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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today the Serie A is beggining it's second part of the season, and because we're playing their champions in the last 16 of the Champions League, i guess we should have a thread in wich we should discuss their matches, players, form, injuries and other things related to them.
They play today against Cagliari at home. It looks a certain win for the champions. But you never now:)

Serie A Preview: Inter - Cagliari

Exciting New Year For Inter

Jose Mourinho’s Inter could hardly be entering 2009 in more confident mood. Going into Serie A’s winter break, they earned eight consecutive victories and they currently hold an impressive six-point lead over Juventus on top of the table. True, their latest victory away to Siena was highly controversial, as Maicon’s second goal was a couple of metres offside, but overall Inter’s domestic season so far has confirmed they are the team to beat in Italy.

It took a little while, but the Special One seems to have finally found his first choice starting XI and formation, after trying his preferred 4-3-3 system at the start, with mostly disappointing results. New arrivals Ricardo Quaresma and Amantino Mancini buckled under the pressure time and time again up front, so Mourinho eventually reverted to the more efficient 4-4-2 system used by his predecessor Roberto Mancini, and since then Inter have been unstoppable in Serie A.

However, now comes a crucial moment in the season. At this point a year ago, the team suddenly suffered a drop in form, although it must be said they also had to cope with a slew of injuries. Key players such as defenders Ivan Cordoba and Walter Samuel, who have been rock-solid so far this season, and main man Zlatan Ibrahimovic were out for an extended period of time. Mourinho will hope he has all his best men available particularly for the Champions League knock-out tie against Manchester United, which is sure to produce fireworks as the former Chelsea coach will lock horns with an old rival in Sir Alex Ferguson.

Of course, the Serie A race should not be underestimated either. Juventus especially have shown they have the consistency necessary to keep up with the Nerazzurri, and six points is by no means an insurmountable gap, also considering that Inter nearly threw away an 11-point lead over Roma last season. As for Milan, they obviously have a huge potential and probably have the most skillful team of the whole Serie A, but so far they have not shown enough consistency and defensive solidity to be able to keep up their Scudetto challenge, and they are currently nine points behind.

On paper, Inter’s next few matches don’t look too daunting, and they will not be facing a "big" team until the derby on 15 February, by which time they will hope to have built on their nine-point lead over their city rivals. Aside from a defeat to Milan early in the season, the Nerazzurri’s form against the more prestigious teams has been very impressive, as they thrashed both Lazio and Roma away from home, and beat Palermo (away), Juventus, Napoli, and Udinese (all at home).

Still, they should not take the home match against Cagliari, Inter’s first of 2009, for granted, as the Sardinian team have been known to give them a hard time in the past, and they are currently on a highly impressive run of form.



20/12 (Serie A): Siena-Inter 1-2

14/12 (Serie A): Inter-Chievo 4-2

09/12 (Champions League): Werder Bremen-Inter 2-1

06/12 (Serie A): Lazio-Inter 0-3

30/11 (Serie A): Inter-Napoli 2-1

Team News

Patrick Vieira is still out injured, while Maicon is suspended.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Inter draw with Cagliari

Defending champions Inter Milan endured a disappointing start to 2009 when they were forced to come from a goal down to salvage a 1-1 draw against Cagliari at the San Siro on Saturday.

The result gave Jose Mourinho's side a seven-point lead over Juventus, who face Siena on Sunday, at the top of Serie A.

Inter needed Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 77th minute strike, his 11th of the season, to level Robert Acquafresca's 65th-minute opener for Cagliari.

The champions, who were chasing a ninth successive win, welcomed Luis Figo back for his first start since September, but scoring opportunities were scarce in the first half with Javier Zanetti wasting the best openings.

Aquafresca made them pay when he fired in past goalkeeper Julio Cesar after a long punt forward while Davide Biondini wasted a great opening to make it 2-0 in the 71st minute.

