Inter’s first match of 2019 will be at home to 6th placed Serie B side Benevento. This match comes in the form of the round of 16 in the Coppa Italia.
The match will be played on January 14 at the San Siro. This will be the first time Inter compete in this competition this season. On the other hand, Benevento has competed all throughout the season in this competition, most recently defeating Cittadella 1-0. The round of 16 will see the introduction of the Serie A teams into the competition.
Benevento has not got an impressive history in the Serie A. In 2017 they were promoted to the Serie A for the first time ever after defeating Capri in the Playoffs. For a team which was new to the Serie A they were quick to set a new record. They set the record for the worst start to a season across Europe’s top 5 leagues.
This came in the form of 14 straight losses. Their losing streak came to an end in spectacular fashion. Down 2-1 against AC Milan, a corner was awarded to Benevento in the 95th minute. Their goalkeeper came up for the corner with the hope it would result in a draw. As the ball came in from the corner, the first person to get to it was the goalkeeper. His header put the ball into the back of the net, giving Benevento their first ever point in the Serie A.
Their match against Inter will be a tough one, especially considering the difference in teams and the players. But if the wonderful game of football has taught anyone anything, it is to not write off the underdogs.
Inter have had a great run leading into this match. They defeated Napoli 1-0, followed by a 0-1 win against Empoli to end the season. Although they came away with the win, Inter have been far from convincing this season. Struggling to create chances, capitalise on these chances, and closing out the match are all traits Inter have displayed. Although they are sitting in 3rd in the Serie A, the results and inconsistency of many of the other teams have contributed to the position that Inter are on the table.
With this being said, it would be difficult to see Inter loose to Benevento. The sheer quality in players that Inter have should be enough. In saying that there are not guarantees in life and Inter will still need to play well to win. Spalletti will have the chance to play some bench players and rotate the squad throughout this match. It is the perfect match to lead Inter into the second half of the season, facing Sassuolo at the San Siro on January 20.
If history is anything to go by, Inter are undefeated against Benevento. Inter winning their last 2 encounters 1-2 and 2-0 respectively both coming in the 2017-18 Serie A season.
This should be a walk in the park for Inter as they outshine Benevento in all aspects on and off the pitch. The home field advantage will also play into the hands of Inter. It would be very hard to see Inter not walking away from this match with a comfortable victory.
Prediction: 3-0 Inter