Monday, June 17, 2024

Inter Milan 0-1 Fiorentina: Talking points as unbelievable Viola form continues

Veselin Trajkovic in Editorial, Serie A 2 Apr 2023

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Fiorentina are taking huge strides upwards in the Serie A at the moment. The latest victim of that magnificent run are Inter Milan, defeated at Guiseppe Meazza by a single goal, scored by Giacomo Bonaventura.

Having made 184 appearances for AC Milan before moving to Florenze in 2020, the 33-year-old midfielder will be extremely happy to have delivered such a blow to the city rivals of his former club.

The teams

Interestingly enough, Inter boss Simone Inzaghi left Lautaro Martinez on the bench at the start of the game, putting Joaquin Correa up to start alongside Romelu Lukaku in his preferred 3-5-2 setup. The rest of the lineup was pretty much expected, with goalkeeper Andre Onana starting at the backs of Alessandro Bastoni, Francesco Acerbi and Matteo Darmian in the back line, Marcelo Brozovic anchoring the midfield between Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Nicolo Barella, flanked by Denzel Dumfries and Robin Gosens as the wing-backs.

Vincenzo Italiano arranged his team in his standard 4-2-3-1, with Dodo and Christian Biraghi flanking the centre-back duo of Lucas Martinez Quarta and Igor, as Nikola Milenkovic dropped to the bench. Bonaventura and Rolando Mandragora paired up in the middle of the park, while the trio of Jonathan Ikone, Gaetano Castrovilli and Riccardo Saponara supported Arthur Cabral upfront. Like Lautaro for Inter, Fiorentina’s own World Cup star Sofyan Ambrabat started on the bench.

Chances wasted

Inter had more of the ball in their possession, finishing with 59% on that front, but the contest was pretty much open and chances came at both ends of the pitch. Castrovilli had a fine volley saved by Onana, and Saponare and Ikone made a mess of brilliant chance for Fiorentina as well, while Mkhitaryan and Lukaku wasted a great opportunity each for the home side, all in the first half.

After the break, Castrovilli tried his luck again and missed the far top corner by an inch or two, but the best chance of the game fell to Lukaku in the 49th minute.  Gosens combined with Correa before Bastoni pulled a low ball across the six yards, finding Lukaku quite alone in front of the gaping Fiorentina net – before the Belgian striker inexplicably scuffed his shot and failed to score.

Just four minutes later, Inter were punished for it as Cabral headed on target from a corner, prompting another fine save from Onana. Bonaventura was the quickest to react and did for Fiorentina what Lukaku couldn’t for his team – score from close range.

Poorly defended corner

That crucial corner in the 53rd minute was swung in towards the near post by Biraghi, and as Cabral rushed towards it, he was marked by Gosens – by no means his match in the air. Bastoni, Lukaku and Dumfries, all very strong in that department, were all close by and did practically nothing to help in stopping the Fiorentina striker.

There will always be talk about Inter conceding this goal after missing their own chances, but the truth is, Inzaghi will want to analyze this corner and ask the questions about Cabral being left to Gosens to deal with by his taller teammates.

The aftermath

There will still be little pressure on Fiorentina to finish inside the top six and qualify for Europe, but their amazing run of eight consecutive triumphs in all competitions will have opened the door a bit wider for hope to creep back in. Be that as it may, the Viola are still ninth in the Serie A table, with 40 points, the same tally as Bologna in eighth and four less than Juventus in seventh. AS Roma are currently six with 47, though with a game in hand as they face struggling Sampdoria on Sunday.

On the other hand, Inter won’t be happy with the way things are going at the moment. Lazio overtook them last week and having beaten Monza away on Sunday, they’ve increased the gap to five points. Inter are still third with 50, and only the fact that city rivals Milan play away to runaway leaders Napoli will have them hoping to end the round there.

The Nerazzurri have now gone four matches without winning, and Inzaghi will want to investigate the issues plaguing his team and set them right quickly; otherwise he might find himself under pressure to keep his job very soon.

Milan and Atalanta are both on 48, and the race for the top four spots remains very much alive for all of them, including Roma and Juventus.


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.



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