Ibrahimovic saved Inter's blushes when he found the target, but much of the hard of the work in the build-up had been done by Argentine international striker Hernan Crespo, who had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes after replacing Walter Samuel.

"It was not a positive first half and we played our best football when Cagliari scored," said Mourinho.

"Cagliari did well and threatened on the counter-attack. It was a bit of a strange match."

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Awesome Atalanta Thrash Dreadful Inter

Inter had a bumpy start to the New Year last week when they drew at home with Cagliari, and they were looking to continue their recovery, having confidently beaten Genoa in the Coppa Italia in midweek.

Marco Materazzi and Patrick Vieira were injured, while Sulley Muntari was suspended, meaning that Christian Chivu again played in a central midfield role. Hernan Crespo was given the nod over Adriano to partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic up-front, and Dejan Stankovic returned after a recent spell on the sidelines. Defender Walter Samuel was struck down with a bout of flu on the day of the game, and had to withdraw, meaning that Nicolas Burdisso started in his place.

Atalanta had almost a full strength squad to choose from, although they were without the injured Alessio Cerci. Once again, Cristiano Doni supported lone frontman Sergio Floccari in attack.

First Half

Atalanta had a strong start, and had the first attempt of the game as Ferreira Pinto sliced horribly off-target from long-range.

Doni produced a piece of absolute magic on eight minutes as he juggled the ball in the area, twisted and volleyed the ball just wide. Floccari went even closer a minute later, as he left Burdisso for dead, and shot inches past the post from 20 yards,

On 17 minutes Atalanta broke the deadlock, and unsurprisingly it was Floccari who got the goal. The 27-year-old controlled Doni's flick-on inside the area, and delightfully turned Cordoba before firing past Julio Cesar.

It could have been 2-0 moments later, as Jaime Valdes unleashed a piledriver from 25 yards that fizzed just wide of the post.

Floccari was causing all kinds of problems, and he turned his marker yet again on 25 minutes, but this time shot straight at Julio Cesar.

It was all Atalanta, and it came as no surprise when they doubled their lead on 28 minutes. Doni grabbed the goal, as his free kick took a wicked deflection off Ibrahimovic's raised hand, leaving Julio Cesar stranded.

This prompted Jose Mourinho into a change as he introduced Victor Obinna for Chivu, but Atalanta continued to run rampant, and incredibly they made it 3-0 on 33 minutes. Valdes crossed from the left, and Doni darted towards the near post to pump home a bullet header.

Inter had been quite dreadful all half, barely stringing two passes together, and their only efforts were two long-range Crespo drives that were well off-target.

Second Half

Mourinho used up his two other substitutions at half time, with Luis Figo and Adriano coming on for Maxwell and Crespo.

Adriano almost made an immediate impact, with an acrobatic scissor kick that finished not too far over.

Ferreira Pinto threatened a fourth goal though, as his angled shot forced Julio Cesar into a diving save. Guarente, who had run the show in midfield, then fired viciously into the side-netting from 30 yards.

The chances continued to come for Atalanta, and Doni missed a glorious opportunity to clinch his hat-trick, as he misjudged the flight of the ball with a free header just yards out.

Substitute Diego De Ascentis then inexplicably missed a virtual open goal, crashing the ball against the post from two yards out after Julio Cesar had parried Ferreira Pinto's original effort.

It was wave after wave of Atalanta attacks, and Doni's shot just shy of the hour mark deflected just centimetres past the post.

Inter tried to react, and Ibrahimovic forced Coppola into his first save of the game with a daisycutter.

The away side's first real chance of the game did not arrive until the 80th minute when Adriano found space inside the area, and crashed a shot over the bar. Obinna also wasted two fine opportunities as he first fired over, with just Coppola to beat, and then forced the goalkeeper into a save.

Inter did grab a consolation in injury time as Ibrahimovic swept home when Atalanta failed to clear the ball at a corner.

This was by far Inter's worst performance of the season, and if Juventus win at Lazio tonight, their lead at the top of Serie A will be cut to just one point.


