Inter vs. Udinese: 5 Things We Learned
The San Siro crowd booed their own team at the start of the second half. They had seen all of this before. Inter had the majority of the ball against Udinese, but they couldn’t get a shot on net.
Coach Walter Mazzarri kept burying his head in his hands. He went on one knee. He crushed a water bottle with his teeth. He was dying inside.
Inter lost to a late goal from Atalanta at the weekend in a game they dominated, and there was a sense that the same would happen this evening. They appealed for a penalty, but like the rest of the season, they never got one.
Inter could not get a cross or pass right; Udinese kept their shape. They were playing for the break, hoping to catch Inter. Even when the Nerazzurri turned up the tempo, Udinese, with their wonderful 17-year-old goalkeeper Simone Scuffet, dealt with the threat. They cleared the ball from the line as Inter surged forward.
The game ended scoreless, but the result is really harmless. Inter remain in fifth during a season of great transition, while Udinese picked up a point and look safe for another season in Serie A.
Here are the main points from the match.
Fredy Guarin Disappoints
He just signed a contract extension, but he didn’t have much to celebrate on Thursday.
Guarin left the pitch after 53 minutes. On it, he shot way off-target and couldn’t put together the key pass. The ball always rolled away from the goal.
He can be one of Inter’s best players, but he is still inconsistent. Guarin did not look like a man with confidence and didn’t really respond when the fans whistled at him.
It was no coincidence that Ricky Alvarez, the man who replaced Guarin, came on and added the pace that the 27-year-old Colombian could not. Sometimes he is far too static in midfield.
Inter Need a Game-Breaker
Again, Walter Mazzarri did not start Mateo Kovacic, and it is obvious that he doesn’t see the young Croatian as a viable option in attack.
But Inter need a game-breaker, someone who can play that incisive pass.
Kovacic has made the majority of his appearances for Inter as a substitute. He didn’t get a minute on Thursday. So many of Inter’s players shot from distance, and if any one player can do that, it’s Kovacic.
Hernanes slowly grew into the game, but even the Brazilian wasn’t so sharp. Only Ricky Alvarez added what Inter lacked: a sense of danger, a consistent threat from multiple areas. Inter started to play with momentum when the Argentinian stepped onto the field.
Erick Thohir a Bigger Presence
When he first took charge of Inter, Erick Thohir was not very present. He came for the first game, and then he went back to Indonesia. Over the past couple of months, Thohir has taken the seat beside honorary president Massimo Moratti. He didn’t look too impressed for this game.
Inter could add Fernando Torres or Edin Dzeko next season, club director Piero Aurelio told Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia), and Thohir is talking more and more about his new team. Maybe he does care.
Udinese Pick Up Rare Point on Road
Give credit to Udinese: They had lost 10 of their 15 matches away from home in Serie A before the match at Inter on Thursday. But they kept a clean sheet, and Thomas Heurtaux and Danilo did not give Inter much space inside the box.
For the first part of the game, Udinese just sat back and let Inter make their own mistakes. But in the second half, the game changed, and Inter went on the attack.
Several times the crowd roared as Inter leapt forward, but it all came to nothing. Scuffet dove to save shots, and Udinese blocked five shots, according to WhoScored.com. But Inter had 20 shots of their own, and only three hit the target. It was a sour evening.
Inter Wasteful and Indecisive at Home
The progress just isn’t there anymore. Inter enjoyed 65 percent of the ball per WhoScored, but they only really threatened Udinese once or twice.
Mazzarri looked like a wreck. At one point it looked like he was hiding in the dugout, looking just over the lip.
And the goals aren’t there, either. Mauro Icardi scored at the weekend against Atalanta, but for most of this game he was invisible. He had absolutely no presence beside Rodrigo Palacio, who carries too much of the burden in attack.
As a team, Inter have only scored six goals in their past nine home games.