Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Inter scrape by Udinese for first win of season

SoccerNews in Serie A 11 Sep 2010


Champions Inter Milan went top of Serie A, for a couple of hours at least, after securing their first Serie A victory of the season with a 2-1 success at home to Udinese on Saturday.

Samuel Eto’o scored the winner after Antonio Floro Flores had cancelled out Lucio’s early opener.

But this was a struggle throughout for Rafael Benitez’s men who were lucky to remain on level terms at the start of the second period when Udinese had them under the cosh.

“Of course the important thing was to win,” said Benitez. “We had a very good start but then we lost control in midfield and they had some dangerous counters.

“Then after we went ahead, and we didn’t get the third goal, we didn’t play well at the end. We were a bit nervous.”

The Spaniard sprung to the defence of last season’s star Diego Milito, who once again fired a blank and was replaced late on.

“Milito is working very well, he’s got quality but he just needs time and he will improve little by little,” said the coach.

Inter now have four points from two games but can be overtaken by neighbours AC Milan later if they avoid defeat at Cesena.

Inter were off to a dream start as Lucio was left free at the back post to calmly take down a Wesley Sneijder corner and volley home on seven minutes.

But although the champions seemed in control, they created little and the visitors equalised on 31 minutes.

Alexis Sanchez took a short corner, got the return and then crossed for Floro Flores to arrive late and get above Lucio to power home a header from six yards.

That seemed to wake up the hosts who responded with a pair of chances within a minute.

Milito curled a shot towards the far post and Samir Handanovic plunged to his left to tip the ball around the upright one handed.

From the resulting corner, Walter Samuel headed just wide at the back post.

But after the break it was Udinese who looked the more dangerous as Sanchez cut in from the left and Julio Cesar had to dive to his right to hold the Chilean’s low shot.

Julio Cesar then had to burst from his area to hack clear from Antonio Di Natale while Lucio took the ball of Floro Flores’s foot as he was about to pull the trigger from Sanchez’s pull-back.

Up the other end Eto’o was perhaps harshly booked after going down in the box under pressure from Christian Zapata.

Inter could not handle Sanchez, though, and he ran through the home defence and teed up Floro Flores on the edge of the box on 56 minutes but the Naples-born forward lashed his effort wide.

Sneijder then set up McDonald Mariga 10 yards out but the Kenya international rushed the chance and prodded straight at Handanovic.

The winner came from the spot on 67 minutes after substitute Gabriele Angella needlessly handled a cross from Sneijder.

Handanovic saved Eto’o’s initial effort but the follow-up fell kindly to the Cameroonian who slotted home.

Angella almost made amends but headed wide while Milito also dragged a shot wide late on.

Eto’o almost got his second seven minutes from time but curled an effort against the post.


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