Atalanta: Coppola, Garics, Talamonti, Manfredini, Bellini (Rivalta 84), Ferreira Pinto, Padoin, Guarente, Valdes (De Ascentis 49), Doni, Floccari (Vieri 89)

Inter: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Cordoba, Burdisso, Maxwell (Figo 46), Zanetti, Chivu (Obinna 28), Cambiasso, Stankovic, Crespo (Adriano), Ibrahimovic


Floccari 17 (A)
Doni 28 (A)
Doni 33 (A)
Ibrahimovic 90 (I)

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
David Pizarro Fuming After Roma’s Coppa Italia Exit

Coppa Italia holders Roma were knocked out of this year’s competition last night after losing 2-1 to Inter in the quarter-finals.

But the Lupi were livid after the encounter, as TV replays clearly showed that Nerazzurri defender Walter Samuel was offside in the lead-up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s decisive goal.

“This is not about crying out, like they use to say,” David Pizarro lamented after the encounter.

“These ‘episodes’ always happen against us. We don’t like losing this way. Unfortunately, we have bowed out of this competition.”

After Adriano had given the Italian champions the lead during the first half, Roma had managed to get back on level terms through a powerful drive from Rodrigo Taddei.

“This tells us that it’s better not to come here and play this type of game; you are bound to witness this,” continued the play-maker. “However, we go out with our heads held high.”

Inter won 2-1 and their next game is agains Sampdoria on 25th of January. it's gonna be interesting cause they're gonna play without Zlatan, who's been suspended for this game.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mourinho Off, As Inter Creep Past Sampdoria

Adriano scored the only goal on the night, as Inter Milan reclaimed top spot in the Serie A, with a 1-0 victory over Sampdoria at the San Siro earlier tonight.

First Half

The Nerazzurri got the match underway in Milan earlier tonight, in front of a vocal crowd, and it took some eight minutes for either side to have a decent attempt on goal. Esteban Cambiasso’s glorious ball into the area was met by the head of Maicon, however unfortunately for the home side’s sake, the right back’s effort was slightly deflected and off target as a result.

It was evident that tonight’s contest was not going to produce many goals, as the lack of opportunities continued for the next ten minutes or so, as both defences looked extremely solid and confident when called into action. In fact, after 20 minutes of play, the visitors had recorded just one shot by Stankevicius that was well off target.

The match continued in a similar fashion until the half hour mark, as incredibly neither side had managed to get a clear shot away on target. In addition to this, the Inter tifosi were stunned as the Blucerchiati were certainly looking the more menacing when going forward, due to their dominance of possession throughout the midfield.

Adriano undoubtedly had the best chance of the first half hour from a header, following a wonderful run and cross in on the right by his captain Zanetti. Raggi’s poor marking allowed the Brazilian to get a free header away, however once again it was off target, as the ball sailed over the bar, leaving the scores deadlocked at 0-0.

Nothing seemed to be going Inter’s way, as not even the ever so reliable Maicon could get the simple things right. However, it was he who was responsible for setting up a corner after 38 minutes, which did lead to Inter having the first shot on target, following a Stankovic header that was easily saved by Castellazzi.

The first half neared an end, and it was the home side that lifted in the closing stages. Following the dismissal of coach Jose Mourinho for protesting, the Nerazzurri grew in confidence, as they had chances in the final five minutes through Adriano, Stankovic and Muntari.

Incredibly in the 46th minute, Adriano tapped home the first goal of the match, following a brilliant run, and an even better ball into the area by Maicon. It was to be the striker’s second goal of the season, and much to the joy of the Nerazzurri fans, Inter took the lead heading into the half time interval.

Second Half

Inter made the first change of the match at the half time interval; as Cordoba was brought on to replace Samuel in the centre of defence. As was the case in the first half, both sides took their time to impose themselves, as both failed to do anything worth noting in the first five or so minutes of play.

