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April 29, 2012
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: A. Romeo
• Attendance: 45802
S. von Bergen 59' (own goal)
M. Zárate 72'
L. Ceccarelli 57'
90' + 4'
And that's the match! Inter were somewhat paradoxically both dominant and profligate, lucky and unluck, as evidenced by Antonioli's last minute brilliant save to deny Poli a goal at the death. Inter now have 55 points- level with Napoli and Lazio- though the visitors played with their hearts today. I'm Julian De Martinis and I'd like to thank you for joining me here today! The final score is 2-1 Inter Cesena.
90' + 2'
Jeers from the crowd as Beretta fights with the referee, looking for Poli to be booked after a clash in the midfield. Beretta is sent off by the referee instead!
90' + 1'
Four minutes of injury time added here by the fourth official. Poli find Milito, who races into the area but loses possession to another great tackle from von Bergen.
Lolli and Ranocchia collide heads while going for a ball and the medics rush onto the field to assess the damage. Both seem to be alright.
A poor clearance gives Iaquinta a half-chance very wide of the goal, but Iaquinta skies his shot. The crowd whistles at the chance.
Milito is flagged offside as the game enters the final few minutes. Inter are looking rather comfortable and will want to see out the match without much fuss.
Right after Poli is fouled in midfield, Dokovic comes on for goalscorer Ceccarelli.
A waste from Parolo, who plays a long ball into the box with none of his teammates near it. Castellazzi easily collects.
Less than 10 minutes to play here and Cesena refuse to give in, pushing forward for another goal. Iaquinta nearly sneaks in but Obi's foot does enough to take possession back.
Poli coming on now for Sneijder, who comes off to rapturous applause at the Meazza. It's Stramaccioni's final substitution.
Von Bergen with a sensational sliding tackle to rob Milito of possession just as he was breaking through the defence! Corner to Inter, which Cambiasso heads just wide!
Cross in from Cesena but it was only ever going right to Castellazzi, who plucks it from the air.
Inter simply buzzing now. Great passing, wonderful movement, and Stramaccioni seems to have revitalized his men in a way ex-boss Claudio Ranieri simply couldn't.
Cesena seem a bit shell-shocked by the goal and have a bit of trouble establishing themselves. Lolli comes on for Mutu, and the visitors may feel a bit hard-done by as their defending was so good up until then.
Assist Fredy Guarín
Goal M. Zárate
ZARATE GOAL!!!! Inter take the lead for the first time this match and it's the substitute that heads them forward! Inter are given too much possession into the box; Milito's initial strike and Zarate's follow up are parried, but Guarin's cross is headed in from mere yards out by the substitute! 2-1 to Stramaccioni's men!
Maicon plays a fantastic first time cross in for Milito that misses the striker's head by centimeters! Inter regain possession and Zarate loses possession in the box, taking too much time to try and get it off!
Inter denied three times in quick succession from breaking into the box by great Cesena defending. The visitors show their danger on the counter as Iaquinta races through to latch onto a ball but his first touch sends it out for a goal-kick.
Great defending from Von Bergen, who heads clear a very dangerous Guarin probing through ball in the box.
Iaquinta flagged offside moments after Zarate falls and loses possession in Cesena's box.
Inter know that three points are almost certainly a must in order to keep up the race for third. The side are certainly pressing forward but poor shooting has been hindering the side.
Alvarez off for Zarate right after a wayward Cesena cross.
Guarin with another shot. It's deflected but helpfully from Cesena's point of view, as it bounces harmlessly to Antonioli.
Inter come charging down the flank. Obi lays it off for Sneijder in the box, but he too fires over the crossbar. Inter's shots are coming but they're just not on target. Comotto off for Martinho.
Yellow Card Mario Santana
Santana booked for a clumsy challenge. Guarin takes a shot from distance off-balanced and it just sails over the crossbar.
The goals have opened the game up immensely. Milito fails to control a high ball and Rodriguez scoops it up and clears. Tons of space for both sides to exploit.
Milito on for Pazzini, who had a rather ineffective game as Stramaccioni looks to go for all three points here.
Assist J. Obi
Own Goal Steve von Bergen
Assist Guillermo Rodriguez
Goal Luca Ceccarelli
CECCARELLI GOOOOOOOAAAALLLLLL! UNBELIEVABLE. After all of Inter's pressure it's the visitors who take the lead!
Santana plays the ball right to Lucio, who charges about 40 yards foward before passing the ball. Maicon tries to scoop the ball to Pazzini in the box but the striker was running across goal instead of in towards it, and the ball rolls out for a goal-kick.
Alvarez's shot gets deflected out for a corner, during which a foul is called for a foul from Pazzini. It's been a crazy few minutes and somehow neither side has scored yet!
IAQUINTA HITS THE UPRIGHT! Seconds after the Pazzini shot, Iaquinta breaks into the area and one-on-one with the keeper somehow only hits the bar!
