Inter (4): 64′ Alexis Sanchez 67′ 84’P Lukaku 90′ Lautaro Martinez
Torino (2): 45+1′ Zaza 62’P Ansaldi
Inter grabbed their first win in five games after defeating Torino in a 6-goal thriller at the San Siro with a score of 4-2. The team had to come back from two goals down at home for the second game in a row. In the first 45 minutes, Inter had the worst half under Antonio Conte. The ex-national team coach was out-thought by Torino’s coach Marco Giampaolo who was not even on the bench as he tested positive for covid-19 before the game.
Torino started the game without their skipper and top scorer Andrea Belotti who picked up a knee injury during the warm-up. The star striker was replaced by another ex-international player Simone Zaza who had a brilliant first half. Zaza caused a lot of trouble for Inter’s defense. He succeeded to score Torino’s first goal in the stoppage time of the first half. Ansaldi scored Torino’s second in the 62nd minute from a penalty kick because of a foul committed by Ashley Young on the youngster Singo.
The comeback started in the 64th minute by Alexis Sanchez who scored from inside the six-yard bpox after Lukaku hit the crossbar. The Chilean followed that with a brilliant cross to assist Lukaku in the 67th minute. Lukaku then scored Inter’s third and his second in the 84th minute from a penalty kick. The spot-kick decision took a long consultation between the referee and Var before being awarded. The substitute Lautaro Martinez made sure that Inter will leave the stadium with the three points after getting at the end of Lukaku’s cross in the 90th minute the score the fourth goal.
Shots/on Target: (Inter 13/4) (Torino 13/6)
Possession: Inter 55% (Tornio 45%)
Total Passes/Success: Inter 516/88% (Torino 425/85%)
Starting Lineup and Formation
Inter started the game with a 3-5-2 formation. Handanovic kept his place as a goalkeeper. Andrea Ranocchia and Danilo D’Ambrosio started in the three-man defense alongside Bastoni. Antonio Conte gave de Vrij and Milan Skriniar a break to save them for the midweek UEFA Champions League game.
In the midfield, Achraf Hakimi and Ashley Young started in the wing-back positions as expected. Gagliardini replaced the absent from the heart of the midfield Marcelo Brozovic who tested positive for Covid-19. Nicolo Barella and Arturo Vidal kept their positions for the second game running. Following his brilliant performance and his goal-scoring form for his country Chile during the international break, Antonio Conte decided to play Arturo Vidal as an advanced midfielder behind the two forwards.
Lautaro Martinez was given a rest since he was replaced in the starting lineup by Alexis Sanchez who played next to the Belgian Romelu Lukaku.
Antonio Conte used the five allowed substitutes during the game. The first two changed the dynamics of the Inter completely. Lautaro Martinez and Milan Skriniar replaced Gagliardini and D’Ambrosio in the 65th minute. These substitutions added more assurance in the back while allowing the team to attack with more players considering a midfielder was replaced by a forward. Sanchez dropped a little play right behind Lukaku and Martinez.
The third and the fourth substitutions were like for like ones since Perisic and de Vrij replaced Ranocchia and Ashley Young in the 74th minute. The last substitution was to make sure that Torino couldn’t come back to the game. Radja Nainggolan replaced Alexis Sanchez in the 86th Minute.
Inter started the game knowing that Torino will congest the midfield to prevent Inter from delivering the ball to Lukaku’s feet. Antonio Conte had to come up with a different plan to be able to reach the opposition’s goal. It was clear from the beginning that the only way to create chances is from the sides. The team tried to overload the sides offensively by pushing the two outside defenders D’Ambrosio and Bastoni all the way to the sidelines to support the two wing-backs. Barella and Gagliardini dropped deep in Inter’s half trying to tempt the opponent midfielders to press them and leave the sides exposed.
After reaching the opposition’s half, Inter failed to get the ball to their target man often. Consequently, he had only 19 touches and zero attempts in the first 45 minutes. Therefore, crosses were the main weapon for Inter in the first half, especially from the right side. However, the players were not successful in the execution at all during the first half.
The shape and the energy of the team transformed after their first goal and after Conte made his first changes. With Lautaro coming into the game in the place of Gagliardini, Inter played with only one central midfielder and two attacking ones. Alexis Sanchez and Barella had the freedom to go up front to support the front-line. In the meantime, having de Vrij and Skriniar next to Bastoni gave the youngster the confidence to support the always-attacking Perisic.
This change in shape allowed Inter to create more danger and be effective in the final third. Henceforth, the team came back from behind and grabbed the three points.
Even though Inter is the joint top-scoring team in the league with Sassuolo, the team is deep down in the table when it comes to goals conceded.
The team has been committing the same defensive mistakes over and over again. We are going to try to shed some light on these recurrent errors.
Diagonal balls are one of the most dangerous long crosses for defenders to face. During the Parma game, Inter conceded the first goal from a diagonal ball between the right center back at that time de Vrij and the wing-back Hakimi. In this game, the focus was on the left side of Inter, the area of Bastoni and Ashley Young. It was a diagonal ball in the second that resulted in Ashley Young committing a foul on Singo inside the box. Inter players should be aware of the surroundings and shouldn’t get caught ball watching while the opponent players are moving.
Also, the opposite coverage from the wing-back is key to prevent the opponent from getting behind the defense. Simone Zaza almost scored in the first half when he was able to get behind the defense in between Young and Bastoni.
One of Inter’s weapons over this season and the last one has been pressing. It was successful for Conte during the last term, however, it was less effective during the course of this season especially when the coach gives some rest to the starting Center-backs and some of the midfielders.
During this game, Inter’s press in the first half was easily bypassed by simple passing from the Torino players. In the mean, the inability of D’Ambrosio and Ranocchia to dispossess Simone Zaza without fouling him relieved a lot of the pressure that Inter tried to put on Torino.
Milan Skriniar and de Vrij coming into the field in the second half helped Inter to perform the press better. They were able to close some of the gaps that were left empty by D’Ambrosio and Ranocchia. Also, the midfielders were more relentless in getting close to the opposition to prevent them from having any time or space on the ball.
One of the biggest problems for Inter this season is the transition from offense to defense when the players lose the ball. Counter attacking has been Inter’s opposition’s biggest weapon against them in most of the games.
In this game, Gagliardini was the deepest midfielder that was supposed to provide cover in front of the defense during the turnover. However, due to his lack of speed, he was always ahead of the ball during most of the transitions. In the meantime, having the wing-backs deep in the final third most of the time requires the central midfielders to provide some cover on their sides which doesn’t happen often.
The players showed a great attitude after going down by two goals. The energy and determination helped the team to come back and win this game.
This game was the first one in the league at home where Inter conceded more chances than what they created. This shows that teams are finding more successful ways to attack Conte’s team.
We hope that this game is the wake-up call for this team to start treating every game with the same intensity from the first minute.
The team should build on this momentum going into the decisive Champions League game in the midweek against Real Madrid.