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May 8, 2011
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: L. Banti
• Attendance: 60000
G. Pazzini 25'
E. Cambiasso 28'
Philippe Coutinho 77'
A. Gilardino 74'
All over in Milan! An entertaining game has come to an end. Both sides gave it a go and Inter had a few nervy moments but in the end they are worthy and reasonably comfortable winners. The victory puts them in pole position to take second spot, which is some consolation at least after seeing Milan lift the Scudetto. Thanks for joining us today. Until next time, arrivederci!
90' + 4'
A chance for Pazzini's second after Kharja's persistence down the right gives the ex-Fiorentina man the chance. However, his shot is blocked by a despairing lunge from Gamberini and the ball ricochets behind for a corner-kick.
90' + 3'
Curiously, Cambiasso is playing in the back four at the moment, having swapped positions for Ranocchia, who has been looking to come forward with the ball unnecessarily, taking undue risks at this stage of the game.
90' + 2'
A wasteful cross from Mutu from the left as Fiorentina had three men inside the penalty box. The heads drop as the ball is sliced behind the goal for a goal-kick to Inter.
Maicon controls the ball outside the box, flicks it over the defender and as the ball drops, volleys the ball but his shot is well wide. Had he been successful, that would have been one of the goals of the season. Nice to see Inter having a penchant for the spectacular even in the closing stages. 5 minutes of stoppage time.
Obi wins a corner for Inter after some neat trickery down the right. It is cleared away before Coutinho's deflected shot earns Inter another opportunity to deliver the ball in.
LET OFF FOR INTER! Lucio makes a howler and Fiorentina storm forward. Mutu robs the Brazilian and squares the ball to Gilardino, however, the cutback was too close to Julio Cesar who was able to parry the ball away to safety. Poor awareness from the Romanian.
We have a delay as Ranocchia is being treated for cramp but there is good news for Inter from Lecce as Napoli have gone 2-1 behind, meaning Inter would go four points clear of the Partenopei in third spot!
Obi gets down the left and looks to curl the cross into the near post but he fails to wrap his foot around the ball sufficiently and Boruc makes a regulation save.
Again, Santana plays a terrific looking ball into the penalty box but it is just a touch too strong and in front of Mutu, who tries his hardest to make up the ground but in the end, Julio Cesar holds onto the ball.
Zanetti punts the ball forward in the general direction of Coutinho, who wants a free-kick but no decision is forthcoming. Inter doing just enough to see off Fiorentina in the closing stages. Fiorentina have had their moments but their lack of quality when it has counted has meant Inter have always kept them at arms length.
Fiorentina make a further substitute with Comotto replacing Pasqual at left-back for the final ten minutes or so.
More fight from Fiorentina as Gilardino lays the ball off to Mutu, whose shot saved by Julio Cesar before the rebound came to Montolivo, who drilled the ball towards goal and this time it was the outstretched leg of Cambiasso, which came to Inter's rescue.
Goal Philippe Coutinho
GOLLLLLLLLLLLLL INTER. Breathing space once more! Coutinho curls the free-kick over the heads of Vargas and Behrami in the wall and into the corner of the net beyond Boruc's despairing dive. It is his first goal of the season and what a way to score it, a free-kick even Wesley Sneijder would have been proud of.
Lucio, on his 33rd birthday, comes on for the closing stages for Materazzi, who has had a shaky game alongside Ranocchia in the centre of Inter's defence today.
Assist Mario Santana
Goal Alberto Gilardino
GOLLLLLLLLLL FIORENTINA! They are back in the game! Ranocchia fell asleep as a delightful dink over the top from the substitute Santana finds Gilardino who drills the ball low into the corner of the net beyond Cesar.
Chivu makes way for Joel Obi, a move, which will probably see Zanetti revert to left-back.
Not the worst cross from Santana from the right, which is punched away by Julio Cesar. Behrami heads the ball back into the danger zone and as Materazzi foolishly tries to play the ball with his chest, Mutu hooks the ball towards goal and narrowly over the bar, with Cesar rooted to the spot.
A surprise change from Mihajlovic as Cerci makes way for Mario Santana in a like for like swap down the right flank.
A poor ball from Montolivo gifts possession to Inter. Pandev's ball eludes Pasqual but he fails to find Kharja. Inter soon win the ball back and Behrami pleads his innocence and gets the decision as Chivu goes over after lightly colliding with the Swiss. Chivu was looking for it all day long and the referee was not buying it.
