Genoa vs. Inter Milan: 6 Things We Learned
Inter's winless run continued against Genoa, who beat the visiting Nerazzurri thanks to a late header from Luca Antonelli.
The defender scored the game's only goal after 83 minutes, having seen his side kept in the game by some great goalkeeping and some wayward shooting from the Inter forwards.
Rising to meet a well-organised corner, Antonelli ended Genoa's luckless stretch of 16 games against Inter without a win. It was a tenacious and well-drilled effort from the hosts, who are 10th in the league, now just six points behind Inter.
Walter Mazzarri's men had several good chances but couldn't find the back of the net and have now drawn once and lost three times in 2014.
So what did we learn?
It's Official: Inter Are in Crisis
Mazzarri's has always been a long-term project, but after Genoa heaped more misery on the Nerazzurri, there's no denying that Inter are now in serious trouble.
They're without a win since the derby back in December and now look a very long way from the Champions League next season. Fiorentina continue to climb the table despite missing their two best forwards, and now look like the only side who can realistically challenge Napoli for third.
Worse still, Inter should also be worried about their chances of getting into the Europa League, because while few expect Hellas Verona to hold on to fifth, a resurgent Milan or a revitalised Lazio could catch Inter very quickly. They're 10 points ahead of their local rivals and just five ahead of the Aquile. They need wins—ASAP.
Gian Piero Gasperini Will Relish the Win over His Former Employer
Now back on the Genoa bench, Gian Piero Gasperini took the opportunity of the post-match press conference to pour salt in the wounds of Inter, who sacked him unceremoniously after just five games.
Gasperini made six changes to the team that Roma had hammered 4-0 in the previous round, and in the process managed to engineer his first ever win over Inter.
Speaking to the Italian media, Gasperini expressed little shock at Mazzarri's current predicament, saying that in the last 25 years only Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho had actually been successful at Inter.
As reported by the Gazzetta dello Sport (here in Italian), Gasperini said:
We deserved the result. We stood up to Inter and had several important chances. To beat a team like this, everything has to go smoothly.
I was only at Inter for a short time, but I've maintained a relationship of great esteem and respect for the players. As for the venomous words I've suffered at the club, I've never repeated. But I respect the players.
I've just answered a question about the difficulties facing the coach at Inter I'll repeat, over the past 25 years, only Mancini and then the great team of Mourinho have actually managed to do well. I don't mean that as an insult, it's history. Great players and mediocre players, great coaches and mediocre coaches, they haven't succeeded.
It Won't Be Long Before Bigger Clubs Show an Interest in Mattia Perin
Even last season, while Pescara were leaking goals at almost every opportunity, Mattia Perin looked like a goalkeeper with a bright future. The year-long loan at the Stadio Adriatico was a baptism of fire for the young Italian, and though the Delfini were relegated, their keeper came away from the experience with his reputation as one of Italy's brightest young talents wholly intact.
This season he's returned to his parent-club, Genoa, and continues to show enormous potential. The 21-year-old from just south of Rome is now first-choice for the Grifone and has started every game—keeping seven clean sheets in the process.
Perin was imperious against Inter, giving the kind of performance that gets noticed at home and abroad. He was the best player on the pitch at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, and his brilliant saves and lightning-quick reflexes kept his side in the tie.
It won't be long before days like this—or, indeed, the one he had in November against Inter's local rivals AC Milan—earn him a move to one of Europe's biggest clubs.
Not All Referee Mistakes Go Against Inter
The problem with managers blaming losses on refereeing decisions—even when they have a reason to—is that sooner or later it will be used against them.
Inter have suffered more than their fair share of injustices this term, but human error will always play a part in football, and sooner or later, these things balance out.
Juan Jesus was effective against Genoa, but he was very lucky not to be given a second yellow for his extremely rash tackle on Moussa Konate—who suffered the double indignation of being booked for diving.
Bertolacci Can Become a Top-Class Player
Roma's squad is currently so good that young Andrea Bertolacci might find it difficult to get a game should his boyhood club buy out Genoa's 50 percent share in the player, but there are plenty of other teams out there who could use a player of his calibre.
The 23-year-old had another solid game against Inter, testing Samir Handanovic with several opportunistic shots on goal. Comfortable in the centre or farther forward, Bertolacci still has to develop as a player—he can be caught in possession and if he's to settle in attack, he'll need to improve his finishing—but the potential is clear.
Nine games so far this season for Genoa have proven that he's capable of playing in Serie A, and a confident performance against Inter proves that he's not afraid of big opposition. Watch this space.
If Inter Sell Fredy Guarin, They'll Need a Better Replacement Than Kuzmanovic
Zdravko Kuzmanovic was extremely poor against Genoa, and it was little surprise when he was subbed off for Fredy Guarin after an hour of anonymity.
The 26-year-old Serbian has done little in an Inter shirt to suggest that he's capable of shining at this level, and with continued speculation over the future of Guarin, Mazzarri desperately needs a midfielder that he can rely on.