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January 19, 2011
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: C. Russo
• Attendance: 45000
S. Eto'o 13'
D. Milito 15'
C. Chivu 45'+
E. Bogdani 23'
E. Giaccherini 29'
FULL TIME!!! Inter have held on to record a hugely important win over Cesena - 3-2 it has finished. The champions survived a spirited comeback from the relegation battlers and go onto 35 points, above Juventus courtesy of Chivu's winner. Thanks for joining me. Until next time, Arrivederci.
90' + 3'
Inter with all their experience are trying to see out the final minute in possession - the best way to prevent the opposition from scoring. Can never understand why so many teams chance it by inviting pressure.
90' + 2'
It would not be entirely undeserved were Cesena to nick a point but it looks unlikely with sixty seconds to play. One last big push for the visitors...
The fourth official raises his board to signal three minutes of stoppage time in which Inter will look to hold on and Cesena will look to snatch an unlikely point.
Caserti loses out in midfield but Eto'o, Cambiasso and Stankovic between them strive for the perfect goal and Cesena survive.
Maicon it is once more who has the responsibility from the set piece. His intended target is Cordoba though Materazzi throws himself at the ball. In the confusion, neither of them gets any decent effort away on goal.
Obi wins a free-kick for Inter on the left, which Cesena thought had gone in their favour. Chivu's initial delivery is headed clear. Eto'o unapologetically heads for the corner to eat up some seconds and he wins a corner to boot.
Cambiasso leaves it to Maicon whose low cross is something of an anti-climax. Inter come again and Zanetti's delivery is much better. Eto'o has a free header inside the box, which he somehow cannot manage to divert on target.
Yellow Card Yohan Benalouane
Benalouane has only recourse to a cynical trip as he stops the forward surge of Eto'o. Free-kick Inter around 30 yards from goal.
Iván Ramiro Córdoba
Inter make another defensive change with Ivan Cordoba being introduced for the closing stages to shore up the defence. Goran Pandev makes way - he didn't score tonight but he set up the second.
Zanetti does superbly to get past the substitute Dellafiore who was all at sea before Stankovic mishits his shot.
More excellent overlapping from Chivu but Von Bergen is across to check his progress and Inter have to work the ball patiently back into their own half.
Obi has added some bite to the Inter midfield and on this occasion, he fouls Colucci as his aggression gets the better of him.
Beautiful spin from Maicon who is revelling in the attacking freedom he's been afforded by the visitors tonight.
As Leonardo stands biting his nails. Budan hits the post!!! Caserta found Bogdani in the centre. He laid it off to Budan who was free down the right-hand side of the box. Budan gets the shot away and sees it cannon into the outside of the post!!!
Inter are still in front but are wobbling a little and full credit to the ten men of Cesena, who are showing terrific resolve.
Budan has a chance to equalise for Cesena however, his shot from eight yards out is straight at Castelazzi. It was a fluffed clearance from Chivu that handed the opportunity to the Croatian in the first place.
Former Inter playmaker Luis Jimenez makes way for the closing stages with Croatian striker Igor Budan coming on.
Huge opportunity wasted by Inter. Obi did superbly down the left, to weave his way through five defenders and get the cross away. Pandev fires over the bar from close range.
The substitute is substituted as Obi replaces Biabiany.
Yellow/Red Emanuele Giaccherini
Jimenez plays an excellent through-ball but Giaccherini had mistimed his run and was flagged for offside. Despite the whistle having already been blown, Giaccherini proceeded to drill the ball past Castelazzi into the net. It was a great finish but of course a needless display of dissent for which he receives his second booking and therefore a red.
RED CARD GIACCHERINI. Cesena down to ten men!!!
Caserta's cross from the right looking for Panolo is a little long. Inter counter and a delightful touch from Eto'o finds Maicon. He plays a 1-2 with Pandev but his shot is straight at Antonioli. Outstanding play from Inter.
