Friday, August 19, 2022

Torino 1-1 Inter: Last-gasp Sanchez snatches draw but Nerazzurri suffer new Scudetto stutter

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Mar 2022

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Alexis Sanchez hit a stoppage-time leveller to earn Inter a point, but Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Torino still went down as a major blow to the Nerazzurri’s Scudetto defence hopes.

Chile international Sanchez came off the bench and struck in the third added minute, after Gleison Bremer’s first-half finish looked to have done enough for the hosts at Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

On the back of their midweek Champions League exit to Liverpool, Simone Inzaghi’s Inter missed the chance to put telling pressure on Serie A leaders Milan, trimming the difference between the city rivals to just four points after labouring against mid-table opposition.

Ivan Juric’s Torino could not quite snap a six-game winless streak, but their hard-earned point at the very least likely ends any remote chance of a relegation battle in Turin this season.

It was Torino who opened the game up inside the first quarter-hour when Bremer stuck a leg out to turn Tommaso Pobega’s touch from a corner home at the right post in a crowded box.

Lautaro Martinez almost delivered a reply four minutes later with a powerful header, only for Etrit Berisha to put his quick reflexes into action for a superb save.

Inter were fortunate to subsequently avoid a penalty call via VAR after Andrea Belotti appeared to be hacked down by Andrea Ranocchia and they headed into the interval on the back foot.

Torino continued to frustrate them after the break too, frequently showcasing greater threat on and off the ball than the Nerazzurri suggested they themselves were capable of for long stretches.

Samir Handanovic was forced to ride to the rescue just beyond the hour mark with an acrobatic stop to keep out Armando Izzo’s header, while Inter’s increasing desperation for an equaliser produced a particularly open final quarter.

That ultimately looked to be all in vain for the visitors, until deep into stoppage time when Sanchez rose to the occasion. He swept home a breakaway finish off the left post despite Berisha’s attempts to deflect it wide with a final lunge.

What does it mean? Inzaghi feels the heat once more

A slow start to 2022 that had seen Inter drift away from the top of Serie A and into the thick of a tightly contested title battle had seen their coach come in for criticism from certain quarters. A 5-0 drubbing of Salernitana and a valiant 1-0 victory at Anfield, even if in aggregate defeat, did look to have eased the burden.

If not for Sanchez’s late intervention, though, the former Lazio boss could well have been back under the microscope. As it is, a point is much better than no reward at all. Inzaghi could still face a trying few days after this latest result – Inter’s fourth away league draw in a row.

Sanchez repays late faith to nab point

The Chile international didn’t look like he was going to set the game alight upon his introduction and, not for the first time this season, that gave the impression that Inter are missing Romelu Lukaku more than they let on.

Sanchez made eight passes in just under half an hour of action, and only five successful ones – but his lone shot was all that was needed to get the goal his side craved.

Bremer continues remarkable yield

For a central defender, the Torino man has a way of getting himself on the scoresheet when push comes to shove.

Since the start of the 2019-20 Serie A season, he has scored 11 goals in the top flight. more than any other player in his position.

Key Opta facts

– Inter have drawn four consecutive Serie A away games for the first time since December 2004 (6 in that case, under Roberto Mancini).
– Sanchez has been involved in seven Serie A goals against Torino (2 goals, 5 assists), his joint-most against a single opponent in the competition.
– Torino are winless in seven successive league games under a single head coach for the first time since December 2020 under Marco Giampaolo, when they failed to win in eight.
– Edin Dzeko, who turns 36 on Thursday, laid on the chance for Sanchez’s equaliser and is now the oldest player to have delivered five or more Serie A assists this season. The only older player to have achieved five or more assists in the big five European leagues this season has been Real Madrid’s Luka Modric, who has already passed his 36th birthday.
– Bremer has scored 11 goals in Serie A since the start of the 2019-20 season, more than any other central defender in the top Italian league over this period.
– Torino have scored in 11 consecutive home games in a single Serie A season for their first time since May 2019.
– Pobega, 22, is the youngest Italian midfielder to have scored three or more goals and had three or more assists in Serie A this season. He has four goals and three assists.

What comes next?

Torino make the trip to face Genoa on Friday, while Inter return to San Siro to host Fiorentina on Saturday, in what will be their last games before the March international break.

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