Inter were beaten 1-0 at home by Udinese after a dramatic game that saw two missed penalties and two red cards, including for Javier Zanetti!
The Nerazzurri have recently revived their fortunes, but welcomed the high-flying Friulani. Diego Forlan, Wesley Sneijder, Lucio, Douglas Maicon, Sulley Muntari and EmilianoVivianowere sidelined, so Under-21 international Marco Davide Faraoni got a surprise start in midfield. Udinese missed Almen Abdi, Maurizio Domizzi, Andrea Coda and Paulo Vitor Barreto. Their last win at San Siro was in 2004.
Pablo Armero was in a very promising position when he lost his footing just as he was pulling the trigger. Gabriel Torje tested Julio Cesar from the edge of the box, while Diego Milito blasted over.
Udinese focused on the counter-attack and Mauricio Isla fired wide with a terrible finish when sent down the right by an Antonio Di Natale dummy.
Milito turned a free kick over the bar and moments later Thiago Motta burst through the middle to fire into the arms of Samir Handanovic under pressure from Damiano Ferronetti.
Walter Samuel flung his body into the way of Torje’s shot from close range. Pazzini got on the end of a Faraoni cross from the right, but couldn’t quite steer it towards the goal.
There was a Mehdi Benatia handling offence in the box, but from point-blank range when Pazzini deflected the cross on to his arm, so a penalty would’ve been incredibly harsh. An acrobatic Ferronetti clearance stopped the ball reaching Pazzini, but Javier Zanetti’s follow-up was deflected wide. From the corner, Samuel’s header was comfortably plucked out of the air.
Thiago Motta also handled in the penalty area, but in this case was judged to be protecting his face.
Yuto Nagatomo replaced the disappointing Ricky Alvarez for the second half and took the same wide right position. Torje soared between the centre-backs for a well-taken header smothered by Julio Cesar on Pablo Armero’s cross.
Di Natale went on a mazy run to drill wide, then he spun round with a fierce half-volley that swerved, forcing Julio Cesar to parry with one hand and risked knocking it into the net.
Udinese started to pour on the pressure with their trademark rapid counter-attacks, while Mauro Zarate replaced Faraoni for a more enterprising Inter line-up. The Friulani horribly wasted with Isla, who sprung the offside trap to go clear on goal, but opted to pass to the offside Di Natale rather than shoot.
Thiago Motta’s free kick sailed over, but Isla made up for his earlier error by giving Udinese the lead at San Siro. It was another classic team move sparked by Di Natale, who spread the play for Floro Flores and in turn timed the assist perfectly for Isla to smash it right-footed across Julio Cesar from the right side of the box.
Inter tried to fight back, but left more gaps at the back and Zanetti had to intercept a dangerous cross for Di Natale.
With five minutes to go, the referee pointed to the spot as Armero snuck up behind Zanetti and the veteran Inter captain mistimed the tackle, resulting in only the second red card of his career (the other in the Coppa Italia in 1999). Di Natale stepped up, but Julio Cesar guessed the right angle to perform a great save.
Moments later, Inter also received a penalty! Milito burst into the box and was brought down by Ferronetti’s wild flying tackle. However, Pazzini couldn’t end his goal drought, as he slipped during the run-up and ballooned well over the bar!
Udinese also went down to 10 men, as Ferronetti took his protests too far and earned a second yellow card in this absolutely chaotic finale. In stoppages, Samuel knocked down a cross for Stankovic’s fierce half-volley over the bar.
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Sent off: Zanetti 85 (I), Ferronetti 90 (U)
Saved penalty: Di Natale 86 (U)
Missed penalty: Pazzini 89 (I)