Sassuolo 1-0 Inter: Report, Ratings & Reaction as the Nerazzurri Slip to Defeat in Serie A Opener

?Inter got their 2018/19 Serie A campaign off to the worst possible start on Sunday evening as they slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sassuolo.

A first half penalty from Dominic Berrardi proved to be the difference as Inter were outfought and outthought by the home side in a disjointed and somewhat frustrating display. 

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The Nerazzurri did up their game in the second half, but they weren’t able to fashion themselves enough opportunities in the final third and were deservedly beat.


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Key Talking Point

Inter had a wonderful summer transfer window on paper, but this game demonstrated that it may take some time before they are going to be able to string together some decent results.

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There were too many sloppy passes and poor decisions being made and they seemed to completely run out of ideas in the final third. It took until the final moments of the match for them to even force Consigli into a decent save, demonstrating that they still have some way to go before they can be considered true title contenders this year.

However, there were one or two first team players absent from the starting XI, such as new signing Radja Nainggolan, so things can only get better from here.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Handanovic (6); D’Ambrosio (6), Miranda (4), De Vrij (5), Dalbert (4), Brozovic (4), Vecino (5), Politano (6), Asamoah (5), Martinez (4); Icardi (5).

Substitutes: Perisic (6), Balde (5), Karamoh (N/A).


Star Man: There weren’t any memorable performances to say the least, but Ivan Perisic was the only player who seemed to be up to the task.

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The Croatian started on the bench but was brought on at half time to occupy the left wing. He wasn’t able to inspire a comeback, but Luciano Spaletti’s men looked far better when he was on the pitch and if his teammates were able to play to his level the game could have turned out differently.

Worst Player: It was a debut to forget for Lautaro Martinez, who just couldn’t get into the game during the 67 minutes he was on the pitch.

The Argentinian youngster seemed to be off the pace and he was muscled off the ball far too easily on occasions. He was on an entirely different wavelength to Mauro Icardi up top and the pair failed to string anything together in the final third.


Looking Forward

Inter will now be looking ahead to a home fixture against Torino next Sunday. Anything less than a win may leave them trailing in the wake of their potential title rivals, as Juventus, Napoli and Roma all picked up three points this weekend.

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3 Key Battles That Could Decide the Serie A Clash Between Sassuolo and Inter on Sunday

Sassuolo host Inter on Sunday night, as each side look to get their Serie A campaign started with three points.

Finishing fourth after a dramatic final day win over Lazio, Inter can once again call themselves a Champions League side. Sassuolo ended up in 11th, but rather remarkably have won seven of the last eight matches between these two clubs.

However, this is a new look Nerazzurri. Amongst others, the additions of young Argentine Lautaro Martinez and Dutch centre back Stefan de Vrij could help Inter wrestle the Scudetto away from Juventus. 

Here are three key battles which could decide the outcome of the clash between Sassuolo and Inter.

1. Domenico Berardi vs Kwadwo Asamoah

Completing the double over Inter last season, one of Sassuolo’s main men was Domenico Berardi. Scoring the vital goal in a 2-1 victory, I Neroverdi’s diminutive Italian stunned a 66,000 strong crowd inside the Guiseppe Meazza. 

However, this time round he will be up against a different opponent. Brought in on a free after his contract with rivals Juventus expired, Ghana international Kwadwo Asamoah is likely to accept the task of stopping Berardi. 

Asamoah may start higher up the pitch, and this would mean a face to face clash in midfield as opposed to a defensive one. Either way, it should prove to be an intriguing battle. 

2. Alfred Duncan vs Matias Vecino

Next up is a central midfield clash between two men who’ve met each other more than once before. Uruguayan Matias Vecino will look to outsmart Sassoulo’s physical battler Alfred Duncan with some slick passing play.

However, the Ghanaian  should not be underestimated. His role in both wins last campaign was colossal, and he’s not a half bad creator either. Likely to be feeding balls into his team’s new false nine Kevin Prince Boateng, Duncan’s presence will be felt.

Vecino’s winning goal against Lazio in last year’s final game gained Inter a Champions League spot. Even though that finish was imperative to qualification for Europe’s grandest tournament, he only got two other strikes in Serie A all campaign. While his role is slightly deeper, Vecino will still want to improve that goal record. 

