The Argentine, on his sixth goal in the first seven games of 2003, decisive with the captain’s armband, but Inzaghi’s men don’t finish the match and suffer until the end
January 28 – Cremona
Three points against a small one: it would be little, but it is a lot in this 2023 that Inter have lived on a roller coaster so far. Against a willing Cremonese, however, Inzaghi’s team allowed themselves the usual unsolicited thrill: they went under with a masterpiece by Okereke and then had to go back upstream. He succeeded thanks to an encore from Lautaro, the Nerazzurri’s total driver at this stage of the season. Having regained victory after the home disaster with Empoli puts Simone in a good mood, now forced to make the race on who is behind him, but the Bull cannot always be there to gore the rival on duty and avoid trouble .
At the start Inter had to fill two holes, albeit rather large ones: that of Skriniar, the centre-back with his mind in Paris sent off with Empoli, and that of Barella, also disqualified. Thus the handyman Darmian, now on the verge of renewing, moves to the defensive line for an evening, while in the middle the choice of Inzaghi is certainly not in the name of quality: the more physical Gagliardini takes the place of the more technical Asllani. For the rest, the attacking duo that brought the Super Cup to Appiano returns, Lautaro (captain for one evening) plus Dzeko, while on the right we see Dumfries again after a lifetime: the Dutchman in 2023 was his own stand-in and the match in Cremona confirms that form is far away. Ballardini, the man called salvation, instead continues in his extreme mission, presenting a 3-5-2 with narrow lines: Sernicola on the right and Valeri on the left guard the flanks, helped in the center by Meite, Benassi and Castagnetti, while forward Okereke’s exuberance is the exact opposite of Ciofani’s static nature. The first few minutes are a Nerazzurri monologue: they only play in the Cremonese half of the pitch so much so that, when just eight minutes have passed, the Nerazzurri have already taken six corners. In addition Dumfries has the field to run and another opportunity immediately happens on Gagliardini’s too shy foot: they would seem to be signs of a one-way race and, instead, the surprise is just around the corner. It’s a classic at Inter.
BOTTLE AND ANSWER
Thus, the first time in which the Cremonese ferries the ball almost by chance to the trocar, Okereke pulls a shot from the drawer that dies at the intersection. An impromptu and magnificent invention, something very similar to the goal of the flag that the Nigerian scored in the San Siro in the first leg, but this time it is worth more because it gives the home team a totally unexpected advantage. Not that this goal changes the plot of the match, however, given that Inter’s occupation of the pitch continues immediately: more breakthroughs on the flanks, more Bastoni who continuously carries the ball in front and, above all, more corner kicks. On corners Ballardini’s men pay several centimeters less and score a bit too cheerful. It is no coincidence that, from this rain, the Nerazzurri equalizer also falls: Carnesecchi deviates on a turn by Dzeko from a right angle on Lautaro’s feet who also celebrates the armband he is wearing. With the goal found, the Nerazzurri decrease the intensity a bit and the match becomes slightly more balanced: Dzeko would also have another opportunity to strike, but Cremo too begins to appear in Onana’s side, with an attempted heel by Benassi and a tour of Ciofani. That wasn’t enough, Inter are even forced to spend a couple of yellow cards to prevent the Grigiorossi from fleeing towards goal: once the yellow card foul is done by Acerbi burned by Okereke and another by Calha on Castagnetti. At the end of the first half, however, another double opportunity arrives for the Nerazzurri: spectacular winger from Dimarco rejected by Carnesecchi who then even surpasses himself on Lautaro’s new rebuttal.
In the second half, the match opened up a little more also because Inter, who advanced looking for the advantage, left grasslands in the restart: Ciofani, however, is not exactly a sprinter with his 37 years clearly visible on his shoulders. Often it is Simone’s centre-backs, not only the inspired Bastoni but also Acerbi, who look for a hole in Ballardini’s defense and Carnesecchi is forced to get his gloves dirty more than in the first half as the intensity of the Inter dangers grows. Just when Cremonese tries to raise the center of gravity with two offensive changes from the bench (outside Ciofani and Castagnetti inside Dessers and Afena-Gyan), here comes the Inter advantage. And whose, if not the fittest in this new year? Lautaro continues his special feeling with the goal and scores the brace of the day with a right-footed shot from the area of prey, even if the most refined thing is in Dzeko’s assist, for a more effective evening in finishing than in the goal area. After the 2-1 Simone removes the booked Calha and Dimarco and gives the direction to Asllani and the left wing to Gosens. Then, when there is a quarter of an hour left, Lukaku also returns to the field, who entered together with Correa. The Belgian desperately needs minutes, the comeback of Inter passes a lot from him.
January 28, 2023 (change January 28, 2023 | 20:10)
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