woods and I’ll be taking you through all the glorious action as it unfolds at the Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi. Who’s ready?
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