3. Gian Marco Ferrari vs Mauro Icardi

Mauro Icardi is Inter’s shining light. Captain of I Nerazzurri, the Argentine scored 29 domestic league goals last season to share the Capocannoniere with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile. A hero on the terraces, Inter fans will look to him for guidance.

However, for all his goals, the forward failed to net against Sassuolo. Up against Gian Marco Ferrari, Icardi will look to take advantage of any potential communication lapses in the opposition’s defence. 

On loan to Sampdoria over the previous 12 months, Ferrari is likely to feature in a new look central partnership with the recently signed Mauricio Lemos. The two may hope for fullback assistance when marking such a lethal finisher, as it’s likely Icardi will have a few chances to open his account this Sunday.

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Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday

It has been a great transfer window for Inter so far, as they have made significant strides in strengthening their squad. Adding the likes of Radja Nainggolan and Kwadwo Asamoah, I Nerazzurri will hope to mount a title charge and take down fierce rivals Juventus. 

Travelling south to take on Sassuolo in their Serie A opener, the Stadio Guiseppe Meazza side will have confidence in picking up three points. 

A lot will depend on whether new signing, Keita Balde, has his application for a work visa accepted before Sunday. If all goes to plan, I think coach Luciano Spalletti will favour a 4-3-3 as opposed to the stationary 4-2-3-1 adopted last term. 

Here’s how they could line up against Sassuolo.

1. Goalkeeper

Samir Handanovic (GK) – Between the sticks is the near ever present Slovenian. With Inter since transferring from Udinese in 2012, the goalkeeper has always been first choice.

2. Defenders

Danilo D’Ambrosio (RB) – It is more than probable the Italian will get to start on Inter’s right side. Consistent in pre-season, the 29-year-old is a solid option for Spalletti. However, positional competition has been brought in, with Sime Vrsaljko of Atletico Madrid joining on loan. 

Milan Skriniar (CB) Signed from Sampdoria last summer, the young Slovakian has burst onto the scene in Milan. Appearing 40 times last season, the big man got up to score four goals.

Joao Miranda (CB) – The Brazilian should maintain his place over new addition Stefan de Vrij. With the Dutchman arriving from Lazio, Miranda should have a fight on his hands to play at club level this year.

Kwadwo Asamoah (LB) A free transfer after his contract ran down at rivals Juventus, Asamoah has been an astute signing.

3. Midfielders

Matias Vecino (CM) – Even though the Uruguayan only scored three goals last season, his last was the club’s most important. The winner in a 3-2 victory over Lazio, his final day strike secured fourth place, and a Champions League spot.

Macelo Brozovic (CM) – With new signing Radja Nainggolan still recovering from a thigh injury suffered in a pre-season match against Sion, it’s likely Brozovic will start in midfield. Alongside Vecino, the Croat will be trusted to control the tempo against Sassuolo.

Lautaro Martinez (AM) –  The young Argentinian came in from Racing Club for €16m, and has entertained supporters in pre-season. A player with real up side, his linkage with compatriot Mauro Icardi could prove lethal.

4. Forwards

Matteo Politano (RW) Signed on loan from Sunday’s opponents, Politano has moved to the city of Milan after three years at Sassuolo. With an option to buy clause in his contract, the winger will be eager to impress.

Mauro Icardi (ST) – Last season, Mauro Icardi scored 29 Serie A goals – tied with Lazio’s Ciro Immobile – to share the Capocannoniere. With Cristiano Ronaldo joining rivals Juventus, it may be difficult for the Argentine to defend this golden boot. However, if the Inter captain wants to help his side challenge for the domestic title, he’ll need to bang in a fair few.

Keita Balde (LW) – Signed from Monaco on a €6m loan with an option to buy for €30m next year, the 23-year-old winger could have a big future. 

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Sassuolo vs Inter Preview: Classic Encounter, Pre-Season Form, Team News, Prediction & More

??Inter’s ?Serie A season gets underway this weekend as they travel to the Stadio Citta del Tricolore to face recent bogey side Sassuolo.

Losing seven of the last eight meetings between the two clubs, it’s fair to say I Nerazzurri will be looking to show a marked improvement. 

Hoping to challenge perennial champions ?Juventus for the Scudetto this season, there is no better way to start than writing the wrongs of previous campaigns. 

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As for Sassuolo, the mid table side will be hoping to continue their magnificent run against Sunday’s opponents.