After 49 minutes, the visitors were forced to make a change of their own, as Gastaldello was forced from the field through injury, and replacing him was Padalino, who joined the three man defence of Raggi and Palombo.

Sampdoria were dealt another blow on the hour mark, as Raggi was forced to withdraw from the field as a result of injury. Ziegler came on in his place, whilst Mazzarri changed his formation to a slightly more traditional 4-4-2 set up, as Samp continued to press for an equalizer.

Just minutes after this substitution, Cambiasso managed to find Stankovic in some space, as the latter struck the ball powerfully from all of 30 yards, only to be denied by the crossbar. Incredibly, Pazzini had the chance to equalize on the counter attack that followed, however Julio Cesar courageously saved the day for Inter.

Following an error by Dessena for Samp in the middle, Muntari swooped on the loose ball and moved forward with real purpose. With no one closing down his space, the former Udinese man tested his luck from just outside the area, only to be denied by a world class save from Castellazzi. 0-0 it remained, as we approached the midway point of the second half.

Mourinho would have been pleased with what he was seeing from the stands, as despite being outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, his men were certainly looking a changed side in the second half. Having said this though, the visitors continued to do their best to get forward, as they pressed for that all important equalizing goal.

Stankovic had a massive opportunity after 79 minutes, following some outstanding passing by his team mates on the right. The ball ended with Muntari, who cut it back in towards Stankovic, however his effort was intercepted by Stankevicius, as Inter continued to hang on to the slightest of leads.

The Blucerchiati made it clear that they wanted at least a point from this contest, as they attacked in numbers in the closing stages; however nothing came from it, as they failed to break down the solid Nerazzurri defence.

Following the incredible amount of six minutes of additional time in the second half, the referee’s whistle brought the match to an end, meaning that Inter had reclaimed top spot in the Serie A, whilst Samp continue to struggle in the bottom half of the standings, as just four points is keeping them adrift of the drop zone.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ten Man Inter Move Six Points Clear On Top With Catania Victory

Inter extended their lead on top of the Serie A table to six points over Juventus with a 2-0 victory at Catania courtesy of goals by Dejan Stankovic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, surviving a red card to Sulley Muntari in the first half.

nter looked to keep Milan and Juventus at a safe distance in the Scudetto race as they travelled to face mid-table side Catania. Coach Jose Mourinho started with a 4-3-1-2 formation with Dejan Stankovic behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who made his return after a one-match ban, and Julio Cruz, who replaced the in-form Adriano following his three-match suspension for throwing a punch in last Sunday’s match against Sampdoria.

Meanwhile, Catania coach Walter Zenga opted for his usual 4-3-3 system with Takayuki Morimoto, Michele Paolucci, and Giuseppe Mascara in attack.

First Half

The Nerazzurri started the game in determined mood, showing much more confidence than in their recent performances, and they had the ball in the net in already the fifth minute. Cruz made a run on the right wing, going past Ciro Capuano, and played in a perfect cross that was headed past goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri by Stankovic.

There was another danger to the Catania goal two minutes later, as Ibrahimovic played the ball to Sulley Muntari on the left wing, and the Ghanaian sent in a dangerous cross that eluded everyone in the penalty area.

In the 12th minute, the Rossazzurri had the ball in the net, as Nicolas Burdisso anticipated Morimoto with a header, letting the ball come to Paolucci, who beat Julio Cesar from close range, but the referee had already stopped the play because the Japanese striker lifted his foot dangerously toward Burdisso’s head.

In a heated start to the match, Inter had another chance in the 17th minute, when Stankovic made a run inside the area and fired the ball onto the side netting, but the home side protested after the referee apparently failed to see an elbow on Capuano by the Serbian midfielder.

Five minutes later, Ibrahimovic came close to doubling Inter’s lead, as he dribbled his way inside the area from the left and fired a shot that grazed the crossbar.