Bogdani looks to hold the ball up but he cannot bring the ball under control and Lucio is there to snuff out the Albanian threat on that occasion.
Biabiany tries his luck from distance but he gets his foot well underneath the bar and it blazes high into the crowd.
Another change for Cesena as Sammarco makes way for Caserta in a straight swap in the visitors' midfield.
ETO'O OFF THE BAR!! Another incisive move from the Nerazzurri as Eto'o is denied by the crossbar. Cambiasso got his cross in at the second time of asking. Eto'o was able to get his shot away despite a lunging attempt at a block from Von Bergen and he just fails to find the back of the net.
Excellent challenge from Lucio to pick Bogdani's pocket but Eto'o's ball goes astray and Inter are unable to capitalise.
Pablo Hernan Dellafiore
Meanwhile Cesena decide to make a change. Another former Inter player comes onto the field - Dellafiore replaces Lauro. Dellafiore had three years with the Inter academy without appearing in Serie A.
Inter have a couple of players warming up on the sidelines in the shape of Ivan Cordoba and McDonald Mariga.
Maicon turns defence into attack after dispossessing Giaccherini but his pass in the direction of Pandev is wayward. Giaccherini has another go at the Inter defence but this time his progress is thwarted by Lucio.
Bogdani tangles with Lucio and the two go to ground in a heap as the referee waves play on. Jimenez looks to dance his way through the Inter defence and Zanetti gets another vital foot in there. Inter break with Eto'o who comes inside off that left-hand side but he disappointingly blasts his shot high and wide and definitely not as handsome as Leonardo.
Outstanding first touch from Maicon to cushion Biabiany's pass. He returns the ball infield but Stankovic's pass through to Pandev is blocked.
Eto'o again looks to take on his foe Von Bergen and this time another defender in the shape of Lauro comes across to help out.
Eto'o is well tracked by Von Bergen down the left before eventually checking back on his right side to escape the clutches of the Swiss however, his cross is over everyone and goes out of play at the far post. An electric burst of pace from the Cameroonian but credit to Von Bergen who used his experience.
Inter are far from out of the woods. Giaccherini plays a fine through ball to Panolo who cuts inside but then doesn't know whether to stick or twist. His hesitancy allows Cambiasso to nip in and stop the attack in its tracks.
Stankovic looks for the diagonal ball in behind but it's a loose pass and cut out. Giaccherini comes forward for Cesena on the counter but yet again he's denied by the outstanding Zanetti.
Zanetti rightly receives a warm round of applause as he prevents the ball from going behind for a corner after Giaccherini had initially got the better of Maicon down the left. It's been an eventful evening so far for the Cesena midfielder.
Stankovic battles his way through two defenders before he is fouled in a tussle with Sammarco. Inter make nothing from the free-kick as Pandev's dink over the top was overhit.
Stankovic with another ball out wide to release the overlapping fullback, who in this instance is Chivu. His cross is scramled behind for an Inter corner. Eto'o gets the cross in low from the left but Ceccarelli is alert and he makes the clearance.
Stankovic finds Maicon over on the right. The fullback's first time cross is well struck but cleared by the Swiss defender Steve Von Bergen, formerly of Hertha Berlin of course. Maicon is really up for this tonight. To think some had written him off...
Yellow Card Emanuele Giaccherini
A booking for Giaccherini in the opening 25 seconds of the half as he goes down far too easily under the challenge from Materazzi.
There appear to be no further changes at the break and it's Cesena who get us underway in the second-half.
That's the end of a breathtaking first-half in which five goals have been scored. Inter were irresistable in taking a two-goal lead but full credit to Cesena, who battled back to level the game up. However, Inter found another gear and deserve the lead on the overall balance of play. Join us in fifteen minutes for the second half.
45' + 1'
45' + 1'
Goal Cristian Chivu
45' + 1'
GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL INTER! They have restored their lead before the break and you can't say it was not coming. Chivu gets his first league goal of the season as he heads a terrific Maicon cross into the corner of the net. He even takes off his head protection to celebrate! No chance for Antonioli.
