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Internazionale v Venezia Live Commentary, 22/01/2022

2 - 1
N. Barella (40)
E. Džeko (90)
T. Henry (19)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza


That's all from San Siro today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
Before Milan play Juventus on Sunday, Inter have opened up a five-point gap over their second city cousins, and can head into the international break confident of defending their title when the run-in begins. Venezia, meanwhile, will resume with a tough task against Napoli, and their fight for Serie A salvation could be set to go to the wire.
Though far from convincing, Inter ultimately got the job done in the manner that champions so often do, robbing Venezia of a remarkable result through Dzeko's dramatic winner. If anything, the visitors' opening goal came a little early, leaving the Lagunari too long to hold on for a point - particularly given depleted resources and an improvised lineup. Their misfortune is Inter's gain, however, and the Nerazzurri now roll on to next month's Derby della Madonnina with another three points in their pocket.
90' + 2' SAVE! Inter are flooding forward in search of a third, and only a delay by Vidal when clean through on goal allows Lezzerini to smother the ball at close range and prevent the Nerazzurri embellishing the scoreline.
D. Dumfries
90' Not on long as a substitute, Dumfries arcs in an accurate cross for Dzeko to head home what will surely be the winning goal.
E. Džeko
90' INTER GO IN FRONT! Finally, the Scudetto holders take the lead, as Dumfries surges down the right flank and curls in a high cross to the penalty spot, from where Dzeko holds off two challengers to plant his header into the back of the Venezia net. Surely that's the winner? Inter 2-1 Venezia!
88' Modolo concedes a corner, but Venezia ultimately clear the ball away to safety - for now!
86' Vecino combines with Dumfries on the right, but the former's cutback from near the right byline is inaccurate and draws jeers from the limited number of fans present at the Meazza. Time is running out for the champions to win this one.
84' All the changes have made the game a little disjointed over the past few minutes, and substitute Sanchez fluffs a chance to break into the penalty area with a heavy touch on the edge of the box.
M. Vecino
M. Brozović
82' Brozovic is protected ahead of the upcoming Milan Derby, as Vecino comes on for the final few minutes.
T. Henry
82' Goalscorer Henry is taken off and Nani comes on for his second Venezia appearance.
A. Sigurðsson
D. Okereke
82' Having looked lively on the counter-attack, Okereke is substituted for Sigurdsson.
S. de Vrij
Yellow Card
80' The card-happy referee now brandishes a yellow card at De Vrij for a foul on Henry.
M. Caldara
Yellow Card
79' Perisic surged towards the Venezia goal on the break, causing Caldara to bring the Croatian wide man down and take a booking.
78' Having snuck in behind Perisic, Ampadu's cutback from the right byline is blocked out and Inter break away down to the other end of the increasingly rutted San Siro pitch.
76' Peretz is given the benefit of the doubt after a tangle of feet with Brozovic deep inside the Venezia half, and the visitors take as much time as they can get away with before clearing their lines from the resulting free-kick.
74' With another mid-range effort, Calhanoglu sees his left-footed shot deflected and subsequently picked up by Lezzerini.
D. Dumfries
M. Darmian
73' Inter also switch things up at wing-back, as Dumfries replaces Darmian.
A. Sánchez
L. Martínez
73' Largely ineffective, Martinez makes way for Supercoppa hero Sanchez up front.
A. Vidal
N. Barella
72' Barella is withdrawn by Inzaghi, who will make a triple change in search of a winner. Vidal comes on.
69' SAVE! Dimarco drives in a low, left-footed free-kick at goal, requiring the overworked Lezzerini to fling himself low to his right and repel the ball, which was bound for the bottom corner.
S. Kiyine
Yellow Card
68' Barely seconds after his introduction, Kiyine is booked for a trip on Barella just on the edge of the Venezia area. As a result, Inter have a potentially dangerous free-kick.
D. Peretz
M. Cuisance
66' Cuisance is also making way in midfield, as Peretz comes on to offer some much needed engine-room energy.
S. Kiyine
T. Tessmann
66' Tessmann is being replaced, as Kiyine comes on for the visitors.
64' SAVE! Handanovic has to get down low at his near post, as Okereke finds some rare space on the left and thumps a powerful shot on target from 20 yards out.
61' SHARP STOP! Chesting down and prodding a close range shot at goal from the back post, Darmian is denied by a smothering Lezzerini save, and Venezia survive again. The screw is being turned at San Siro, but can the league leaders find that all important winner in the final half-hour?
59' They have certainly slung in several threatening crosses so far today, and Inter have scored the most headed goals in Serie A this season (13). Indeed, throughout the whole of last season, the Scudetto winners managed just 14.
