6 Things We Learned from Inter vs. Torino
A home tie against relative minnows looked like an ideal opportunity for Inter to bag three points and put their loss in the first round of the Coppa Italia quarter finals behind them, but Andrea Stramaccioni's team failed to capitalise, drawing their game with Torino 2-2.
Goals from Cristian Chivu, Esteban Cambiasso and a brace for former Inter player Riccardo Meggiorini made this a good one for the neutrals watching, but Inter fans won't be too happy following another frustrating performance from the Nerazzurri.
Here are some of the key points to come from the game.
Inter Missed a Golden Opportunity
After a fifth minute strike from veteran defender Cristian Chivu, it looked set to be a good night for Inter at the Giuseppe Meazza.
But a double from Riccardo Meggiorini—who was an Inter youth player before failing to break into the first team squad in Milan—meant that it turned into another night to forget for the Nerazzurri.
Speaking after the game, Andrea Stramaccioni was clearly disappointed by his team's failure to capitalise on a great opportunity to move up the Serie A standings, having seen Lazio lose and Juventus draw. Rivals Fiorentina also lost away to Catania, and Roma could only manage a draw in a six-goal thriller in Bologna.
"Perhaps a draw is the fairest result," said the Inter boss afterwards, "but we're still disappointed about it as we missed a chance to narrow the gap."
Now trailing leaders Juve by nine points and second-placed Napoli by six, Inter will be presented with few better chances to close the gap.
Torino Have Found Form at a Crucial Time in the Championship
Giampiero Ventura's men looked like they might struggle on their return to Serie A this season, but the well-travelled coach has shaped a respectable team on the claret red side of Turin and looks set to keep them in the top flight.
Il Granata are now nine points above the relegation zone and in the last few rounds have looked like a force to be reckoned with, beating Pescara, Siena and Chievo Verona—all rivals in the lower table battle.
At the beginning of January, they also drew away to Catania, which is not an easy thing to do—just ask Vincenzo Montella.
Riccardo Meggiorini Proved That He Can Do It at the Top Level
Thus far, Meggiorini's career is more interesting for the number of complicated co-ownership and player trade deals he's been a part of, but if the striker can perform like he did against Inter again, he's sure to have found a home in the Torino shirt.
In Milan his energy and movement were both excellent, and he showed a real eye for goal by pouncing on Inter's error for the first. Encouraging stuff for Torino fans.
Fredy Guarin Is No Replacement for 2010-Model Wesley Sneijder
Fredy Guarin's been impressive in the Inter shirt this season, using his driving runs and combative style to win games—and admirers—up and down the peninsula.
Against Torino, however, he had a nightmare and looked uncomfortable throughout. While his defensive contributions are normally welcome, it was his error that led to the visitors' first goal, and his lack of energy and vision left the Inter forward line isolated for much of the game.
Driving, physical players like Guarin can offer much, but when they're not playing well their creative deficiencies are glaringly visible. Technical playmakers like Sneijder might drift in and out of games, but their eye for a defence-splitting pass or an unlikely goal still make their presence on the pitch worthwhile.
Cristian Chivu Only Scores Important Goals
In six seasons at Inter you can still count Cristian Chivu's goals on one hand. But they tend to be crucial contributions from the classy defender.
Though he played a more attacking role on the left for both Ajax and Roma, it is Chivu's defensive displays for the Nerazzurri have always been key to their success. That said, he does occasionally pop up with a goal, and they tend to be memorable ones.
There's Still Plenty to Play for in Serie A This Season
Every time it looks like the Serie A table might be taking some sort of permanent shape, the league's major players go and blow it wide open again.
As the final game of the round, Inter went into their Sunday night match with Torino knowing that Juve, Lazio, Fiorentina and Roma had all stumbled—offering the Nerazzurri the chance to catch some and put daylight between themselves and the others. They failed to do that, and where they'll finish in the standings this season is still anyone's guess.
Relatively easy games—though no forgone conclusions, as Sunday night proved—against Siena and Chievo are next up, but then Stama's men face difficult ties away to Fiorentina, at home in the Milan derby and away at Catania. President Moratti will surely be hoping for a positive response.