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Italy - Serie A
February 9, 2014
• Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milano
Referee: S. Peruzzo
• Attendance: 34528
W. Samuel 48'
That win for Inter keeps them in the hunt for the final European place, while Sassuolo continue to flounder in the relegation zone. That's all we have time for from San Siro, we hope you have enjoyed our coverage of Inter's narrow 1-0 Serie A win over Sassuolo! I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you again next time.
FULL TIME! Inter grab three important points, with Walter Samuel's first goal of this Serie A season giving Mazzarri's men the spoils of victory. The away side were never out of the game as a contest, but Nerazzurri were in control for long periods, and would have posted up a more convincing scoreline if it hadn't been for the heroics of Pegolo in the Sassuolo net.
90' + 2'
GUARIN! BOTTA! Missiroli fouls Jonathan, and Nerazzurri aren't going to take this quickly. The hosts are keen to run down the clock and register their first win of this calendar year. Guarin tries his luck from outside the area, testing Pegolo yet again, before the substitute Argentine is denied seconds later by another reasonable save!
Mazzarri is furiously barking out instructions from his technical area, not permitting his players to lose concentration in the dying minutes of the game. This result is vital for Inter. There are two minutes of stoppage time.
Hernanes whips in a free-kick delivery, but Inter aren't prepared to commit too many players forward, allowing for Sassuolo to half clear. A second cross is angled in, but Ariaudo wins the header over Palacio, with the diminutive Argentine fouling the defender in the process.
Five minutes until the end of this match, and Inter look as though they've got enough about them to hold on, and perhaps nick a second goal. Ariaudo is on hand to divert yet another cross away from Palacio, the Sassuolo defender has been rather impressive tonight.
FLORO FLORES! Half a chance for the Sassuolo man, whose hooked half volley bounced wide of the near post, with Handanovic having his angles covered. Inter can't afford to permit the visitors to have so many late chances, they could shoot themselves in the foot here.
BOTTA! That's close from the Argentine winger, who takes one touch before firing narrowly over the crossbar from the edge of the area! Palacio unselfishly laid it off to the substitute, but I'm sure that now he wishes that he'd gone it alone!
Good clearance from Jonathan! The Brazilian tracks back excellently to dispossess Floro Flores of the ball, as the substitute looks to drive towards the near post. Inter then break down the other end, but Palacio is muscled off the ball by Cannavaro inside the Sassuolo area.
Antonio Floro Flores
Samuel leaves the field to a standing ovation, with his goal currently being the difference between one and three points for Inter at San Siro. He was beginning to fatigue rapidly, given his lack of minutes at the end of 2013, and Mazzarri wants to keep things fresh in the final ten minutes.
GUARIN! Botta works well down the left hand side, before his cross is nearly met by the onrushing Guarin! Missiroli does well to work back towards his own goal and nod the dangerous ball back to Pegolo.
OFFSIDE! The Sassuolo line have stayed rather disciplined, with Cannavaro stepping out smartly to catch Palacio in an offside position. The Argentine races towards goal, before he is halted by the referee's whistle.
GUARIN! PALACIO! The two stars look to combine, but Guarin's stabbed cross is too close to Pegolo, who races off his line to claim it from the ground! That was nearly a great pass from the Colombia international, but Inter will have to wait even longer for the second goal they so desperately want.
New Sassuolo coach Malesani begins to think of making changes himself, which may have possibly been a result of injuries. They've been second best, but certainly aren't out of this game yet, one counter-attack could earn them a valuable point. Ariaudo makes another important clearing header.
BIANCO! The defender rises highest at the back post, but can only divert the corner delivery well wide of the target. He's penalised, however, for climbing on his marker, so the goal wouldn't have stood anyhow.
HERNANES! Marrone whips in a cross to the near post, but Berardi can't rise high enough to meet it, before Inter break. Palacio races into the penalty area, before flicked a cross to the back post for Botta. The substitute miscontrols, leaving the delivery for Hernanes, who hammers an effort into the legs of Pegolo!