Ranocchia and Cambiasso team up to steal the ball from Cesena. Ricky Alvarez cuts in from wide and eventually Sneijder plays a fantastic pass into Pazzini, who snaps a shot towards goal that Antonioli saves!
Guarin makes some space for himself on the edge of the box and unleashes a piledriver that goes well wide of the post. Inter really cranking out the long range efforts here but none of them have tested Antonioli.
Obi injures himself blocking Parolo's shot and Inter win a free-kick. So far this half Cesena look much better up front without sacrificing much of their solid defending from the first half.
Guana and Ceccarelli lose possession deep in Inter's half. Sneijder is anxious to score today as he lets another long range effort rip that sails over the crossbar.
Iaquinta's shot goes just over the bar! On a quick counter set up by a long ball, the striker raced towards goal and unleashed a good shot that just failed to test Castellazzi.
An acrobatic team move from Inter ends with a shot going well high over the goal. Lucio reads the game to give Inter possession again, and the home side work their way forward, losing possession when Parolo steals from Sneijder.
The players are back onto the pitch for the second half and it doesn't seem that any changes have been made by either coach. Cesena kick this one off. The sun is out now after a cloudy first half and looks to be shining in the direction of Inter when the home side attacks, which may play a slight part during the match.
45' + 1'
The San Siro applauds as Antonioli comes to his feet, which turns out to be the last meaningful action of the first half. Can Cesena possibly hold out for another half of an Inter onslaught? Join me in 15 minutes to find out!
Another Inter corner here to round out the half. Ranocchia heads the ball down and finds Lucio who unleashes a mighty shot that hits Antonioli in the face and ricochets away! The goalie is down in some pain but has done fantastically to keep Inter from scoring!
It takes a few bites at the apple for Cesena to clear, but Rodriguez eventually manages to acrobatically kick it away from a corner.
A poor shot from Sneijder who kicked the ball in his stride as he reached the box. It went well wide of the post and the forward knows he must do better than that.
Yellow Card Yohan Benalouane
Pazzini somehow failed to properly control the ball as he charged through on goal! The Italian looks to be low on confidence at the moment.
The corner comes to nothing for Inter. Santana gains possession and crosses into Inter's box but Obi is back defending and heads it clear. Cesena's second cross is hit over the bar from Iaquinta, who tried a very acrobatic shot on target that fails to test Inter's defence.
Santana fails to find Mutu in the box and Inter use the chance to attack once again. Comotto takes no chances and clears the ball under pressure from Maicon.
What. A. Save! Antonioli with perhaps his best of the night to turn a fantastic dipping Sneijder shot from point blank range over the bar!
Save Antonioli! Inter had played the ball around the box before laying off to Sneijder, who lashed at the near post but the keeper dove well to parry the ball.
Rodriguez at full stretch to cut out Sneijder's cross to Pazzini in the box! Cesena with some fantastic defending tonight to continually deny the home side opportunities.
Guarin loses possession in midfield, and Iaquinta charges towards goal with the ball. Just outside the box, he pauses and shoots to the far corner, which Castellazzi dives low to save without much fuss.
Guarin muscles his way past von Bergen in the box after receiving Maicon's superb long ball, and cuts back to Pazzini, but the ball rolls just behind the striker! Sneijder regains possession and crosses to Maicon whose charging header goes over the bar!
Ranocchia receives an elbow to the face and has to come off as he's bleeding from his nose, though the replays indicate it was an accident rather than a malicious attack.
Parolo foolishly loses the ball to Alvarez while attempting to dribble past him. The young forward tries to skip the ball into Cambiasso and overhits his pass, which rolls out for a throw-in.
Guana pushes Sneijder down as he steals the ball away and concedes a free kick, about 10 yards outside the box. The Dutchman strikes on goal and his effort goes agonizingly over the right corner. Very close from Inter!
Benalouane heads clear Obi's cross into the box, but Inter regain. Lucio, of all people, plays a great one-two with Alvarez to burst into the box and shoot but it rolls wide of the far post!
Guarin gets a cross to Pazzini this time but his header goes over the bar. Inter definitely dominating possession and chances but not really testing Antonioli yet.
Poor decision making from Iaquinta. The former Juve man chooses to fire on goal instead of pass to his many teammates making runs and his shot goes well over the crossbar.
Pazzini is flagged offside just as he looked to pounce on Alvarez's lofted through ball in the box. He's cutting an isolated figure thus far.
Ricky Alvarez plays in Maicon just inside the box and his first-time shot whizzes wide of the far post!
Cesena corner now; the ball headed dangerously back into the box but it bobbles out for a goal-kick.
UNREAL SCENES! The ball finally slips past the Cesena defence with Maicon and Pazzini both onside. Ahead of all defenders, the fullback squares it to the striker who fails to score from yards out! His shot hits the diving Antonioli square in the stomach, and the striker is furious that he failed to score!
Great defending from Von Bergen, who slides in to cut out Maicon's pass to Pazzini. The striker has been marked very well thus far into the match.
