Sunday, 7 December 2008

Inter Have No Rivals...Beat Lazio 3-0 !

Lazio welcomed Inter for the most anticipated match of the 15th Serie A matchday hoping to build on their Coppa Italia victory over Milan in midweek, while Inter hoped to continue their five-match winning streak in Serie A.

Coach Jose Mourinho had left out Adriano, who had been sick with the flu, and Mario Balotelli, who had not given his all in training once again. Inter started with a 4-3-1-2 system with Dejan Stankovic behind Julio Cruz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, as did Lazio, who had Stefano Mauri up-front behind Goran Pandev and Mauro Zarate.

First Half

Inter started brightly and took the lead after just 90 seconds, as at a corner-kick, defender Walter Samuel headed the ball past Juan Pablo Carrizo from a cross by Sulley Muntari.

After this goal, the visitors played some nice possession football as the home side looked shell-shocked. However, after a while they started to push Inter back more and they were dangerous in the 9th minute, when defender Aleksandar Kolarov hit a shot from inside the area that hit the side-netting.

Inter looked like the more confident side but were happy to let Lazio come at them. In the 17th minute, there was another half-chance for the Biancocelesti, as Lorenzo De Silvestri dialled up a long-distance effort that deflected off Maxwell and went just inches wide of the post.

The Nerazzurri responded two minutes later, when Cruz found Ibrahimovic in the area with a wonderful pass, but the Swede tried an over-audacious volley that went high and wide.

In the 29th minute, Lazio had probably their biggest chance of the first half, as Pandev went past Maicon on the left wing and played the ball to Zarate, but Esteban Cambiasso did brilliantly to clear the ball away from his fellow Argentine, who was just a yard away from the goal-line.

Around the half-hour mark, both coaches were forced to make changes in their attacking line-up as both Cruz and Pandev had physical problems. They were replaced by Hernan Crespo and Tommaso Rocchi, respectively.

Just minutes after coming on, Crespo had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 to Inter, as Carrizo could only parry the ball towards him after a powerful long-range strike from Dejan Stankovic, but the veteran striker blasted the ball over the bar (35’).

In the 45th minute, Lazio had their last chance of the half with a nice run and shot by Pasquale Foggia, who cannoned the ball just wide of the post from outside the area.

The home side were terribly unlucky in the last move of the half, which saw Ibrahimovic play a clever quick free-kick to Maicon, who made a run on the right flank and played the ball to Crespo in the middle, but the ball came off the back-heel of Mobido Diakit√© and went in off the crossbar to make it 2-0 Inter. It’s the kind of goal which you will undoubtedly see again on a clip of the weirdest goals of all time, and a candidate for 'own goal of the season'.

Inter thus took a solid 2-0 lead into the break, which was perhaps a bit harsh on Lazio considering they had responded well after going behind.

Second Half

The second half continued pretty much where the first had left off, with Inter waiting for Lazio to come at them, but their defence looked impenetrable.

With the home side unable to create danger, it was Mourinho’s team who struck again in the 55th minute, when Ibrahimovic headed the ball home on a free-kick from midfield by Cambiasso.

This third goal prompted a furious reaction by the home side, and a minute later they had a decent shout for a penalty as Muntari seemed to push Foggia inside the area, but the former Cagliari playmaker fell a little too easily and the referee waved play on.

The ref angered the home side again a minute after that, as Kolarov took a free-kick and beat Julio Cesar, but the official had not blown his whistle yet and ordered the free-kick to be taken again. On his second attempt, the defender fired the ball straight into the wall.

Diakite almost put the ball past his own goalkeeper for the second time in the 63rd minute, again on a cross by Maicon, but this time it was only a corner-kick for Inter.

Zarate made himself dangerous for Lazio with a wonderful run past the whole Inter defence, but his final shot from inside the area was well saved by Julio Cesar in the 71st minute.

In the final part of the game, the Italian champions looked very comfortable as the home side failed to truly test their defence.

Crespo, who had a quiet game, as could be expected considering his awkward situation at the club, had a chance to show himself in the 83rd minute, as he danced past the Lazio defence but when he was about to shoot Kolarov checked back in time to make a vital sliding challenge.

Following a three-minute injury-time period, Inter could celebrate a well-deserved 3-0 victory in a traditionally difficult fixture for them following one of their best displays of the season. They are now nine points clear at the top of the Serie A table ahead of tomorrow’s matches.

LAZIO 0-3 INTER

GOALS: 2’ Samuel, 45’+3’ Diakite own goal, 55’ Ibrahimovic

Lazio (4-3-1-2): Carrizo; De Silvestri, Diakite, Rozenhal, Kolarov; Dabo (46’ Brocchi), Ledesma, Foggia (76’ Meghni); Mauri; Pandev (30’ Rocchi), Zarate. Coach: Rossi

Inter (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Cordoba, Samuel, Maxwell; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Muntari (77’ Figo); Stankovic (86’ Mancini); Ibrahimovic, Cruz (27’ Crespo). Coach: Mourinho.

REFEREE: Orsato

BOOKED: Diakite, Zarate, Brocchi (L); Stankovic, Julio Cesar (I)

Clinical Inter Hit Three Past Lazio

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