The home crowd are getting into good voice, partly in the defence of Ruben Botta, who receives a yellow card within minutes of coming on, for sheer petulance. There is definitely an air of stability about Inter tonight, they haven't been exploited in defence, and they have something of a confidence.
Yellow Card R. Botta
A stop start game is on our hands now, though the advantage is certainly with the hosts. They're looking sharp, with Guarin and Hernanes able to pick passes from deep. Mazzarri is the second manager to look to his bench, and Botta is warming up.
MILITO! Terrible finish by the Argentine, and he's glad to see that the linesman's flag was up! Great ball from Hernanes to find him, as the Brazilian cut open the visiting defence with one pass, but Milito could only turn his effort into the awaiting grasp of Pegolo.
JONATHAN! The wing-back makes up good ground down the right flank, to meet a ball which was punched out of the box by Pegolo. He skews it narrowly wide of the upright with his second touch, despite getting the power required to beat the Sassuolo goalkeeper. Half chance.
Sassuolo approach their opponent's penalty area with intent, before Marrone's attempted cross is cleared by Rolando. They worked the ball around nicely, with Floccari holding it up well, but couldn't piece together a cohesive attack.
Half an hour left on the clock, and Inter need a second goal to try and kill this game off as a contest. Sassuolo continue to look fairly dangerous when they do break, so Nerazzurri could find themselves level due to a minor lapse of concentration.
Bianco is forced to make an unorthodox clearance, turning a Guarin cross over his crossbar with his knee. The corner is whipped in dangerously, but Juan couldn't meet it at the back post! Momentum is wasted, as the Brazilian chased down the loose ball and plays it back in the direction of his own net.
Juan Jesus throws himself firmly into a challenge with Berardi, dispossessing the youngster, but the Sassuolo man looked to retaliate. He definitely caught the Brazilian defender in the head with a trailing boot, but it's hard to say whether it was intentional from the 19-year-old.
First yellow card of the game goes to Rosi, as the flow of the game begins to be slightly interrupted. Guarin tries his luck from 35 yards, but rockets his effort over the crossbar. If that had been on target, I think it would have blown Pegolo to pieces!
Yellow Card Aleandro Rosi
Good clearance from Ariaudo! The central defender scrambles a fierce near post cross, as Inter players queued up behind him! Two half chances in quick succession for the hosts, but both shots are charged down effectively.
Sassuolo are trying to get the ball from back to front quickly, but their service into their frontmen isn't wholly accurate. Berardi continues to be their only real threat.
Well, what a difference a goal can make. Sassuolo have to try and attack now, rather than trying to sit back and absorb pressure. Inter have been the better side throughout, and that goal is no more than Mazzari's side deserved. Handanovic is quick off his line to hoof away a dangerous through ball that both of the visiting forwards were in pursuit of.
Goal Walter Samuel
GOOOOOOAL! WALTER SAMUEL GIVES THE HOSTS THE LEAD! The Argentine thumps home a header from a Hernanes corner, in his returning appearance since November! They've finally grabbed the goal they've deserved! It's 1-0 to Inter!
Half chance for Milito, as the Inter striker's near post flick-on is deflected behind for the first corner of the second half. It comes to nothing, however, but Inter are straight back on the front foot.
We're back underway for the second half, with Inter needing to continue their good work in the opening period and to find a goal from doing so. Nerazzurri have dominated possession and chances in San Siro tonight, but the stalemate is yet to be broken by either respective outfit.
A point would be invaluable for the visitors tonight, as it would keep them in the race for survival, dragging them back level on points with Chievo. Given the Neroverdi's poor recent form, they need to scrap for whatever spoils they can tonight. Inter desperately need a breakthrough goal to inspire them to victory, to give Mazzarri his first win of 2014.
