It was the first Serie A match of the year, and it was Inter who hosted Sassuolo. This was done in front of a crowd of only 11,000 people, mainly students and teachers. It was the last home match which would be played behind ‘closed doors’. It was a repeat of Inter’s first match of the season, where they went down 1-0 away. This was the match that would prove if Inter has progressed as a team over the season since game one.
Simple answer ‘not really’ and this was proven to us through a scoreless 0-0 draw. Inter have struggled against Sassuolo, losing 5 of their last 6 matches against them. The struggle would continue as neither team could get that breakthrough goal. In the end both teams walked away with a point, with Inter learning a very valuable lesson. One that will hopefully be repeated throughout the locker room ‘pick up your game, no one here is irreplaceable.’
From a neutral perspective the game was bland and lacked the overall confidence from both teams. Sassuolo began strong controlling the ball in the middle of the pitch, and Locatelli almost put the visitors up 1-0 in no time. Inter also had some very big chances to open the scoring. The first was in the form of a fantastic set piece. The corner was played short and Politano crossed the ball into the box where Vecino headed it too high. Politano also had a big chance that went begging when he directed the shot straight at the keeper.
The second half was the same as the first, where both teams showed great potential in getting the advantage, but no one could break the deadlock. Handanovic proved to be crucial on the day, stopping many shots. His performance is what kept Inter on level terms. It is a true reflection of the great season that he is having. Currently leading the league with 11 clean sheets, we can credit him for keeping the match level.
The midfield looked extremely lost throughout both teams, with possession being lost throughout the match. No team looked dominant on the night, and overall a draw was the worthy result.
So the question can be asked, what can Inter take away from this match? There are some positives in a negative filled match. The clean sheet, this will ensure that Inter still maintains the record for the most effective defence in the league. The fact that some players got a run on the field ensures that Inter can effectively rotate the squad. We do not want to sugar-coat this result because at the end of the day Inter should have walked away with maximum points. On paper they were the far more dominant team:
- Sassuolo lost their previous 3 matches; Inter had won their previous 3.
- Sassuolo had conceded 11 goals in those 3 matches, compared to Inters 2
- Sassuolo had scored only 3 goals in those matches, compared to Inter’s 8
- Inter had their full squad at their disposal (other than Keita Balde)
Further this, criticism of the match day squad selection. Vrsaljko should of commenced the match in lieu of D’Ambrosio. Further this substitutions made throughout the match can be extremely debateable. Looking back Martinez should have come on the pitch much earlier, in place of Politano. This would have been the best move especially considering he thrives at home, scoring all of his goals there.
Ultimately the result that Inter achieved is better than that of the reverse fixture, where Inter lost 1-0. 1 point in this tightly fought contest is better than no points, but Inter should have done better. It can also be put down to the break getting the best of the players, and now they put their best foot forward. Inter’s next match will take place in Turin, where Inter will face Torino.
Repeat fixture result: 1-0 Sassuolo
Points benefit: +1 point