Almost suicidal defending from Materazzi who tries a fancy flick to help a clever chipped ball forward from Montolivo back to Julio Cesar, almost allowing in Mutu but the Inter goalkeeper manages to avert the danger.
Coutinho feigns to come inside then goes on the outside of De Silvestri, who is more than equal to the task of stopping the Brazilian. He then comes forward to the half-way line with his side.
Neat play from Pazzini to hold off his man and create the space to thread the ball through to Zanetti down the right but the Argentine's ageing legs cannot quite carry him down the right quickly enough and the ball runs out of play.
A timely intervention from D'Agostino stops the run of Maicon into the Fiorentina box and the midfielder plays the ball off the Brazilian to boot, for a goal-kick. At the other end, Materazzi fairly but firmly piles in on De Silvestri taking both ball and man.
Brilliant run from Cerci who works up a head of steam, evading three challenges before winning a corner after his cross is blocked. His ensuing corner is poor though and Cambiasso volleys the ball clear at the near post.
Chance for Inter! Chivu was coming in at the back post but he slices the ball into the side netting from an admittedly tight angle after Pazzini had been eased aside by De Silvestri. Meanwhile, Mutu is penalised for handball.
A very late flag for offside penalises Pandev who was retreating from an offside position before laying the ball off to Chivu, who was making the overlapping run. Up the other end, Vargas picks out Mutu, whose first shot is spilled by Julio Cesar but gathered at the second attempt.
Samuel Eto'o receives a warm hand from the Inter crowd as he makes way for the Macedonian international Goran Pandev.
Cerci again tests Julio Cesar as he comes inside on his left foot, jinks past Materazzi and gets the shot away but the Inter goalkeeper makes a comfortable save. At the other end, Coutinho, who has shown flashes without sustained brilliance, is caught offside.
Fiorentina make their first change of the game as Adrian Mutu comes on for Gilardino, who is rewarded for his howler of a miss by being hooked!
Fiorentina will surely pay for spurning such a great opportunity to score. Inter have taken their foot off the pedal a little, content to see Fiorentina have the ball and now Behrami wins a free-kick after being fouled by Kharja as he broke into the Inter half.
WHAT A CHANCE! AND WHAT A MISS!! Fiorentina win a throw after an errant ball from Materazzi. Montolivo finds Gilardino inside the box, who then turns Ranocchia, evades the defender and then with Julio Cesar advancing, pokes the ball wide from six yards. A gilt-edged chance that has gone begging for Fiorentina!
As Chivu made the sliding challenge, Behrami caught him on the side of his foot with his studs. Happily, Chivu has now recovered to his feet and he should be back on in no time at all.
Again the challenges pile in and this time it is Behrami who goes down after an excellent challenge by Chivu to win the ball although the Romanian was then caught by the studs of the Swiss midfielder and he is down in considerable pain. The medical staff are now attending to the left-back.
Gilardino does well and almost finds Montolivo, who has gone down inside the box after a firm challenge from Materazzi, who got nowhere near the ball either although there was never enough in it for a penalty and as such no-one from the visiting side appealed.
Zanetti carries the ball down the right-hand side against D'Agostino and does very well initially before carrying the ball the wrong side of the touchline, meaning Fiorentina win a throw.
Coutinho lays the ball back to Maicon, whose cross as blocked by Montolivo. The ball ricochets for Cambiasso, who runs onto the ball and slices his shot wide when perhaps Eto'o was better positioned.
A bright start to the second period from Fiorentina. Cerci's clever backheel set up D'Agostino for the shot. He tries to place it with his favoured left peg but Julio Cesar makes a comfortable save low down.
The players have re-emerged from the tunnel for the second half. Fiorentina, trailing 2-0, will kick us off. Both sides are unchanged at the interval.
The referee blows for half-time and Inter lead 2-0 at the end of the first-half with two goals in three minutes from Pazzini and then Cambiasso. Inter good value for their lead although Fiorentina have had their moments. Join us in 15 minutes for the resumption.
45' + 1'
Eto'o is having some joy dropping into deep positions between midfield and attack. Maicon is found by the Cameroonian and he lays the ball off for Coutinho, who wins a corner for his side, although it comes to nothing.
GREAT SAVE BORUC! Maicon runs onto the ball and looks to place it into the net but the recovering Boruc makes a terrific stop. Maicon's chance come moments after Pazzini almost got on to Coutinho's cross as Inter prised open the visiting defence with neat combination play.