On the half hour mark, the league leaders were dealt a hard blow, as Muntari was shown a possibly harsh red card for a foul on Giacomo Tedesco. Curiously enough, a slap by Muntari on Tedesco also led to a red card in the earlier match played this season between the two sides at San Siro.

Catania made their advantage count in the remainder of the first half, as they started to encircle the Nerazzurri’s penalty area. In the 38th minute, following a goalmouth scramble, the ball fell to Paolucci, who found himself in a great position to shoot, but he fired the ball straight at Julio Cesar.

The home side had another couple of chances to equalise just before the half-time break. In the 45th minute, the ball came to Morimoto on the edge of the area following a corner kick, and he fired a precise low range shot that beat Julio Cesar but found Esteban Cambiasso, who hacked the ball off the goal line.

A minute later, Capuano made a run on the left, and cut inside for a shot from inside the area, which went just wide of the post.

The first half ended with Inter deservedly 1-0 up, as they gave a convincing performance before Muntari’s sending off, which inevitably changed the complexion of the match.

Second Half

Neither coach opted to make a change during half time. In the opening minutes of the restart, there was a great chance for Cruz, who had beat the offside trap on a long pass, but saw Bizzarri kick the ball away from him on the edge of the area.

Catania did not quite manage to trouble Inter as much as they did in the final part of the first half, and in the 58th minute it was Ibrahimovic who came close, as he dribbled his way inside the area from the right and tried to play the ball to a team mate, but Bizzarri did well to parry the ball away for a corner.

Two minutes later, however, the home side fashioned a chance out of nothing, Giuseppe Mascara coming agonizingly close with a long range shot that deflected off Burdisso and hit the post with Julio Cesar beaten.

In the 71st minute, Inter practically sealed the result with a well-worked goal, as Ibrahimovic latched onto a vertical pass by Stankovic, beating the offside trap, and looped the ball over the onrushing Bizzarri, before calmly depositing the ball into an empty net, to score his 13th goal of the season.

This second goal knocked the stuffing out of Catania, who looked demoralised and out of ideas after that. Ibrahimovic continued to show off his skills, and in the 81st minute, he freed Maxwell up in the area with a great touch, but the Brazilian full back could not find the right timing for a shot.

Julio Cesar was called into action for the first time in a while in the 84th minute, when he tipped a long range shot by Davide Baiocco over the crossbar.

In the last minutes of the match, Inter had no problems containing an uninspired Catania side, and after three minutes of stoppage time, they celebrated a priceless victory that allowed them to stretch their lead on top of the Serie A table as both Juventus and Milan dropped points tonight. Meanwhile, are in 13th place with 26 points.

Goals: 5’ Stankovic (I), 71’ Ibrahimovic

They are the most in form players Inter have at the moment. we should be realy carefull with these two.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Inter Held By Torino At San Siro

Torino took a shock lead at the San Siro, but Inter fought back to a 1-1 draw...

Pre-Match News

Adriano was still suspended for punching an opponent in the match against Sampdoria, along with Sulley Muntari, who was sent off in the 2-0 win over Catania on Wednesday. Youngster Davide Santon kept his place at left back, while Julio Cruz partnered Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front.

Torino coach Walter Novellino put out a fairly attacking line-up, with Aimo Diana and Ignazio Abate on the wings of midfield, supporting Alessandro Rosina and Rolando Bianchi upfront.

First Half

The first quarter of the match was fairly tame, with no real chances for either side. Rosina was lively though and put in a curling cross for Bianchi that was just cut out by Nicolas Burdisso at the far post. Then Blerim Dzemaili's long range shot was wide of Julio Cesar's goal.

Dejan Stankovic put in a cross on the counter-attack, but it was just punched off of Julio Cruz's head by Torino goalkeeper Sereni. Ibrahimovic then tried a cross from the other wing, but Cruz was booked for controlling the ball with his hand.

Inventive play from Esteban Cambiasso sent Inter running down the left, but Ibra's pull-back was cut out for a corner.