HALF TIME! Neither side can find the breakthrough goal, despite Inter having much of the first half. Hernanes and Palacio have had two good chances for the home side, but Milito has spurned the best opportunities, being denied twice in two minutes by Pegolo. Only the one chance for the visitors, as a Berardi free-kick was turned behind for a corner by an excellent Handanovic save. Goalless at the break.
45' + 2'
Important near post header from Cannavaro, as the visiting central defender nods away Guarin's cross, with several Nerazzurri shirts in the penalty area. A case of so close, but yet so far, as has been the recurring theme for the hosts.
45' + 1'
Samuel and Nagatomo combine to hoof away a dangerous Sassuolo cross, with Berardi lurking. The away side haven't had too much possession, but they look to break quickly when they do, as the lively Berardi looks dangerous when running at players.
We're almost at the half time break, and Inter just cannot break down this plucky Sassuolo defence! There are two minutes added on, and Mazzarri's side could do with scoring before they go back to their dressing room.
PALACIO! Another miss! A looping back post cross evades Pegolo, leaving the keeper in no man's land, but Palacio can't turn the ball home into an unguarded net on the turn! He perhaps rushed his shot a little.
BRILLIANT DOUBLE SAVE! Two chances for Milito, and he's denied by Pegolo twice again! Palacio streaks away down the right, before finding Milito on the penalty spot unmarked, but the visiting keeper stands tall to deny the Argentine striker once again, before springing back to his feet to palm away Milito's second effort!
HERNANES! The Inter midfielder nearly finds the back of the net with a header from outside the box! He gets plenty of power on the effort, but it's not enough to beat Pegolo, who jumps up to claim it. That would have had to have had the perfect trajectory to cause the Sassuolo keeper any problems.
MILITO! SAVED BY PEGOLO! Palacio works down the left hand side, bypassing his markers with a change of pace, before cutting the ball back from the byeline! It finds Milito, who looks to slot beyond the exposed Pegolo, but the Sassuolo keeper uses his legs to propel the Argentine's shot away from goal! What a chance!
FLOCCARI! The newly purchased striker is nearly found by an early cross from the right hand side by Berardi, but he can't quite stretch his neck enough to turn it home! Another impressive delivery from Berardi, the youngster continues to impress in Serie A.
The Sassuolo defensive line is getting deeper and deeper, with Inter beginning to dominate. Palacio manages to wriggle free of his man, and is played down the right hand channel, but the cross which he tries to stand up to the back post is claimed by Pegolo.
GUARIN! As expected, the Colombia international fancies himself from long distance, and fires well wide of the target from 30 yards. Not quite what Mazzarri would have wanted, but it'll certainly keep Pegolo on his toes.
Hernanes has been a vital cog in this Inter midfield so far, with his purchase looking to be justified. His range of passing is exemplary, and he hasn't been afraid to put himself around in the middle of the park either.
Palacio feels as though he's on the wrong side of two refereeing decisions in as many minutes, as he's penalised for being offside, before Rosi scraps with the former Genoa man, robbing him of possession. The home crowd certainly aren't impressed with the referee!
WHAT A SAVE! Hernanes concedes a free-kick, 25 yards out from goal, and Berardi is the man to take it. He wraps his foot around the effort, curling a powerful strike towards the near post, but Handanovic is at full stretch to tip it around the post! Alert goalkeeping from the Slovenian.
Around a quarter of an hour remaining in the first half, and Handanovic remains relatively untested in the Nerazzurri net. The hosts are managing to break with pace, and the auxiliary support of Jonathan and Nagatomo are causing problems on the overlap.
GUARIN! Inter break quickly, with Palacio doing well to shake off his man and spread the play wide to Nagatomo. The Japanese wing-back whips in a back post delivery, but Guarin's attempted half-volley is deflected behind for a corner. The set piece is taken, and a goalmouth scramble ensues, before Sassuolo wildly clear their lines. Rolando feels as though he was impeded by Bianco.
As we edge towards the half hour mark, Mazzarri won't be too disheartened by his side's start. They've created several half chances, with Hernanes being the player going closest, and they've limited the unpredictable away side to sporadic forays forward by Berardi.
