Inter break the 'curse' with a home win over Fiorentina

Posted by Mike Whittaker

Inter Milan celebrate after Gabriel Milito scored against FiorentinaGettyImagesInter Milan celebrate after Gabriel Milito scored against Fiorentina

Fiorentina marched into Milan as firm favourites after winning a hard-fought draw against league-dominating Juventus in their midweek fixture. The Nerazzurri though, had a point to prove in front of their home crowd and prove it they did! Inter can now officially say that the 'San Siro Curse' is dead and buried.

A pin point penalty by Diego Milito and a fantastic shot from Antonio Cassano secured a 2-1 home victory for Inter, their first this season after a disappointing start that saw three losses and two draws from their previous five home games. Despite this, Inter have been perfect away from home and this latest win sees the Nerazzurri rise to 3rd in the league just four points behind Napoli and Juventus.

Andrea Stramaccioni, once again used his three man defensive line against the 'Viola' but after the midweek game against Chievo, he evolved his 3-5-1-1 to the formation I have been championing, the 3-4-1-2 and as I predicted this brought about a much improved performance from Inter all over the pitch - especially in the attacking third where they were seriously lacking any real threat in the last game.

For the first ten minutes or so of this game Fiorentina looked the much stronger side and the more likely to score, I even had the feeling that Inter were a little apprehensive of their opponents and it seemed to me that they were playing to limit the damage Fiorentina could possibly do to them. It was also obvious that they were still finding their feet with the new system but after a nervous start something clicked and all of a sudden the Nerazzurri looked much more confident on the counter attack.

When the penalty was won with a handball in the box following the fantastic counter attacking run by Coutinho, Milito's goal brought a real determination to Inter to secure the victory.

For the remainder of the first half it was end to end as both sides took advantage of weaknesses in each other's midfields and the remaining two goals, both of which came before half time, were the result of too much space being left in the oppositions defensive line.

In the case of Cassano's goal for Inter he was left completely unmarked on the left side of the Fiorentina box as the Viola defence all went chasing Esteban Cambiasso to the right side, leaving the Italian striker free to take his time and slot home his fourth goal in six Inter appearances. It was a similar situation at the other end of the pitch as Romulo headed home Fiorentina's only goal from the right side of Inter's box with Yuto Nagatomo arriving just too late to deny the Brazilian right back.

The performance from Inter in this match was fantastic and with the 3-4-1-2 formation our counter attacking looks much more fluid and brings a threatening creativity to the team that Milito needs to be at his best. This was evident by the fact that within the first half an hour the Argentinean was unlucky not to seal a hat trick. His chance just after the penalty was especially memorable, seeing him sublimely control a high ball in the box before unleashing a powerful half volley which would have been a real candidate for goal of the season had it hit the back of the net instead of rattling the crossbar.

Cassano also deserves a special mention for his contributions during the match too, not only for being a constant threat down the left hand side of the pitch in a way that is very reminiscent of the great Samuel Eto'o a couple of seasons ago, but also for encouraging the Interisti in the stands to get behind their team with their cheers and chants throughout the game. If he keeps this up I can see Cassano becoming a real fan favourite this season and with his performances so far he's already become an important member of the Inter squad.

My only real cause for concern in this match was the central midfield, many times during the game, Cambiasso especially looked as though he wasn't up to the job. He just doesn't seem to have the athleticism he used to possess and all too often he was left standing by the Fiorentina players which in turn led to Walter Gargano being under more pressure and ending up making rash challenges that we know he is better than.

Lastly, I was particularly disappointed by Inter's inability to put the game beyond doubt in the last half hour when Fiorentina were down to ten men. I know it's generally harder to play against ten but after the way we had been playing I expected more from them. Apart from that I'm delighted with this result and Inter's improvement so far. I'm under no illusions that the Nerazzurri are anywhere near their best yet but I do expect them to prove their dominance of Milano in next week's Derby della Madonnina against the underachieving AC Milan.

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