Inter 4–3 Siena: Late Samuel Strike Sinks Robur

The Italian champions snatched a precious victory at the death, after being pushed all the way by a gutsy display from bottom placed Siena…

An injury stricken Inter was looking to maintain its stronghold at the top of the Serie A standings as they welcomed bottom of the pile Siena to the San Siro.

The Robur started very defensively but took a surprise lead when Massimo Maccarone sunk a wonder strike past Julio Cesar midway through the first half. Diego Milito got the Beneamata back on level terms with an equally impressive finish and Inter took the lead on the half hour mark when Wesley Sneijder curled a free into the top corner from the edge of the box.

The sides went into the break on level terms however after Albin Ekdal restored parity for the visitors just two minutes after Inter had got their noses in front.

Siena re-established their lead shortly after the hour mark when Maccarone slotted home Reginaldo’s wonderful square pass to leave Inter with a mountain climb as the clock ticked down. The Nerazzurri levelled once again from a Sneijder free kick late on and Walter Samuel brought the roof down as he slotted home deep into stoppages to gift Inter an undeserved three points.

The game started slowly and the visitors set up two banks of four at the back in a bid to restrict the Nerazzurri from any early goal scoring opportunities.

The first real chance fell to Sneijder when Douglas Maicon planted a wonderful cross into the path of the Dutchman on six minutes. The creative midfielder took a poor touch as he looked to strike however, and was unable to test Gianluca Curci in the Siena goal.

Just three minutes later however the Robur keeper was called into action when Goran Pandev cut inside the box and planted a wonderful strike towards the far post. With the ball headed for the inside netting, the former Roma glovesman got down in lightning quick time and palmed the danger wide of the post.

Inter continued to dominate the possession but were finding it increasingly hard to break into the final third with Siena well organised at the back.

On 18 minutes the Robur took a shock lead when Maccarone picked up the ball on halfway, then dribbled 15 yards, before planting a rocket into the top corner from outside the box. There was little Julio Cesar could do between the sticks and the Inter ‘keeper was well beaten by the perfectly placed drive.

It took the Nerazzurri just five minutes to get back on level terms however and they did so in spectacular fashion when Milito buried a strike in the bottom corner. After having controlled Sneijder’s audacious cross field pass, ‘El Principe’ cut into the box and picked out the inside netting with a sniper’s precision leaving Curci no chance as he slide across the deck.

The game started to open with parity restored, and the visitors started to make far better use of the wide areas as they looked to push forward in a more positive approach to the previous half hour.

On 35 minutes the Nerazzurri got their noses in front when Sneijder whipped a free kick over the wall and into the top corner. The Dutchman then celebrated with a fitting tribute to Cristian Chivu who was hospitalised during the victory over Chievo during the week.

The visitors weren’t perturbed after going a goal behind however and within less than 120 seconds Alberto Malesani’s men found an equaliser. Ekdal found himself open following Maccarone clever through pass, and the Swede wasted nothing as he slotted home within the six-yard box.

'El Principe' picked his spot with deadly precision

After the re-start Inter started to through more weight forward in a bid to take a real hold on the game. Mourinho introduced Marko Arnautovic and the Nerazzurri looked very top heavy with four attack minded players permanently camped in the opposition’s half.

Siena didn’t shy away however, and Malesani’s side matched the Italian champion’s man for man as their disciplined approach continued to gift them chances in front of goal.

On 62 minutes Simone Vergassola could have put the visitors in front once more when he looped a shot towards goal with Julio Cesar off his line. Unfortunately midfielder’s shot lacked precision as it flew over the bar.

Just minutes later however Siena found the target once again when Maccarone slipped home Reginaldo’s square ball to send the San Siro faithful into momentary shock. The visitors had been knocking on the door, and they fully deserved their lead for their precision in front of goal.

The Nerazzurri looked shell-shocked after going behind for a second time, and Mourinho was becoming increasingly more agitated on the touchline as his men failed to construct a fluid path towards to opposition’s goal.

With the clock ticking down Siena started to dig deep and they pulled men back in numbers as they looked to protect a historic result over the Nerazzurri.

Just two minutes from time Inter pulled another pearl out of the bag when Sneijder again found the net from a long range free kick, to dash Bianconeri hearts and send the home wild in the stands.

Deep into stoppage time the Nerazzurri found a winner when Samuel slotted home expertly inside the box to set Inter up for a precious victory. With only 60 seconds left on the clock there was no way back for Siena and the Beneamata kept her hold on the top of the standings.

Stefano Federici,