Vargas attempts the counter down the left but Maicon uses his pace to recover. Gilardino looks to have been presented with a glorious chance to make it 2-1 but he is wrongly flagged for offside as he kept himself level with Maicon.
An excellent call from the assistant referee as Gilardino strays just a touch offside behind the Inter defence. Inter counter and Coutinho embarrassingly loses his footing at the critical moment inside the penalty area.
Montolivo looks to dink the ball into the box and Gilardino but the packed Inter defence cuts it out. Zanetti shows his commitment in the midfield battle, winning the ball back at the third time of asking after a combative tussle.
D'Agostino surprises us all and takes the free-kick instead of Montolivo and he strikes the wall before Ranocchia heads the ball behind for a corner. Inter switch off from the corner, after it was initially cleared and Cerci shoots wide at the near post from D'Agostino's cutback. However, Julio Cesar always had it covered.
Vargas, who has been rather quiet, tries to take on Zanetti, who knows exactly what he is doing as he turns his back on the Peruvian and blocks his route down the flank. Fiorentina work the free-kick rather neatly with Montolivo and Materazzi looks on with a frustrated expression across his face as he is booked for a foul on Gilardino.
Behrami piles into Eto'o from behind after Cerci lost out in possession and some pressure is relieved on the hosts. Inter look very comfortable now after a tricky opening in which both sides created opportunities.
No sooner do I write that does Kharja get penalised for a trip from behind. Fiorentina have enjoyed a good spell of possession but can find few holes in a well-organised Inter defence, who are being well protected by their midfield.
It has been a noticeable feature of Inter's play how Chivu has stormed down the left-hand side more than usual although he will still have to be wary of Cerci. Kharja is providing some neat touches in the Inter midfield and keeping the moves going. Coutinho stands up a terrific cross into the box but there was no Inter striker at home to profit.
The challenges come flying in from the Fiorentina midfielders, the second of which is penalised as Kharja took a tumble moments after Pazzini was felled. Fiorentina look more than a touch rattled after Inter's double strike.
Sinisa Mihajlovic is cutting a furious figure on the touchline, not at all disguising his displeasure at the ineptitude of his defenders as they threw away a decent start to concede two quick goals against Inter.
Yellow Card Lorenzo De Silvestri
Assist Samuel Eto'o
Goal Esteban Cambiasso
GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL INTER!!! CAMBIASSO! We said it was dangerous and so it has proved!! Fiorentina were caught napping at the back and Esteban Cambiasso glances his header into the net at speed beyond Boruc from Eto'o's free-kick. Slack defending from the hosts, particularly on Pasqual's part but Leonardo is not complaining!
We have our first booking of the game as De Silvestri is booked for handball and he has no complaints as he cynically stopped the ball with his arm to prevent Chivu getting away from him down the left. Another free-kick in a good position for the hosts.
Natali simply did not get close enough to Pazzini who had delivered prior warning of his danger. Full credit must go to Eto'o for his skill, persistence and patience as he waited until enough space presented itself enabling him to pick out the former Fiorentina hitman.
Assist Samuel Eto'o
Goal Giampaolo Pazzini
GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL INTER!!! PAZZINI!!!!! Eto'o cuts inside but his cross is blocked. Again the ball is worked to the right and Maicon but he returns the ball to Eto'o, whose burst of pace almost opens up the Viola defence. He stays patient to find Pazzini, who again is allowed to turn inside the box by Natali and on this occasion, he makes no mistake as he drills the ball into the bottom corner beyond Boruc.
Eto'o goes for the right-footed curler but he can only strike the wall. Pazzini almost latches onto a diagonal ball from Maicon down on the left-hand side but he cannot quite stretch far enough to keep it in play.
In truth, Fiorentina can feel hard done by as Eto'o just collided with Natali, who did not foul the Cameroonian at all. Without Sneijder, Eto'o and Chivu stand behind the ball...
Eto'o takes the ball in the inside left channel before a neat combination with Kharja, Pazzini and Chivu. Inter now working the ball from side to side with lively movement and they are rewarded when Eto'o is tripped just outside the "D" by Natali.
CERCI AGAIN! The right winger is having a lot more joy cutting inside on his left peg. After Cambiasso lost out in the midfield battle, the ball was worked to Cerci, who jinked inside and forced a good stop from Julio Cesar after unleashing a curling shot. Fortunately for the hosts, the ball was beaten away to safety.