The Nerazzurri were starting to exert more pressure and began to control the match, grabbing several half-chances and pinning Torino in their own half. However, Torino were defending in numbers, content to play on the counter-attack.

Cruz then tried his luck from distance and it was just over the crossbar. The same player had his powerful header then well-saved by Sereni to keep the match scoreless.

Stankovic was unable to continue after picking up a knock, so coach Jose Mourinho replaced him with veteran Luis Figo.

The great chance fell to Dzemaili, who took a touch past Cordoba and fired in a shot that did not force Cesar into a save. The last influential action in the first half was Inter's, Maicon's cross from the deep right was headed wide by a diving Cruz, who looked desperate to find a goal.

Second Half

'The Special One' began the second by throwing on Ricardo Quarsema to add some more offense, but Inter were caught napping as Torino took the lead!

Abate's was in all kinds of space and he crossed for Bianchi, who beat Cordoba to the ball and headed the Granata into a shock lead over the Nerazzurri on 47 minutes.

Sereni did well once again, saving Cordoba's downward header from Maicon's corner as Inter tried to hit back immediately.

The Inter players and fans were up in arms when a cross definitely hit Abate's arm in the area. However, Inter found a goal on 58' from a subsequent corner. Defender Nicolas Burdisso headed past Sereni, who was too slow off his line, leveling the scored at 1-1.

Inter were now in attack mode, but both squads were squandering chances in the final third of the pitch with poor and misplaced passes. Cruz touched on a cross for Quaresma, but the winger's scissor-kick effort was not even close.

Then a dangerous opportunity had Diana redirect a low cross wide of the target and Maicon's long rage pile driver had the crowd in awe, but it flew wide. Meanwhile, Cruz was replaced by Hernan Crespo.

Santon was flying forward down the left and he cut inside to lay off for Ibrahimovic, although the big Swede's powerful shot was to the left of Sereni's goal. Figo took a freekick from a good position, but it deflected off the wall for the corner.

From the clearance, Torino went on the counter and Cordoba was booked as he committed a tactical foul to halt the opportunity.

Inter came close when the ball bounced around in the area, although Crespo's deft touch with the outside of his foot was just over. Then, Quaresma controlled the ball on the bounce, but his volley was straight at Sereni.

Burdisso almost had a brace, but was robbed by Sereni as Torino were suffering from inter's late surge.

Quaresma did nothing more to endear himselt to Inter fans, as Figo played him in, but he curled an easy chance well voer the ball in the final minute. Inter were not giving up and Ibrahimovic hit the post, just before a foul was called.

The match ended 1-1, as for all their late pressure the Nerazzurri could not break down Torino. Tehrefore, Inter could not extend their lead over Juventus to nine points and Torino picked up a precious point in their battle against relegation.

Inter 1-1 Torino

Goals: 46' Bianchi (T), 58' Burdisso (I)

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ibrahimovic The Master As Inter Trounce Lecce

Inter extend their lead at the top of the table thanks to an impressive and well fought win down in Lecce. The Nerazzurri started with a quick tempo and their pressure was too much for Mario Beretta's side.

The rest of the chasing pack were hoping the Salentini would do them a favour, but it wasn't to be as the home side just couldn't deal with a rampant Nerazzurri.

First Half

The game began brightly and it was nice to see Jose Mourinho share a joke and a smile with Mario Balotelli after all the tension between both men. Inter kicked off and their manner of play showed indicated that Lecce would be in for a busy night. Dejan Stankovic won a free kick from Polenghi. Luis Figo bent the ball into towards Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the big striker failed to connect and the chance went begging.

Lecce replied with Castillo creating space down the left wing, but his cross was dealt with by Nicolas Burdisso who conceded a corner. Caserta swung the corner inwards and was unlucky not to score. Cesar was quick to react and saved himself and his team from embarrassment as he punched the ball away from harm. Ibrahimovic was the lone ranger up front for Inter, but he turned provider for Stankovic. The striker exchanged quick passes with Maicon and crossed a delightful ball for the incoming Stankovic. However, the Serbian, who was all unmarked, managed to miss his header when it was easier to score. Inter kept on banging at the door and the relentless pressure began to see the Salentini panic.