57' CLOSE! From Calhanoglu's free-kick out on the right flank, De Vrij rises highest to head down to Lezzerini's feet - the goalkeeper then spills the ball and collides awkwardly with Dzeko as the Inter striker pokes the ball just over the crossbar from five yards out. So close to a second goal for the Nerazzurri!
55' Venezia are effectively holding a five-man defensive line at the moment, with two midfielders also lying deep - they are all set for a siege.
53' Both Dimarco, from a corner, and Barella load high crosses into the visitors' box, but the Venetians stand firm once again in their new-look defensive setup.
51' Calhanoglu finds Dzeko in the centre of the box, but the Bosnian striker's header is saved in a central position by Lezzerini.
49' Brozovic carelessly loses the ball to Fiordilino in midfield, and the Venezia substitute charges upfield and up to the edge of the Inter area. However, his attempt to create a goalscoring chance is blocked away to safety.
47' No team have scored fewer goals than Venezia in the second half of matches in Serie A this season - just 10 to date - so finding a winner will require the visitors to defy the odds again.
F. Dimarco
A. Bastoni
46' Having possibly picked up an injury, defensive mainstay Bastoni makes way for Dimarco.
46' We are back under way in Milan, and Inter have made a change in their back three.
No side has scored more Serie A goals in the last half-hour of matches this season than Inter's 18, so though Venezia are level at the interval, they are surely set to face a barrage before the final whistle is blown. If they can hold on for even a point, in the circumstances it would go down in Lagunari folklore as one of their great results.
Considering a sizeable chunk of their squad - and also their manager - remain at home in Veneto, the visitors can be proud of a hard fought first-half display, in which they took their best chance to score and seize a surprise lead. Though San Siro remains near empty due to current public health restrictions, Inter will have needed no telling from a furious fanbase that such a deficit is considered unacceptable, so Barella's equaliser eases the pressure and puts them back in control ahead of the second 45. Inzaghi, though, will want his men to move the ball quicker and there could well be some changes up front.
M. Modolo
Yellow Card
45' + 3' For a foul on Dzeko, Venezia captain Modolo is the latest man into the busy referee's notebook - he will have to be careful in the second half.
45' + 2' NO PENALTY! Following the VAR's instruction, the referee waves play on, and Inter's appeals for a spot-kick are summarily quashed.
45' Play is held up as the VAR pores over a possible handball - and therefore an Inter penalty - after Dzeko's flick-header is blocked in the box.
43' Both Dzeko and Darmian can't make the most of good positions in the Venezia area, and the deep-lying Lagunari survive again - there is not long now until the break, but can they hold on?
L. Lezzerini
Yellow Card
41' For his complaints about the Inter equaliser, Lezzerini is yellow-carded by the referee, who seems to be taking no nonsense today.
41' The VAR has examined the build-up to Inter's goal for a possible foul by Dzeko, but Barella's strike stands.
N. Barella
40' INTER LEVEL! The Nerazzurri's wing-backs combine, as Darmian's deep cross is met by a Perisic volley from the left side of the area, and Lezzerini's diving save can only divert the ball into Barella's path. The diminutive midfielder needs no second invitation to pounce and slams the equaliser home from close range. Approaching half-time, it is Inter 1-1 Venezia!
37' Skriniar enjoys a foray forward, given plenty of space to forge into, but his first attempt is blocked and the centre-back then commits a foul on Fiordilino.
35' SPECTACULAR! Having struggled to make an impact so far today, Martinez connects with Dzeko's ball back across the ball by flinging himself into an acrobatic bicycle kick. However, his improvised effort from just inside the area drifts over the crossbar.
33' As the pressure on their defensive third is ratched up another notch, resolute Venezia stand firm - Caldara denying Dzeko from clipping a ball into the box with a block on the right side of the area.
31' Trailing to Henry's shock opener, Inter's last home defeat in the league came against arch-rivals Milan in October 2020, and the champions are unbeaten in 27 home matches in Serie A.
29' Ampadu has a right wing free-kick headed comfortably clear by Skriniar in the centre of the area, and Inter break forward - Brozovic ending a quick move by firing straight at Lezzerini.
A. Bastoni
Yellow Card
26' Bastoni follows his international colleague Barella into the referee's notebook for unfairly contesting an aerial challenge with Henry.
N. Barella
Yellow Card
25' For a mistimed sliding challenge on debutant Ullmann just inside the Inter half, Barella is booked.
L. Fiordilino
A. Vacca
25' The injured Vacca makes way for Fiordilino in Venezia's three-man central midfield.
23' Calhanoglu tries another shot from distance, but his powerful 20-yard effort is straight at Lezzerini.
21' Appearing to have been struck down by a hamstring injury, Vacca hobbles off to the touchline in agony and will surely have to be replaced.