The visitors are all too happy to sit deep with numbers and try a quick counter after conceding the majority of possession to Inter. The home side have not yet figured out just how to break down the deep lying defence.
Maicon charges down his flank- a sight familiar to any calcio fan over the years- and crosses in for Pazzini but Antonioli collects. Mutu tries to play in Iaquinta but Castellazzi collects down at the other end.
Just wide from Alvarez! After Sneijder failed to break through the defence with his pass, the youngster took it into his own hands to try a long range shot, which bounced just past the near post!
Two corners in quick succession from Inter now. The second just misses the leaping Pazzini and provides Cesena with the chance to counter, but Iaquinta cheaply loses possession.
Great stop from Antonioli! The keeper stops what looked to be the first goal of the match as Nagatomo had skipped past Von Bergen and into the box, putting a solid shot on goal.
Von Bergen concedes a corner to Inter, which Sniejder takes once more. He plays it to the near post where it's cleared but only to Obi. Alvarez skips past Ceccarelli and Santana in towards the byline but overruns himself and loses possession.
Fantastic pass from Sneijder to Pazzini, and the player is set free in the box... wait, it's offside! The tightest of calls but the correct one from the linesman.
Ranocchia clears another dangerous ball into the box. Cesena get the ball back and put a shot on target that's straight to Castellazzi.
Cesena are doing better to get further up the pitch when they have possession but neither side have been doing much in the wayy of shooting so far. Ceccarelli leads a fantastic attack and cuts back from the byline but Ranocchia clears!
A few whistles ring out as Ceccarelli's cross goes far ahead of any teammates and gifts Inter a goal-kick. Within seconds the home side get to the visitors' box and Sneijder loses possession after a solo run through the defence.
Ceccarelli does fantastically to win a corner against Nagatomo after holding off the Inter full-back very well. It's played deep towards Parolo who tries to head back across the box but Inter clear it.
Somehow the visiting defence stops Sniejder and then Obi from getting into the box, and forces Guarin to take a shot from deep that doesn't trouble Antonioli much.
Alvarez wins a corner, which Sniejder plays short to the players. The cross is blocked and Cesena try to counter but are stopped in the midfield after a great sliding tackle by Obi.
Cesena have had two brief spells of possession and failed to get past Inter's defence both times. On the basis of the opening five minutes, it's certainly going to be a long night for the visitors.
Maicon sends in a great cross from the right flank that fails to reach Pazzini in the box as Von Bergen has done just enough to get his body across and throw the striker off.
A second straight attack down the left flank from Inter, this time through Obi, who releases Sneijder to cross in the box. The ball is too long for anyone to reach and Comotto ensures Maicon doesn't get to the other flank with possession.
And we have kick-off! Inter are in their usual black-and-white kit whereas Cesena are docked in white. The home side press forward immediately and the message is clear: Inter want goals. They nearly nick one as Nagatomo finds Guarin in the box but Cesena's defence is able to clear.
Minutes away from kick-off now as the teams look just about ready to leave the locker rooms and come onto the pitch. The big question revolves around how much effort an already relegated visiting side will put in against an Inter that truly needs the points today.
Inter have a fair bit more depth to their bench than the visitors do, as would be expected, although both have reinforcements for every area of the pitch, should they be needed. Inter bench: 21 Orlandoni, 2 Cordoba, 37 Faraoni, 18 Poli, 9 Forlan, 22 Milito, 28 Zarate Cesena bench: 88 Ravaglia, 13 Rossi, 15 Martinho, 17 Malonga, 23 Djokovic, 24 Arrigoni, 45 Lolli
Mario Beretta will be thrilled to start Adrian Mutu and Vincenzo Iaquinta, both of whom make a surprise return from injury today. The coach however has lost Vangelis Moras, Vinvenzo Rennella and Giuseppe Colucci to suspension. 1 Antonioli; 77 Ceccarelli, 28 Benalouane, 25 Von Bergen, 2 Rodriguez, 16 Comotto; 7 Santana, 5 Guana, 18 Parolo; 17 Mutu, 9 Iaquinta
The line-ups have been released. The home side gives a rare start to Giampaolo Pazzini as Diego Milito is rested for the trip. Javier Zanetti and Cristian Chivu are still out with injuries, and Dejan Stankovic's suspension allows Fredy Guarin to slot into the midfield. 12 Castellazzi; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 23 Ranocchia, 55 Nagatomo; 14 Guarin, 19 Cambiasso; 20 Obi; 11 Alvarez, 10 Sneijder; 7 Pazzini
Thus today, it's 6th against 20th in a game that Inter need to win in order to keep pace in the tight hunt for the final Champions' League place. Under Andrea Stramaccioni the side have yet to lose.
Welcome to Goal.com's match coverage of Inter-Cesena! This round 35 match means the world for the home side, still chasing a Champions' League place at the expense of the visitors, who have been relegated following their defeat to Juventus last week and lie last in Serie A.
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