Inter Vs. Torino: Mourinho's Men Let The Foot Off
In the lead up to this match you would have been very optimistic if you were expecting a Torino victory. After all the hosts had not won this fixture since way back in february 1994.
The game started well for the home side though as they traded blows with their more illustrious rivals. Patrick Viera and Alberto Canbiasso were strong early for the visitors and it was Viera who almost turned an interception into a goal after he broke forward when he made a sharp intervention.
The hosts turned around quickly after this though and were actually unlucky not to open the scoring after some fairly relaxed defending by the Milan side. Bianchi headed over after a decent cross from Samuel. Soon after this Rosina had a very good chance from a reasonable range that was turning in the air but ended up finishing well wide of Cesar's left hand upright.
Adriano started to come into the game for the visitors now and he broke free in the middle of the field only to be obstructed from behing by Paolo Zanetti who recieved a yellow card for his troubles.
Not long after this incident the games first goal was scored in a rather unfortunate twist for the home side.
With good lead up play from Inter the ball came to Adriano who put a nice pass wide to the unmarked Mancini who ran to the byline before hammering the ball at the goal. Unfortunately for Torino, Pisanu got a foot to it only to send it into the empty net, 1-0 Inter Milan.
Only two minutes later came the goal of the match from Inter's Brazilian defender Maicon, who hit a stunning strike from about 23 yards across the keeper in off the bar to the left hand upright. The commentators remarked on how it was reminiscent of another great goal by the Brazilian Josimar in the 1986 World Cup against Northern Ireland, 2-0 Inter Milan.
The hosts seemed absolutely flabbergasted by this turn of events after a promising opening and resembled a school of stunned mullet in the lead up to the break.
After the half Torino made a real go of trying to get into the match and did test the visitors defence a couple of times including a cross that deflected off Cambiasso's head and almost ended up in the back of the net had it not been for the vigilance of Julio Caesar in the Inter goal.
From the resulting corner a goal was scored but it was at the other end as the ball was cleared well by the Inter defence, it fell for Maicon who played it to Mancini who then looked up and played a beautiful ball across and forward to the sprinting Ibrahimovich who calmly controlled, took it into the box and put a good finish in with the outside of his right foot to the left hand side of the advancing keeper, 3-0 Inter Milan.
Inter Milan had the game firmly in control by now and were moving the ball about with ease. Viera, Javier Zanetti and Cambiasso were in total control in the middle of the park as the Milan side seemed to be strolling to victory.
Mourinho decided to bring off Mancini and Adriano and they were replaced by Quaresma and Barotelli.
The visitors were definitely guilty of taking the foot off of the oppositions throat after this as they slowly let the home side back into the match.
This was to come back and sting them as they lost their clean sheet to an Elvis Abbruscato goal who was assisted by a great ball from Austrian midfielder Jurgen Saumel in the 76th minute. 3-1 Inter Milan.
This goal actually sparked the closing stages of the match to life as Torino piled forward trying to get another goal to really bring themselves back into the match.
Julio Cesar was called into action in the 80th to save a fine effort from Bianchi as Torino strived for their second goal.
In the 86th minute Torino's earlier goalscorer, Abbruscato had a fine header pushed onto the post by the athletic Cesar.
The goalkeeper was in good form as he jumped up from this save and saved the follow up from Bianchi.
Interestingly though after this activity the game settled back into the pace it had developed earlier with Inter easily playing out the last few minutes with the ball firmly in their control.
The final score of 3-1 was very fair in terms of the match as Inter had thoroughly dominated the tie and were deserving winners. On another day the home side might have been a little more lucky and gotten the ball in the net another time but realistically they did not have much to match the powerful Milan side.
Mourinho will be happy with the three points but will also know that he has to work with his defence in order to make sure they do not go to sleep like they did late on in this match in more important fixtures in the coming weeks.
With the Milan derby next weekend and the Champions league coming up as well they will need to be on top of their game in all facets of play.
In truth they look very strong in terms of Europe as the team is playing well together across the field.
Adriano looks to be in excellent shape and his mind is functioning very well as he demonstrated in the match today with an assist for the first goal and some fine touches throughout. He also went close to scoring and his partnership with Ibrahimovich looks as though it will yield goals for both players.
Add Mancini and Quaresma to the mix up front and they look a very capable unit.
They are of course backed up by the excellent skills of Viera, Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti in the midfield who are very difficult players to try and win a midfield tussle with, as Torino found out today.
Viera was at his imperious best controlling the centre of the pitch and exacting revenge on those who tried to out muscle him.
The only real questions are in defence and these should be answered soon with Ivan Cordoba and Maxwell soon back from injury.
Mourinho will look forward to the coming weeks as he waits for an opponent who can truly test this very capable side. After his comments leading up to the weekend about him being the best coach there is, there will be many teams and managers after his scalp in the near future.
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