Inter Milan overcame a second-half deficit to see off Fiorentina 2-1 at the San Siro on Thursday—a result that takes the unbeaten Nerazzurri into a three-way tie for second place in Serie A with Napoli and Juventus.
A furious first half produced chances for both sides.
Barely a minute had ticked off the clock when Inter wing-back Yuto Nagatomo registered the game’s first shot on goal. Before the quarter-hour was out, both goalkeepers—Samir Handanovic for Inter and Neto for Fiorentina—were called upon to make important saves.
Handanovic! Used his legs to parry Joaquin in a one-on-one after he sprung the offside trap from a Rossi through ball! #InterFiorentina— footballitalia (@footballitalia) September 26, 2013
Viola winger Joaquin was especially dangerous in the opening period. With only seven minutes remaining before the halftime whistle, Ricky Alvarez’s slalom run through the Fiorentina box was stopped by Gonzalo Rodriguez’s last-ditch tackle.
The high point of Joaquin’s excellent performance came just shy of the hour mark when he was hauled down inside Inter’s 18-yard box by Juan Jesus as he tried to run on to Marcos Alonso’s accurate cross from the right.
And @GiuseppeRossi22 scores again! Top scorer of Serie A! Inter-Fiorentina 0-1— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) September 26, 2013
Referee Paolo Valeri didn’t hesistate in pointing to the spot, and Giuseppe Rossi—stuttering twice as he came in on Handanovic—made no mistake in his attempt.
Astonishingly, the New Jersey-born Italy international was withdrawn just nine minutes later, as Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella seemed intent on protecting the one-goal lead.
It was an approach that would cost him the three points.
Eleven minutes after the Rossi opener, Inter were level—Esteban Cambiasso’s athletic, albeit unusual, scissor-kick from a corner leaving the out-of-position Neto with no chance.
Nerazzurri manager Walter Mazzarri had by then introduced both Mauro Icardi and Mateo Kovacic, and the latter’s influence would be particularly noticeable as the match proceeded into its final quarter-hour.
In the 83rd minute, Inter got their winner.
Alvarez, who enjoyed a superb outing, spotted Jonathan on the right-hand side of the box and swerved an accurate cross in the direction of his teammate, who shook off his marker before powerfully stabbing the ball past Neto and into the back of the net.
Key Player Grades
Ricky Alvarez: A+
He didn’t find the back of the net on Thursday, but Alvarez’s fingerprints were all over Inter Milan’s come-from-behind victory over Fiorentina.
According to WhoScored.com, he touched the ball an impressive 65 times and completed 85 percent of his passes (many of them in high-risk areas upfield) and contributed five tackles. A truly all-around performance.
Esteban Cambiasso: A
The Inter captain was inspired on this night, lending a hand in defense when necessary and producing offense when necessary. He was easily Inter’s best defensive midfielder against Fiorentina and his goal in the 72nd minute was nothing short of spectacular.
The Argentina international seems to have been reborn since Mazzarri’s arrival at the San Siro.
Giuseppe Rossi: B+
Rossi scored from the spot to give Fiorentina the lead, but he would have surely preferred to have lasted more than 69 minutes on the pitch. La Viola looked different after his departure, and his replacement—Josip Ilicic—was involved in only a single scoring opportunity of note.
Both Joaquin and Matias Fernandez seemed much, much better with Rossi in the game.
Next up for undefeated Inter Milan is Cagliari on Sunday. On October 5, they’ll be back at the San Siro to host Serie A leaders AS Roma. They’ll return from the international break with a visit to Torino.
Fiorentina, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from this defeat when they host Parma on Monday. On October 3, they’ll be in Ukraine to face Dnipro in the Europa League and will fulfill an appointment at Lazio three days later.