Jimenez is perhaps a little unlucky to be flagged for offside but Materazzi judged the offside trap to absolute perfection on that occasion. The ex-Everton man cops his fair share of flak but he should be credited when he does something right!
It's all Inter here as we approach the break. Chivu is again release on the left by Cambiasso but his cross is disappointingly away from the danger zone, allowing Cesena to counter. Lucio nicks the ball away from Sammarco just in time.
Inter pour forward once more and are able to cut the Cesena defence to ribbons. Eto'o goes by Panolo as if he weren't there but for once his finishing lets him down as he slices his shot wide on his left peg.
Two chances for Inter in a minute! The free-kick almost breaks to Cambiasso before Antonioli claim. Inter attack a few seconds later and Chivu's curling effort - a chip - on his right-foot is headed off the line by Colucci.
Biabiany storms forward at pace. He is unsure what to do next and eventually finds the onrushing Pandev, who is tripped just outside the penalty box by Panolo for a free-kick.
The corner is taken short before Giaccherini delivers the cross to the near post. Cambiasso heads behind under no pressure whatsoever from a white shirt. Maicon then clears the second corner and Inter are able to bring the ball forwrd.
Biabiany gives the ball away as errors begin to creep into both sides' games. Jimenez counters for Cesena and he wins a corner off Materazzi.
Materazzi receives a booking after a stupid and petulant handball.
Some terrific build-up play between Cambiasso and Eto'o before Chivu is found in acres of space out on the left. However, his cross is headed clear.
Yellow Card Marco Materazzi
Maicon's delivery doesn't quite drop for Materazzi who beat Eto'o to the ball. The ball comes out to Biabiany who delivers a superb cross into the box. Lucio just about stays onside but he arrows his header narrowly wide of the goal.
Once again it's Zanetti who is at the heart of Inter bursting forward and he wins a corner down the right.
Just Giaccherini's second of the season but a magnificent finish against the champions and what a time to score!
Jimenez has taken a blow to the head and is off the field holding an icepack to the bruise. And in fact he has just returned to the field of play to restore numerical parity.
Assist L. Jiménez
Goal Emanuele Giaccherini
GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL CESENA EQUALISE!!! Sensational comeback from the visitors. Giaccherini ghosts in behind the Inter defence and rifles the volley first-time into the net. The finish was just what the superb ball from Jimenez deserved. All square in the San Siro!
Not the greatest shot in the world from Stankovic on that occasion and that's being kind to the Serbian midfielder. Goal kick for Cesena, who have been buoyed by their first goal in three matches.
Eto'o is a real menace down the left and is oozing confidence. The crowd roar in approval as he twists and turns and makes a fool of the Cesena defenders before rolling the ball back to Chivu, who wins a corner.
More worries for the Inter defence as Materazzi is forced to clear the ball behind under pressure from Giaccherini at the far post. A bit of a misunderstanding in the Inter area and Leonardo will be a little concerned.
Assist Luca Ceccarelli
Goal Erjon Bogdani
GOLLLLLLLLLLL CESENA!!! They're not out of this yet and Erjon Bogdani has got one back for his side. Materazzi let the Albanian go inside the box and he did well to take the ball, swivel and fire a low shot into the net past Castelazzi.
Cambiasso picks out Eto'o who skilfully releases Zanetti down the right but the veteran mistimes his run just a touch and is flagged for offside.
Diego Milito looks to have picked up an injury and he will be replaced by Biabiany.
Jimenez looks to play a 1-2 with Parolo but the return ball is blocked and Inter immediately look to counter. Maicon tries the outrageous with a stunning volley from wide on the right, which lands on the top of the net.
Bogdani signals the start of the fightback with a header after a good cross from the left by Giaccherini but he mistimes his jump and the ball balloons over the crossbar.