Here’s a look at what we can expect for ?Inter’s clash with Sassuolo on Sunday.


Classic Encounter

Inter 7-0 Sassuolo (September 2014)

Back before Sassuolo found how to pull a number on their opponents, many a vicious result befell them. Beaten 7-0 by Inter for the second time in 12 months, I Neroverdi were pummelled by a ruthless attacking display.

The star of the show was Mauro Icardi, who notched up a 53 minute hat-trick. There was also a double for former ?Southampton man Dani Osvaldo, who notably hung up boots at age 31, due to his unending love of beer and barbecues. 

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It turned out to be a more unsuccessful season for the winners however, as Inter’s eighth place finish in ?Serie A left them out of European competition completely. 

Sassuolo recovered from their beating to end up in a respectable 12th, and also got their revenge in the return game by defeating Inter 3-1. 


Pre-Season Form

Many will say that pre-season matches mean absolutely nothing when the real campaign gets up and going, but it’s still a good way of seeing how new teammates are gelling.

Inter started off with a penalty shoot-out defeat to ?Chelsea in Nice, before new signing Lautaro Martinez stepped up. The young Argentinian’s goals saw I Nerazurri defeat both Lyon and ?Atletico Madrid 1-0. 

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As for the home side, Sassuolo have already been in competitive action, sparring in the Coppa Italia third round.

Comfortably defeating lower league opponent Ternana 5-1, recent recruit Kevin Prince Boateng found himself on the score sheet.


Team News

Sassuolo come into the game with near no injuries. It’s likely new centre back Mauricio Lemos will recover from a knock, meaning the only miss is Federico Peluso.

As previously mentioned, Kevin Prince Boateng has returned to Serie A and will probably start this match as I Neroverdi’s false nine. Federico Di Francesco has followed his father’s footsteps by moving to Sassuolo – Eusebio is the current manager of Roma – and could be in line for his first start also.

Inter come into this match with a few injury worries and some fitness doubts. However, they should most definitely be able to field a very strong team. 

Radja Nainggolan is still suffering with a thigh injury so should miss out, whereas defender Milan Skriniar will face a fitness test to see if he’s available to play. 

Whether new signing Balde Keita’s ready to go is still up in the air, but he has been included in Inter’s squad list.

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Sime Vrsaljko, Ivan Perisic and Marcelo Brozovic were all part of Croatia’s squad that reached the World Cup final, with fitness an issue after little to no recovery time.

However, Kwadwo Asamoah, Lautaro Martinez, Stefan De Vrij and Matteo Politano should all be ready for competitive debuts if called on by coach Luciano Spalletti.


Prediction

Juventus have dominated Italian football for the last seven years and if Inter think they can challenge for the Scudetto, this type of match needs to be won. New additions a plenty, it may take a little while for everybody to develop into a truly cohesive unit on the field.

However, many of Spalletti’s signings have Serie A experience, so should be used to what games like these entail. 

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In Lautaro Martinez and Mauro Icardi, I Nerazzurri may have Argentina’s next two superstar forwards. Bringing in the wisdom of Kwadwo Asamoah and Stefan de Vrij should also add solidity at the back.

Although Sassuolo have had the better of them in recent years, it seems hard to see how this new look Internazionale side will make any mistake in their opener.

Prediction: Sassuolo 1-3 Inter

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Andiamo: Why Both Milan Clubs Will Actually Challenge Juventus for the Serie A Title This Season

?Italian football has been enjoying a renaissance of late, and objectively had the best title race of any of Europe’s top five leagues last season. Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli side ran Juventus as close as they could, and after Kalidou Koulibaly’s last minute winner against the Old Lady in April, harboured genuine hopes of upsetting I Bianconeri’s monopolistic apple cart. 

Unfortunately, despite collecting an unprecedented 91 points, I Partenopei once again fell short to the domineering side from Turin, before promptly losing their greatest ever manager and one of their most important players. In the same summer, the seven-peat Serie A champions have brought in the winner of the last two Ballon d’Or – making the title race a forgone conclusion. 

Or so they thought.

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Because, undeterred by their conglomerate backed ‘?World Tribe’ of a rival, both Milanese clubs have set to work on closing the gap – now seemingly vacated by the Neapolitans – between themselves and their #contajus counterparts. 

[As an aside, if you were wondering, it was at the exact moment that hashtag was created that modern football ventured beyond the point of no return.]

