Inter were frantic and devoid of a plan, while Genoa kept their cool to soak up aimless pressure and cruise to a 2-0 win.
Words: Marcello Cossali-Francis
Inter lacked creativity and clinical finishing, but Genoa were spirited and committed in defence, which essentially, saw them over the line. That and quite the strangest own goal you’ll see this season.
Inter were without key players Mauro Icardi, Ivan Perisic and Joao Miranda, who all could have made a big difference.
However, Inter’s main issue in the game was their defence, in particular the likes of Andrea Ranocchia and Joao Cancelo. The latter showed plenty going forward, but struggled with the threat of Genoa’s Diego Laxalt for large parts and never really looked confident.
Ranocchia also had his issues throughout the first half, looking prone to mistakes and was easily out-sprinted by 34-year-old Pandev all night. His calamitous own-goal could not really have been helped, but Luciano Spalletti will not have been impressed by his captain for the evening.
Inter did actually dominate possession for long periods, but could not create enough clear-cut chances and seemed frantic rather than focused. The plan appeared to be run in the general direction of the Genoa goal, but while usually there’s Icardi to finish off every half-chance and scuffed assist, it’s not the same with Eder or Yann Karamoh.
Antonio Candreva returned to the side and was shuffled over to the left in place of Perisic, a novel idea that at least made him slightly less predictable. Cutting inside to shoot with his right foot created a few opportunities and forced Mattia Perin into his only major save of the night.
Genoa’s back three of Luca Rossettini, Nicolas Spolli and Ervin Zukanovic were impressive, as they managed to thwart pretty much everything that Inter threw at them. It’s particularly remarkable considering the Grifone were missing Armando Izzo, their best defender, and Davide Biraschi. The wing-backs Aleandro Rosi and Diego Laxalt worked incredibly hard up and down the flanks and kept the likes of Candreva and Karamoh quiet, which affected Inter’s attacking game no end, forcing the visitors to over-complicate things as they went in search of the win.
The one plus from this game was when on-loan Barcelona midfielder Rafinha was brought on, pushing Borja Valero into his more traditional deeper midfield role. The Brazilian looked capable of providing key through balls to the attacking players and was dangerous in the final third of the pitch, but it simply wasn’t enough when Inter were already sapped of confidence and seemingly had no tactical plan to cling to in difficult moments.
It is said that if you fall into deep water, the worst thing you can do is flap your arms furiously. It’s important to take a moment, adjust to the temperature and then act calmly to stay afloat. Inter are drowning fast.