Assist Goran Pandev
Goal Diego Milito
GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL INTER!!!!! 2-0 for the champions and Diego Milito gets his name on the scoresheet. Wonderful team move from the front three. Eto'o plays the ball through to Pandev who ghosts in behind the defence. He unselfishly squares the ball across goal where he finds Milito, who cannot fail to put the ball into the vacant net.
Assist Diego Milito
Goal Samuel Eto'o
GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL INTER - Superb strike from Eto'o who gets his twelfth of the season. He stands with his arms aloft before the adoring Inter crowd. Wonderful goal from the Cameroonian who played a 1-2 with Milito before evading two white shirts and smashing the ball low into the back of the net. World class.
Antonioli comes out of his goal at the near post to claim Maicon's cross and prevent it from finding Milito, who as ever was lurking in the penalty area.
The evergreen Zanetti just fails to keep the ball in play down the right flank. It was always skipping away from the captain. Maicon and Zanetti are linking up very well down this right-hand side.
Zanetti plays a clever ball out to Milito on the right. He holds the ball up then lays it off back to Cambiasso. However, Inter find no way through and the ball is eventually worked back to Castelazzi.
Cambiasso finds Eto'o on the left hand side of the box. He looks to come inside two defenders - beats one but not the second and is penalised for his greed. Still, with his goals record this season, who can really blame him?
The shot is flashed wide from the quickly-taken corner, an attempt, albeit an unsuccessful one, to catch the champions out. More composure in front of goal needed from the visitors.
Pandev looks to turn in the hole but he is disposessed. Cesena counter with Giaccherini down the left hand side. He breaks into the box and goes down the outside, getting past Materazzi before his cross is deflected behind for a corner.
Chivu fouls Jimenez and concedes the free-kick on the edge of the Cesena box. He had hoped the referee failed to spot it but Russo was alert.
Inter come again and Pandev's low shot forces Antonioli into a regulation save but Inter have fired off a few early warning signs. They mean business this evening and are looking to dominate from the word go.
It's a disappointing delivery, which does not clear the first defender. Stankovic retrives the situation and catches the advancing Cesena defence out with the ball back in but Antonioli is alert and he comes out to claim the ball at Cambiasso's feet.
Maicon is tripped over on the right flank and Inter have a free-kick in a dangerous situation, which the Brazilian himself will take.
Cesena with their first attack - Parolo shoots meekly wide after the initial cross from Ceccarelli was headed clear by Materazzi.
Inter are passing the ball around at the back on a foggy night in Milan. They make headway down the right-hand side with Stankovic but he cannot wrap his right peg around the ball sufficiently and his cross goes behind for a goal-kick taken by the veteran former Roma goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli.
Our referee, Nicola Russo di Nola gets us underway as Inter kick off in their classic blue and black striped shirts. Cesena are in all-white.
Cesena: 1 Antonioli; 6 Lauro, 10 Jimenez, 14 Colucci, 15 Benalouane, 18 Parolo, 23 Giaccherini, 24 Sammarco, 25 Von Bergen, 70 Bogdani, 77 Ceccarelli. Subs: 33 Calderoni, 3 Pellegrino, 4 Appiah, 8 Caserta, 11 Budan, 17 Malonga, 29 Dellafiore.
12 Castellazzi; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 23 Materazzi, 26 Chivu; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic; 27 Pandev; 22 Milito, 9 Eto'o. Subs: 21 Orlandoni, 2 Cordoba, 11 Muntari, 17 Mariga, 20 Obi, 39 Santon, 88 Biabiany.
Inter have seemingly turned the corner since Leonardo replaced Rafa Benitez and should they win both games in hand, they would go second and be just three points off Milan - a position that would surely make them favourites to retain the Scudetto yet again.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of champions Inter and Cesena in Serie A. This fixture is one of two Inter have in hand over league leaders Milan and thus it is vital that Leonardo's men get the three points. Cesena for their part, need at least something from this game as they battle relegation to Serie B.
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