Inter’s last league match could have been perceived as a dress rehearsal, a dry run or even a practice for next Saturday’s highly anticipated Champions League final, but the Nerazzurri ultimately put in enough of a competitive effort to prevail in a slim 0-1 victory over Torino.
The three points temporarily placed Inter in second place, but Lazio’s own 0-2 victory over Empoli later in the day sent the Nerazzurri back to a third place finish for the season.
Since Simone Inzaghi had already clinched Champions League qualification a week ago against Atalanta, he had the freedom to make a number of unconventional lineup choices and substitutions. He did get productive performances from several stars on the team – candidates to start the match next Saturday against the champions of England. The prime example of this came from the lone winning goal of the match – a soaring bullet from Marcelo Brozovic’s left foot from just outside the penalty box from an assist by Romelu Lukaku in the 37th minute of the first half.
It could be seen as a symbolic goal as much as it was practical for the win – an indicator for how Inzaghi may want to line up his squad for the kickoff in Istanbul. Brozovic and Lukaku are two star players who have had disappointing injury-riddled seasons for their club. There have been plenty of rumors and reports of both not returning to the club next season, but they are now at their fittest and in peak form in time for the Inter manager to consider starting both against the Cityzens.
One position that was not handled in a style of a dress rehearsal was the role of goalkeeper as Samir Handanovic wore the captain’s arm band for possibly one last time before giving way to third stringer Alex Cordaz in the 65th minute in a rare substitution for that position. Both contributed to a clean sheet, although there were plenty of chances in the second half for the Granata to equalize. The most glaring of these chances was a misfiring off of Antonio Sanabria’s left foot two minutes into added time as he was sliding into the goal area.
Inter had their near misses in the second half as well. Their best chance at sealing the three points arrived at the 80th minute as Edin Dzeko, a substitute for Lautaro Martinez in the 55th minute, rattled a right footed shot off of the left post leaving his squad to grind out the remaining scrappy 15 minutes until the final whistle from referee Michael Fabbri.
With third place in the Serie A now in hand, the Nerazzurri look towards Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Turkiye for one last daunting challenge to conclude their 2022-2023 season.