The cross-town adversaries have both plugged major holes across the pitch, but it’s probably ?Inter who have made the most waves. Naturally, the eye-catching captures of Radja Nainggolan and Stefan De Vrij (for a lopsided combined fee of around £33m) from opposite sides of the Italian capital have provoked the most buzz.

The duo have been lingering around the top of the Serie A power rankings for their respective positions for some time now, and should slot seamlessly into Luciano Spalletti’s starting XI. The Dutchman was the central fulcrum of Lazio’s back three last season, and could end up occupying the same role this time, if the pre-season’s experimentation with a 3-4-1-2 is anything to go by, but would be equally comfortable in the coach’s standard 4-2-3-1 formation. 

Having coached Nainggolan through the best season of his career in 2016/17 at Roma – the Belgian had a direct hand in 21 goals that year – Spalletti will be all too aware of the impact he can have, and his system is ripe for accommodating such a player.

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But you could argue that it is the additions of the energetic Lautaro Martinez and Keita Balde that could be the most transformational. Too often last season, Inter were languid in possession, their patient build up verging on the pedestrian and predictable, mainly thanks to a lack of pace across the midfield and front-line. 

Save for Ivan Perisic, there was very few outlets on the counter for Il Biscione, and thus the slow progression in attack was necessary. The newfound, and considerable, pace of Monaco’s Keita Balde should help counteract this issue, while Lautaro Martinez’s burgeoning relationship with Mauro Icardi should aid the Argentinian from getting too isolated. 

His record of seven goals in seven – albeit largely irrelevant – pre-season games hints at his goalscoring chops as well, though the Gabigol caveat remains. 

Throw Croatian World Cup starlet Sime Vrsaljko into the mix, and the overwhelming takeaway from their summer moves can be comprised by the wealth of options they now possess. While last season’s starting XI practically picked itself, the contractually renewed manager has a wide variety of players and system he could deploy, something he’ll undoubtedly exploit to great effect.

Turning the focus from Inter to their San Siro siblings, the differences in intent and direction seem worlds apart. With Inter’s hopes resting on tactical astuteness and execution, as well as a blanket level of experience, the red half of Milan is encompassed by passion, and a daring mixture of young and old.

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Though Ronaldo’s signature was seismic in it’s impact across the league, you could argue that the Leonardo Bonucci swap deal with Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara is more significant in the grand scheme of things. Juve clearly have their reasons for bringing back the one-time deserter, but it’s hard to escape the fact that I Rossoneri have emerged superior from it.

The Argentine striker has been the most successful goalscorer in ?Serie A since his arrival in Naples in 2013, and there’s no club more suited to such a player than Milan, who’ve been strikingly absent of a decent striker for far too long. 

Snagging Caldara, who is definitively one of the league’s most precocious defenders, is equally impressive, and most ?Milan supporters would tell you he’s actually an upgrade on Bonucci. The slightly lower key gratuitous acquisition of Pepe Reina will surely aid the development of Gianluigi Donnarumma, as well as providing a much-needed wise ahead amongst the litany of youngsters. 

Of course, part of the problem with Il Diavolo in recent times has been an over-reliance and over-use of the transfer window to solve issues. In this vein, it is probably an off the pitch addition that has raised the most eyebrows in Italy, in regard to their chances. 

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After years of rejection, the 18 time Scudetto winners have finally convinced club legend Paolo Maldini that the current project is worthy of his involvement, with the 50-year-old becoming the club’s Director of Strategic Development. This was presumably in turn thanks to the financial turmoil that has ravaged them being quelled by the intervention from Elliot Management, saving the European blushes with the same brush.

Admittedly, it would be naive to outline the shrewd business done by both sides in Milan without acknowledging the additional work done by I Bianconeri – Emre Can and Joao Cancelo stand out as two figures who will make a tangible difference to the existing squad. 

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But there is also a discernible air of Champions League challenger surrounding them at the minute. After years of outwitting their opponents with long-term thinking, ?Juventus have opted for short-term fixes this time around. Obviously, Ronaldo is a 33-year-old the like of which the world has never seen, but he is still 33, and you would forgive him for duly prioritising those massive European nights that he’s explicitly been brought in for. 

It is precisely that European focus that will entice the two Milanese giants, offering them legitimate hope that this emerging Serie A renaissance can spark a new age of success for at least one of the sleeping Italian giants.

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