Back to normality for Inter, as Jonathan presses down the right hand side, winning another corner for his side. They've attacked with intent, but just haven't quite found the cutting edge required to carve Sassuolo apart. The set piece is whipped in by Hernanes, but his delivery is cleared at the near post.
ARIAUDO! The defender rose excellently in the hosts' penalty area, but can't turn his header goalwards, with his effort arrowing narrowly over the crossbar. That was a golden chance for Sassuolo, he got the timing of his jump perfect.
Biondini doesn't look as though he can continue, as the midfielder looks to have potentially picked up some kind of muscle injury. Chibsah is warming up, and the young Ghanaian will be the man to replace him. Not a change that Malesani wanted to make.
Palacio and Nagatomo combine well down the left hand side, before Sassuolo half clear. Inter pick up the loose ball, before the ball is swept out to the right flank, but the cross from Jonathan fails to find anybody at the back post! It's been hectic for the hosts when they go forward, as Sassuolo are packing the edge of the box with bodies.
HERNANES! SO CLOSE FOR THE DEBUTANT! The Brazilian manages to pick up a loose ball, following a half-clearance from Cannavaro, but his effort from just outside the box flies agonisingly wide! It shaves the outside of the post, with Pegolo beaten!
Jonathan manages to beat Longhi down the right flank, before looping in a swirling cross, which Pegolo has to claim under his own crossbar. A few corners in quick succession for Inter, as Mazzarri's men exert most of the early pressure.
GUARIN! Pegolo is forced into the first save of the game, as the Sassuolo keeper has to get down smartly to his right hand side to ensure that the Colombian midfielder's effort doesn't creep inside the post! Inter are edging the early stages.
Half chance for Milito! The Argentine forward was found by a lofted free-kick delivery, but can't sort his feet out, and can only divert the ball away from goal. The pieces are picked up again by the hosts, and Nagatomo switches wide to Guarin, who plucks the ball out of the air with great control. His eventual cross is claimed well by Pegolo.
Palacio is brought down by the overzealous challenges of two men in white, as the visitors look to try and strangle the supply lines to Inter's Argentine strikers. Berardi is looking to be the main threat on the pitch, and Nerazzurri fans will be hoping that the 19-year-old won't be able to repeat the four goals he scored against Milan.
A sluggish start to proceedings, with both sides lacking the quality to feed their lively frontmen through on goal. Both offensive pairings look capable of linking up and finding the back of the net, but the midfield battle is rather flimsy and uninspiring, with no real support given to those ahead of them.
Ambitious ball from Biondini, as the Sassuolo midfielder looks to loop a lofted ball over the flat Inter back three, in search of the onrushing Berardi. It's over-weighted, however, and bounces through to Handanovic. Both keepers are yet to be tested.
OFFSIDE! Milito is fed the ball by a clever pass by Kuzmanovic, but the Argentine frontman is well behind the last man. He controls the delivery and looks to turn and shoot, before spotting the linesman's flag. That wasn't a difficult decision for the official.
Good ball in from Berardi! Jonathan is well positioned once again, as the Brazilian wing-back steps in to nod a dangerous cross away, with two white shirts lurking! The resulting corner is whipped in, but Juan Jesus clears the Nerazzurri's lines!
Floccari carves out a half chance for the away side, as the former Lazio player manages to burst to the byeline, before looking to pick out Berardi with a dinked cross. Jonathan makes an important header to prevent the 19-year-old from getting his head on the delivery.
Good defensive header from Cannavaro! The Sassuolo central defender makes an important intervention to nod a looping ball away from the advancing Milito, as Inter continue to look to get the ball into their strike partnership early on.
There's certainly a lot of weight and pressure on both Mazzarri and Hernanes' shoulders heading into this game, with the Brazilian almost being viewed as the potential solution to all of Inter's problems. The Nerazzurri boss is taking flak himself, and needs three points to try to cement himself in the San Siro hotseat.
