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Italy - Serie A
November 19, 2011
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. Damato
• Attendance: 56000
Thiago Motta 54'
Philippe Coutinho 60'
J. Larrivey 89'
90' + 3'
And there goes the whistle. Inter got there in the end. It was comfortable for a while, but it wouldn't be Inter 2011-12 without a little scare. A much-need win for the home side.
GOOOOOOOOOAAAALLLL!!! Hello! We're back in for a tight finish now. Nainggolan turns a trick and slides a low cross in, and Larrivey pokes it home. Finger nails at the ready.
Yellow CardRicardo Álvarez
Now that is ridiculous! Alvarez - whose side are two up, remember - lambasts the referee for not giving a free-kick after Agostini blocked him off. That's the most obvious yellow card fro dissent in the history of man.
Ranieri looks now happier than usual. He's a professional until the end this fella.
It's all a bit easy at the moment for the Coppa Italia holders, which is a real blessing for them after their struggles until now.
It's all getting a bit desperate now for the visitors. Even Nainggolan, who has been excellent tonight, fires a hopeless ball in towards the forwards. Time - and ideas - running low.
Well done Agazzi! Pazzini's chest down from a crossfield ball was just too heavy, and the goalkeeper anticipates well to collect the ball.
Davide Ballardini looks fairly forlorn at this point. This was probably as good a time to meet Inter as ever, but his team are clearly second best here.
Magnificent stuff from Javier Zanetti yet again. Ibarbo looked all set to halve the deficit, but the Tractor sprawled out to take the ball away from him. Absolutely superb.
Thiago Motta does well in midfield. As well as scoring the first goal, the Italian has kept things moving well across the middle.
Joel Obi has so far slotted right into the slot vacated by Coutinho. No need to change anything for Inter right now.
Coutinho gets a great reception as he leaves the field. Not a bad last minute rushed change, as it turns out.
What can Ibarbo do? He’s on for Ekdal, but at the moment it seems more like that Inter could get a third than Cagliari could come back into this.
Ooooooh! Great defending by Samuel. As a cross comes over from Cagliari’s left, Nene looks a good bet to nod his side back into it, but the Argentine defender is big enough and brave enough to get a header away.
So in just six or seven minutes the game has moved away from Cagliari. They had been second best before then, but they had been holding on well enough.
GOOOOOOOOOOAL!!!! Coutinho makes it 2-0, slotting inside the near post, which Agazzi had left completely unattended. Game over?
Great effort, Coutinho unleashes a powerful drive that sails just past the post
Yellow CardFrancesco Pisano
Goooooooooooooal! a whipped freekick from Ricardo Alvarez falls to THIAGO MOTTA who makes no mistake to poke the ball past Agazzi
Inter still controlling the possession but not getting in behind this stubborn Cagliari defence
The game kicks off with Zarate replaced by Alvarez
It's 0-0 here at the San Siro at half-time. it's been a fairly poor game; Inter have had all the possession, but other than a fantastic Zarate free-kick have had no other real chances. Don't forget, you can contact me @alexjmott on Twitter. Any comments on tonight's game are welcome.
And that's it for the first half. 0-0.
Some great play by Jonathan down the right-hand side. A marauding run results in a corner, but the ball is too long, and despite Ranocchia's attempt at a square header back across goal, the ball is cleared away.
The game is all Inter now. They must have over 60% of possession, but the final ball is completely lacking.
Zarate, who is causing Cagliari all sorts of problems, crosses again for Pazzini. But again, the ball is somewhat poor, and the header crawls straight into Agazzi's arms.
Wesley Sneijder, who has magically turned into Coutinho after a late, not even on the team sheet, change, goes down after a Conti challenege. Nothing comes of it, apart from some shoulder shrugging.
Zarate is playing in that hole that is so tricky to defend against (wink,wink), and, once again, plays in Pazzini, but the final ball is a tad too long, and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Yellow CardDaniele Conti
Zarate shows his class once again in this game. A jinking past three defenders culminates in a cross for Pazzini, but the Italian international can only head straight at the 'keeper.
