Serie A Week 19 - 22 Jan 2012 (19.45 UK)
Inter 2 - 1 Lazio
Rocchi 30 (L), Milito 44 (I), Pazzini 63 (I)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Diego Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini fought back from a Tommaso Rocchi opener as Inter fly past Lazio into fourth place.

The Nerazzurri were the form side in Serie A going into this round, particularly after beating Milan in the derby for a sixth consecutive victory. They were also buoyed by the fact Lazio’s last League win at San Siro was 5-3 in October 1998, although this season the Biancocelesti were beaten just once on their travels.

Thiago Motta was suspended, while Dejan Stankovic, Diego Forlan and Philippe Coutinho missed out, so Yuto Nagatomo was pushed up into wide midfield. Wesley Sneijder is still not 100 per cent fit, so started from the bench. Lazio had to do without Cristian Brocchi, Lorik Cana, Libor Kozak, Stephen Makinwa and Stefano Mauri, but Tommaso Rocchi and Andre Dias shook off injuries to start.

Giampaolo Pazzini was incorrectly flagged offside, while Ricky Alvarez smashed over after a poor Federico Marchetti clearance.

Lazio thought they’d gone in front after 14 minutes when Lucio horribly stumbled on the edge of his own area, allowing Rocchi to go clear, but the Brazilian got back so the deflected shot rolled slowly on to the upright of an open goal.

The Biancocelesti were more of an attacking threat and indeed took the lead on the half-hour mark. Cristian Ledesma rolled through for Rocchi, who immediately got round Lucio and flashed a precise angled drive into the bottom far corner across Julio Cesar.

Marchetti rushed off his line to smother at Nagatomo’s feet and Inter’s fightback seemed ineffective until the last minute of the first half.

Diego Milito burst into the box thanks to a quick one-two with Alvarez and drilled his finish across Marchetti from a tight angle. It was El Principe’s fifth goal in the last five games.

Both Coaches made changes at half-time, as Sneijder and Joel Obi came on to move Nagatomo back into defence, while Francelino Matuzalem replaced Hernanes due to a knock.

Pazzini’s header was easily held and a deflected Senad Lulic effort flashed across the face of goal.

Pazzini did turn the game around on 63 minutes, as a ball over the top was allowed through by the Lazio defence, so the Italian international immediately lobbed Marchetti with the outside of his boot. However, there are suspicions of offside.

Lazio should’ve equalised moments later, but when Rocchi combined with Klose to send the German clear down the middle, he fired straight at Julio Cesar from close range.

At the other end, Sneijder’s long shot was flapped out from under the bar by Marchetti, then the Dutchman’s free kick whistled just over. There was controversy on the Biancocelesti bench, as a misunderstanding meant Gonzalez was substituted rather than Luciano Zauri.

Djibril Cissè came on, but almost immediately scuffed a great opportunity from the penalty spot, set up for him by Rocchi. He hasn’t scored since the opening Serie A game in this very stadium against Milan.

The Biancocelesti had penalty appeals for a Lucio handling offence, but the whistle had already gone for Klose’s push on the big Brazilian defender. In stoppages Ledesma’s strike from distance flew over the bar.

Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Chivu (Obi 46); Nagatomo, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Alvarez (Sneijder 46); Pazzini, Milito (Faraoni 69)
Lazio: Marchetti; Zauri (Cissè 73), Biava, Dias, Radu; Lulic, Ledesma, Gonzalez (Konko 66); Hernanes (Matuzalem 46); Rocchi, Klose
Ref: Rizzoli