The hosts are certainly looking to start on the front foot, with Milito and Palacio looking to link up with a nice one-two. The latter tries to flick a clever ball around the corner in search of his strike partner, but Ariaudo muscles the Argentine off the ball.
We're underway in the first half, as our referee Sebastiano Peruzzo gets proceedings started! The atmosphere isn't too intimidating in San Siro, but we can be sure of an interesting match-up. Some new transfers have been included in both camps, with Sassuolo being responsible for stealing points from the likes of Roma, Napoli, Lazio and Milan this season.
The two teams are taking to the field, and there's a sense of nerves ahead of this fixture, perhaps due to Inter's uncertain start to the calendar year. Sassuolo's previous 4-3 victory at the San Siro this season could be playing on the home crowd's minds, and they'll be hoping to grab an early goal to settle into proceedings.
Inter's midfield will be keen to prove themselves this evening, with a debutant and returning outcase coming into the side. Hernanes has shown at Lazio what he is capable of, but will be hoping that his move to Inter will propel him onto new heights, helping him nail down a spot in the Brazil national side for the World Cup in the summer. Guarin, openly distraught at the decision of the club to try and sell him on, will be wanting to show his doubters that he can aid Inter in their attempts to have a successful second half of the campaign.
Domenico Berardi is the man to watch for the away side, as the 19-year-old striker put four past Inter's rivals in this very stadium, contributing to Massimiliano Allegri's downfall in the Rossoneri hotseat. Sassuolo will just be keen to avoid defeat, as the Nerazzurri thrashed today's visitors 7-0 in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. Anything less will be an improvement for the underdogs.
Sassuolo substitutes: Polito, Pomini, Antei, Pucino, Gazzola, Ziegler, Chibsah, Missiroli, Sansone, Farias, Floro Flores, Zaza.
Sassuolo starting line-up: Pegolo; Bianco, Cannavaro, Ariaudo; Rosi, Brighi, Marrone, Biondini, Longhi; Floccari, Berardi.
Inter substitutes: Zanetti, Andreolli, Icardi, Kovacic, Castellazzi, Campagnaro, Mudingayi, Botta, Taider, Ranocchia, Carrizo, D'Ambrosio.
Inter starting line-up: Handanovic; Rolando, Samuel, Juan Jesus; Jonathan, Hernanes, Kuzmanovic, Guarin, Nagatomo; Palacio, Milito.
TEAM NEWS: New Sassuolo boss Alberto Malesani includes new signing Sergio Floccari in his starting line-up, with the Italian partnering Domenico Berardi in attack. Pedro Mendes is suspended for the away side, with Francesco Magnanelli, Francesco Acerbi, Maruis Alexe, Emanuele Terranova and Gaetano Masucci still sidelined, making an impressive list of absence for Neroverdi.
TEAM NEWS: January signing Hernanes gets his first start for Inter, following his €20m switch from Lazio last month. Fredy Guarin, linked with a move to England during the same transfer period is also slotted into midfield, with Walter Samuel coming into central defence in place of compatriot Hugo Campagnaro. Rodrigo Palacio and Diego Milito make up an entirely Argentine strike-force, with Ricky Alvarez missing through injury.
I'm Simon Harrison, and I will be keeping you up to date with proceedings, as Nerazzurri look for their first win since Christmas in all competitions. There's a rather reputable debutant for the home side, while the struggling visitors are fielding a side which is completely comprised of Italian players. A noble decision, but it's uncertain as to whether Malesani's men will have enough quality to see them surpass Inter, as they did to their stadium-sharing rivals Milan.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of tonight's late Serie A kick-off, as Inter host Sassuolo at San Siro. Both sides are in poor form, with the hosts failing to find a win during their last five matches. Sassuolo sit just inside the relegation zone, but could climb out of the danger zone with three points tonight. Walter Mazzarri will be looking for his players to kick-start their 2014, and has picked an offensive starting line-up as a result.
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