A horrible challenge from Motta on Nene. Late, and from behind, but the referee waves away the Cagliari protests. No wonder they're livid!
Biondini goes on a mazey run down the left flank, but his deep cross, aimed for Nene, is overhit and goes out for a goal kick.
The more times you see that save, the better it looks. Wonderful, wonderful stuff from the Cagliari goalkeeper.
Free kick to Inter from 20 yards out after a late foul on Zarate. The resulting set-piece is struck superbly from the former Lazio man, but Agazzi, diving cat-like high to his left, palms the ball away. Super stuff.
A lovely passage of play from Inter. Jonathan on the right, plays in field to Cambiasso, who in turn plays a one-two with Zarate. The ball is then played out to Pazzini, who, from 18 yards smacks the ball past Agazzi, but the bar denies him a goal.
This time it's Cagliari who play the ball across the back, a long ball from Conti though, aimed towards Thiago is overhit and goes through to Cesar.
Still Inter dominate possession. Nene up front for Cagliari is chasing across the Inter back-line, but Zanetti and co keep the ball superbly. No real attacking threst though from the Nerazzuri.
A free kick for Inter, 35 yards away from goal. Agostini with a late foul on Zarate. The resulting ball though, is played out wide to Jonathan, and his cross, aimed towards Pazzini is headed away by Canini.
Pisano has a throw in on the left-hand side for Cagliari, but the ball is given away and Inter go on the attack. Pazzini though, takes a heavy touch, and the ball goes through to Agazzi.
The first ten minutes have been incredibly frantic; neither side has been totally on top, but Inter's midfield diamond are definitely dominating all the ball.
A long Cesar kick finds Pazzini, and his tireless scurrying culminates in an Inter corner. The resulting ball though, from Zanetti is headered wide by Ranocchia.
Stankovic tries a square bass to Sneijder but the ball is cut out by Ekdal. The former Juve man then strides forward with the ball 30 yards, into the Inter box, but fires wide of Cesar's post.
Zanetti fires in a cross but it's cleared away by Canini. Conti then gallops forward with the ball but is brought down by Cambiasso. Free kick.
Inter are playing the ball around the back, teasing Cagliari. If this is anything to go by, it could be a long night!
It's Inter who get us underway, kicking from left to right in their famous black and blue.
Inter win a free-kick near Cagliari's byeline, and this is where they need to keep the ball really. There are three more minutes of this.
And the teams arrive on the pitch. Kick off is literally moments away.
Just five minutes until kick off here at the San Siro, and the atmosphere is absolutely electric. Don't forget, if Twitter's your thing, then do get in contact with me @alexjmott. Anything comments on tonight's game, or anything on Italian football in general is welcome.
Inter go into this game in 17th place, only out of the relegation places on goal difference. Ranieri's side have only scored two goals at the San Siro this season, and are looking increasingly unlikely to challenge for the top three this season. Cagliari meanwhile sit pretty in 10th, but haven't won in their last five games. And that record looks like extending for at least another week if the record books are anything to go by: the last time the Sardinians beat Inter was way back in 1995.
Cagliari meanwhile look to be lining up in a more orthodox 4-4-1-1 are: Agazzi; Ariaudo, Canini, Agostini, Pisano; Conti, Ekdal, Nainggolan, Biondini; Nene, Thiago.
The line-ups have been announced. Inter Milan, who look like they could be lining up in some kind of 4-1-2-1-2 are: Cesar; Samuel, Ranocchia, Zanetti, Jonathan; Motta; Cambiasso, Stankovic; Sneijder; Pazzini, Zarate.
Buona sera and welcome to the San Siro for Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Inter - Cagliari. I'm Alex Mott, and, as always, you can get involved with all of tonight's action via Twitter. @alexjmott is the place to go for all your live Serie A needs. Kick off is in 30 minutes.
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