A decent move involving Esteban Cambiasso and Ibrahimovic unlocked the Lecce defence. The Argentine midfielder showed intuition and insight as he fed the Sweden international the perfectly weighted pass. 'Ibra' looked offside but Esposito was found wanting at the back and he played the Inter man on as his team-mates raised their arms in vain. Ibrahimovic controlled, turned and placed his shot into the bottom left corner from close range. Benussi had no chance as the ball rippled the net.

The Nerazzurri were in cruise control. The home side threatened on rare occasions. All the play and danger coming through Tiribocchi and Castillo. Inter were grateful to Cesar. The Brazilian goalkeeper performed a miracle save from Gugliermo Stendardo's close range header to keep his side in the lead. Lecce pressed well as Mario Beretta screamed the orders from the bench, but Marco Materazzi and David Santon were on guard and on hand to minimise the danger.

Inter seemed to step off the gas after going ahead, but some poor finishing from Tiribocchi made it easy for the Milanese giants to keep their noses ahead.

Second Half

The home side restarted with a bang, but there was no celebration at the end of it as Papa Waigo was wrongly flagged for offside within seconds of the kick off. Caserta played a great ball over the top and the former Fiorentina striker ran through and would have equalised has the assistant referee not been flag-happy. Polenghi tried his luck from distance, but it was well wide as Lecce threatened. Inter were in control though and kept the Giallorossi at bay.

Beretta's side began to get into their rhythm. Tiribocchi managed to flick on Caserta's cross into the path of Castillo who beat Materazzi to the ball and was about to pull the trigger before Cesar launched himself towards the ball to smother the danger. Jose Mourinho was not impressed as he saw his side begin to show some weaknesses at the back. Down the other end Maicon was guilty of missing chance of the season as he blazed over from four yards out.

The Brazilian defender capitalise after a mix-up between Lecce players following Figo's wicked free-kick. However, the stopper was unable to keep his composure and slide home. It was miss of the season when it looked easier to score.

The Nerazzurri did put the game beyond Lecce when Figo popped up to meet Davide Santon's cross and head home. The left back did well to cut back and showed he also has a right foot. His pinpoint assist found the Portuguese ace and he made no mistake by guiding the ball into the net with elegance and panache.

Stankovic also go in on the scoring act and made up for his earlier mistake by latching onto Maicon's free kick from the right. The Serbian beat everyone to the ball and headed it into the top corner as Inter continue to speed towards the Scudetto.

Mourinho was delighted with his team's performance as he punched the air with joy following the final whistle. Lecce meanwhile will look back on failing to take their chances as they continue to struggle down at the bottom side of the table.


Lecce 4-3-3: Benussi, Polenghi, Stendardo, Fabiano, Esposito, Ariatti, Caserta, Edinho (Papadopoulos), Papa Waigo (Zanchetta), Castillo, Tiribocchi (Cacia).

Inter 4-3-2-1: Cesar, Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi, Santon, Zanetti, Cambiasso, Muntari (Muntari), Figo (Chivu), Stankovic, Ibrahimovic (Balotelli).

Goals: Ibrahimovic, Figo, Stankovic.

Cards: Ibrahimovic (Inter/Yellow), Esposito (Lecce/Yellow), Tiribocchi (Lecce/Yellow)

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Maicon a doubt for United

Inter Milan star Maicon is a doubt for their UEFA Champions League first leg with Manchester United.

The Brazilian wing-back pulled out of training on Friday ahead of the Milan derby this weekend with a thigh injury.

Inter have confirmed that the Brazilian ace will not be available.

Maicon is now a serious doubt for the clash with United.

The first leg is scheduled for San Siro on February 24th.,19528,11854_4921252,00.html
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