It will be a good Christmas for Inter fans around the world as Rodrigo Palacio’s brilliant flick from Fredy Guarin’s cross gave the Nerazzurri a 1-0 win.
The win means that Inter will begin the New Year in fifth place, only five points behind Napoli and the final Champions League spot. Considering the transition that Inter is undergoing, both on an off the pitch, a top five position has to be viewed as a successful first half of the season.
A lot of credit for the win has to go to Inter manager Walter Mazzarri, who made the type of bold moves on Sunday that Mourinho used to do. Mazzarri’s bold substitutions changed the game and were a big reason why Inter picked up three points instead of having to settle for only one.
First he took off Saphir Sliti Taider in the 57th minute and brought on the more attacking minded Mateo Kovacic. Kovacic not only gave Inter a fresh set of legs in midfield, but he was able to link up with Guarin and Palacio and for really the first time in the game Inter started to look a threat going forward.
Next Mazzarri took off Zanetti in the 68th minute and brought on Zdravko Kuzmanovic. The Inter captain was terrific in the first half, but the pace had started to tell and he was beginning to run out of steam. Kuzmanovic was able to slot in defensively where Zanetti had played, but he also had the energy to get forward to and create chances, especially in the last 10 minutes when the game really opened up.
Then with eight minutes to go Mazzarri took off Esteban Cambiasso, who ran himself into the ground on Sunday, clashing everything in midfield and bringing on a second striker in Mauro Icardi. Pushing Icardi up front and playing Palacio and Guarin just behind him caused the Milan defence all sorts of problems in the last ten minutes and it was not a surprise to see Palacio and Guarin then combine for the goal.
What did you think of Inter’s performance and win Sunday?