Internazionale 2-0 Chievo Verona
Inter Milan ended a difficult week on a high with a 2-0 win over Chievo which lifted them back up to second in Serie A ahead of Napoli, who travel to Bologna on Sunday.
Goals from Esteban Cambiasso and Maicon in the second half earned Leonardo’s side all three points to restore faith in their title challenge after heavy defeats to AC Milan and Schalke over the last seven days.
They now trail league leaders AC Milan by two points while Chievo are still not safe from relegation, with a six-point cushion over the bottom three which could be reduced to three on Sunday.
Chievo had clearly done their homework and seen that Inter had scored within the first minute of their last two games, so they ensured they held onto possession for the first 60 seconds of the game, putting Inter straight onto the back foot.
It was a tactic which would not last the whole 90 minutes, though, and Inter soon started to make progress, thanks to their lively left full-back Yuto Nagatomo.
His low cross in the 15th minute invited Samuel Eto’o to put the Nerazzurri ahead, but the Cameroonian failed to make a good enough contact with the ball from eight yards out.
Two minutes later, Giampaolo Pazzini dragged his shot wide of the far post as Inter gained the upper hand.
Chievo were not sitting back and defending a point, though, and they had a good chance to go ahead after an hour when substitute Cyril Thereau’s cross found Kevin Constant in the centre, but he did not touch the ball from eight yards out with only Julio Cesar to beat.
Cambiasso put Inter ahead five minutes later following a bit of luck as his shot from Maicon’s pass took a deflection off Andreolli, and Stefano Sorrentino could only push the ball up against the underside of the crossbar on its way in.
Inter started to take it easy in view of their Champions League tie at Schalke on Wednesday, but they were almost punished.
Sergio Pellissier should have levelled for the Flying Donkeys in the 78th minute, but he lifted his shot over the crossbar from level with the penalty spot.
Diego Milito squandered the chance to make it two in the 81st minute when he tried to lob Sorrentino from the edge of the area before Maicon put the result beyond any doubt in the 84th minute.
Milito was on the ground claiming a penalty when the Brazilian full-back stole in to take the loose ball and place it into the bottom corner from close range to earn all three points for Inter.