E. Ampadu
19' Featuring as a makeshift wing-back today, Ampadu picked out Henry inside the six yard box with an outswinging cross from the right flank.
T. Henry
19' VENEZIA LEAD! Against the run of play, Henry drifts in between Darmian and Skriniar at the back post to plant a firm header into the back of the Inter net! The French striker connects with Ampadu's arcing cross from the right to give the Arancioneroverdi a shock lead in Milan! Inter 0-1 Venezia.
16' Not on the touchline today, Venezia coach Paolo Zanetti - the youngest boss in Serie A this year - has seen his side win just two away matches since promotion back to the big time. Already, the odds look stacked against them today as he watches on from afar.
14' SAVE! Taking advantage of a rare chance to counter, Okereke makes the most of a Darmian slip to reach the edge of the area and strike at Inter's goal, but Handanovic gets down well to field the forward's attempt.
13' Pressing on relentlessly for an early breakthrough, Inter have had 73 per cent of the ball so far.
11' Ampadu intervenes with a flying header to turn a dangerous cross into the box behind for the first corner of the game, but Inter cannot make the most of the set-piece opportunity.
9' From an acute angle, Dzeko volleys a deep cross from the right flank back across goal, but Lezzerini deals with it at the second attempt.
8' It could be a long day for Venezia, as all 10 outfield players are camped inside their own half, with no real opportunity to break.
6' Another underwhelming effort from Calhanoglu sees the midfielder's free-kick crash straight into Venezia's disciplined defensive wall and away to safety.
5' Vacca blocks off the on-rushing Brozovic on the edge of the area, offering Inter a great chance to get a first shot on target from the resulting free-kick.
4' Slashing a little wildly at a bobbling ball prodded on by Barella, long-range specialist Calhanoglu puts his 20-yard effort well wide of the left post.
2' The hosts have started at a purposeful tempo, but have found their Venetian visitors sitting deep, as Lezzerini grasps the first cross into the area low down inside his six yard box.
1' We are under way at San Siro!
The players are making their way out on to the pitch at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, with kick-off now just moments away!
With as many as 15 COVID-19 cases in the Venezia camp, the visitors arrive in Milan depleted and featuring an unfamiliar starting side. In addition to those isolating, Tyronne Ebuehi is still on international duty with Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations. Nani remains on the bench for the Arancioneroverdi, after the Portuguese veteran provided an assist soon after arriving as a substitute on his debut last week. Meanwhile, Henry and Okereke start up front.
Given their hectic schedule since belatedly returning from Serie A's winter break, Inter are remarkably almost free of injury and illness, with Joaquin Correa the only man missing today due to a thigh injury sustained in midweek. Having made several changes for the Coppa Italia tie with Empoli, coach Simone Inzaghi reverts to his strongest XI, with Dzeko and Martinez reunited up front; captain Handanovic returns in goal.
SUBS: Niki Maenpaa, Filippo Neri, Morre Makadji, Cristian Molinaro, Luca Fiordilino, Filippo Mozzo, Damiano Pecile, Dor Peretz, Sofian Kiyine, Arnor Sigurdsson, Nani, Issa Bah.
VENEZIA (3-5-2): Luca Lezzerini; Pietro Ceccaroni, Mattia Caldara, Marco Modolo; Maximilian Ullmann, Michael Cuisance, Antonio Vacca, Tanner Tessmann, Ethan Ampadu; David Okereke, Thomas Henry.
SUBS: Ionut Radu, Alex Cordaz, Denzel Dumfries, Roberto Gagliardini, Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Matias Vecino, Aleksandr Kolarov, Stefano Sensi, Andrea Ranocchia, Federico Dimarco, Danilo D'Ambrosio.
INTER (3-5-2): Samir Handanovic; Milan Skriniar, Stefan De Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni; Matteo Darmian, Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ivan Perisic; Edin Dzeko, Lautaro Martinez.
Embroiled in a fight against demotion straight back to Serie B, Venezia salvaged their first point of the year against Empoli last time out, but have not won any of their last eight league games. Picking up only three points in the process, no Serie A side has collected fewer since the end of November, and such a streak sees them sit just two points above the relegation zone. A recent COVID-19 outbreak in the camp also means that the Lagunari are even more of a long shot to improve on November's 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.
Scudetto holders Inter saw their eight-match Serie A success streak ended by a goalless draw with Atalanta last weekend, but remain leaders of the Italian top flight, and they progressed to the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with an extra-time win in midweek. Two points ahead of their city rivals Milan in the table with a game still in hand, the Nerazzurri have kept a clean sheet in seven of their last eight league games - a spell in which they have conceded only once.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's Serie A encounter between Inter and Venezia at San Siro!