Gilardino takes a superb touch 25 yards from goal and seeing enough room to shoot, decides to let fly. He catches it reasonably well but the direction is lacking and there are no worries for Julio Cesar in the Inter goal.
A more than decent header from Materazzi! As Sneijder watches on, complete with sunglasses, the veteran Inter defender leaps highest at the back stick and heads wide of the post with Boruc watching it all the way behind.
Eto'o drives down the left flank and as he approaches the touchline, he is clumsily tripped by D'Agostino, who pleads his innocence but was never going to con the referee. A free-kick now for Inter, in a dangerous position over on the left, which is whipped in to the back post and with Cambiasso lurking, Pasqual helps it behind for a corner.
Zanetti worms between two Fiorentina players before giving the ball away carelessly. Ranocchia gets a little too close to Gilardino and barges him over, conceding a free-kick just inside his own half. Fiorentina instantly cede possession to Inter, as has been the pattern of this game so far.
Pazzini has his second chance of the game as he shoots meekly first-time straight at Boruc after Fiorentina failed to clear a cross from the left-hand side. Inter starting to gain the upper hand slowly but surely, however, Fiorentina remain a viable threat.
Inter came close from the corner with Ranocchia's header before Eto'o put the ball into the six-yard area, which evaded Fiorentina and Inter players alike and skipped behind for a goal-kick. There is more space now and the game has opened up.
NOW INTER HIT THE BAR!!! Coutinho receives the ball from Zanetti, comes inside and evades two defenders before laying the ball into Pazzini. The ex-Sampdoria man receives the ball with his back to goal, turns Gamberini and fires off the shot, which Boruc tips onto the bar!
OFF THE BAR!! This time Cerci decides to try his left foot and he curls the ball past Chivu and into the box, where it is met by Gilardino at the near post. He sneaks between Materazzi and Ranocchia, who got their wires crossed and volleyed the ball against the crossbar with Julio Cesar beaten all ends up!
After their first sight of goal, Inter are finding it difficult in what has been a scrappy and tight opening phase. Cerci again tries to take on Chivu but the Romanian does well - not for the first time this afternoon.
First chance of the game for Inter as again Fiorentina give the ball away - this time in their own half after Coutinho had given the ball away initially. A simple defence-splitting pass between Pasqual and Natale found Pazzini, who shot high and wide from the edge of the penalty box.
The dangerous and in-form Cerci gets to the by-line but before he can pull the trigger and cross, Chivu slides in and gets the ball away for a throw. Cerci has been a revelation this season with 14 goals, including four in his last two for the Viola.
Inter have scored 29 goals in their last 10 home games and they will be hoping for more of the same as they look to do the double over Fiorentina, whom they beat 2-1 earlier in the season. Neither side has come within sight of a goalscoring opportunity as yet.
Eto'o loses out in midfield to D'Agostino but again Fiorentina can make little headway as Behrami is stopped in his tracks down the right flank by Chivu. Cerci breaks down the right and makes a good deal of ground before Chivu's challenge halts his progress and Fiorentina win a throw.
Zanetti is making his 999th professional appearance today in what has been a superb career but on this occasion he is beaten to the ball by a quicker D'Agostino, however, Inter recover the ball quickly.
We're underway in the San Siro as Inter kick us off in their blue and black striped kits. Fiorentina are in their change strip of white. It appears that there has been a late change to the Inter side with Coutinho playing behind Pazzini and Eto'o in place of Pandev.
Fiorentina: Boruc ; De Silvestri, Gamberini, Natali, Pasqual ; Behrami, D'Agostino, Montolivo ; Cerci, Gilardino, Vargas. Substitutes: Frey, Kroldrup, Comotto, Marchionni, Ljajic, Mutu, Santana
Inter: Julio Cesar ; Maicon, Ranocchia, Materazzi, Chivu ; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Kharja ; Coutinho; Pazzini, Eto'o. Substitutes: Castellazzi, Lucio, Faraoni, Samuel, Obi, Milito, Pandev
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live commentary of the clash between the now dethroned champions of Italy, Inter and Fiorentina. Inter are now in the unusual position of being in the shadow of city rivals Milan, who last night clinched their first Scudetto since 2004. Nevertheless, Leonardo's men will be playing for pride and hoping to secure second spot ahead of Napoli, who trail Inter by a point. Fiorentina are firmly ensconced in the top half of the table and a win here would enable them to put pressure on Palermo for eighth spot.
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