Chievo 1-2 Inter: Handanovic Stars As Nerazzurri Deny Spirited Chievo Much Needed Point

Internazionale staved off a spirited Chievo to claim three points at Stadio Bentegodi on Sunday afternoon.
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Goals from talismanic duo Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic ensured the Nerazzurri kept pace with Roma and Lazio after both sides won this weekend.

AC Chievo Verona v FC Internazionale - Serie A

It was the hosts who started the brighter in terms of intent, despite Joao Cancelo’s early fizzing free-kick that went just wide of the left hand post in the ninth minute.
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Chievo had some good chances, with loan star Manuel Pucciarelli striking the post with a fierce drive for the hosts and defender Riccardo Meggiorini then tested Samir Handanovic with a header but the sprawling Slovenian managed to get across to the left side of his goal.

AC Milan v FC Internazionale - TIM Cup

Handanovic was called upon again moments later to keep out Emanuele Giaccherini’s rasping effort from the right hand side of the box, as Chievo sought the opening goal that perhaps their positive play had warranted.
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Inter settled into the game as the half went on, and winger Yann Karamoh almost broke the deadlock after good work from Rafinha to lay it off.

Some fine defending prevented captain Mauro Icardi from almost certainly scoring after Ivan Perisic collected Milan Skriniar’s long pass to whip in a low cross.
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There was time for a couple more chances for Chievo though before half time – Fabrizio Cacciatore forcing Handanovic into action with a left-footed strike and Pucciarelli again forcing a strong save from the 33-year-old following a dangerous counter-attack – Inter were perhaps lucky to enter the half time interval on level terms.?

The second half demanded a far better performance from Inter, and they did come out looking more positive – Marcelo Brozovic testing Stefano Sorrentino from outside the box down to his left-hand side.
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It was as though Luciano Spalletti, read the riot act to his players at half time and Inter then went ahead through talisman Icardi, although not before the referee had consulted the game’s VAR system.

AC Chievo Verona v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Perisic then doubled the visitors’ lead after a nicely worked bit of build up play involving Karamoh and Icardi, the Argentine laying the Croatian off for an easy finish after a late surge into the box.
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Chievo, for all their positivity in the first half, appeared pretty shell-shocked at first by the Nerazzurri’s injection of urgency and had trouble regrouping as Inter began to assert their dominance for the first time.
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With the threat of relegation a very really prospect in the back of their minds though, Chievo didn’t completely roll over and forced a couple of corners as they searched for a way back into the game.

AC Chievo Verona v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Inter defended solidly and Spalletti’s team nearly added a third through Rafinha after some silky play before unleashing a low drive to Sorrentino’s left, and then through Davide Santon who skewed and effort wide.
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Chievo did grab a consolation through Mariusz Stepinski, but couldn’t find a late equaliser that could have given them a huge point in their bid to stave off relegation.

For Inter it was a game they should have won, and they ended up doing so after coming through a tricky first half, thanks mainly to goalkeeper Handanovic.
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It’s another three points in their quest to finish amongst the Champions League places, which might prove to be crucial since Roma won on Saturday and Lazio thumped Sampdoria on Sunday.??

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‘He’s Ready’: Real Madrid Legend Luis Figo Links Inter Striker With Summer Move to the Bernabeu

??Real Madrid legend Luis Figo has declared that Internazionale striker Mauro Icardi is ready to play for Los Blancos.

The Champions League holders are understood to be in the market for a top centre forward in the summer, as they look to bring in someone to compete with Karim Benzema, and are eyeing several targets across Europe.

Real Madrid v Athletic Club - La Liga

The likes of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane are thought to be two of the club’s targets, while a move for Inter’s Icardi could be on the cards as well.

The 25-year-old has been one of Europe’s best strikers over the last few seasons and has bagged 25 goals in 29 appearances for the Serie A side so far this season. There have been links with the Spanish giants and Figo has set tongues wagging after claiming the player is ready to play for a club as big as Madrid.

“If he is ready for Real? Great players like him can adapt to any situation,” the former midfielder told Sky Sports Italy (H/T ?Calciomercato) in an interview.

UEFA Match For Solidarity Press Conference

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“He has the qualities to play in any team. His future depends on the ongoing project at Inter and the financial condition of the club and it also depends on the will of the player.”

The former star also expressed a desire to see the Nerazzurri return to playing in the Champions League.


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“It is important for them to reach the Champions League,” he added. “Because Inter has been without the Champions League for too much time now and that is not positive.”

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Chievo vs Inter Milan Preview: Classic Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More

?Inter travel to Chievo on Sunday as they look to beat Roma and Lazio to third place in Serie A before the season draws to a close.

Luciano Spalletti’s side come into the game off the back of an impressive ?4-0 victory against Cagliari on Tuesday. An early strike from Joao Cancelo was built on by second half goals from Mauro Icardi, Marcelo Brozoviand Ivan Periši?. 

Meanwhile, Chievo have recorded back to back draws in their last two games, failing to register goals against both Torino last weekend and SPAL 2013 during midweek. They face the first of two challenging games, as they take on Inter and then travel to Roma six days later.


Classic Encounter

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-CHIEVO-INTER

Chievo upset the odds with a shock 2-0 victory at home to Inter back in August 2016.

After several early attempts at goal from Inter which were not capitalised on, Chievo fought their way back into the game and the tie was relatively even yet uneventful going into the half time break.

However, a 49th minute strike from Chievo’s Valter Birsa shocked spectators as he slotted home into the bottom left corner to give the hosts a surprise lead in the Serie A tie.

With nine minutes left on the clock, Birsa scored his second goal of the game with a powerful effort from outside of the box, into the bottom right corner of the Inter goal.


Key Battle

Mauro Icardi vs Ivan Radovanovi?

Argentine striker Mauro Icardi is on fine form for Inter this season, having netted 25 times in 29 Serie A appearances.

Icardi has now almost guaranteed himself a place on the plane to the World Cup in Russia this summer, but will do himself no harm with another impressive performance during this weekend’s trip to Chievo.

AC Milan v FC Internazionale - Serie A

The 25-year-old will come up against Ivan Radovanovi?, an experienced Serbian international who has coverted from a defensive midfielder to play in the centre of a back three for Chievo.

The 29-year-old has played 149 Serie A games for Chievo, with 24 of those coming this season. Standing at 6ft 1in, the defender has good positional sense and is difficult to beat in one-on-one situations.


Team News

Chievo head into the game with a full bill of health, as their whole first team squad is available for selection.

Visitors Inter will be without injured midfield duo Roberto Gagliardini and Assane Gnoukouri for the tie, but manager Luciano Spalletti has an otherwise fully fit squad to select from. 

AC Milan v FC Internazionale - Serie A

Predicted Inter Milan Lineup: Handanovi?; Cancelo, Skriniar, Miranda, D’Ambrosio; Valero, Brozovi?; Karamoh, Rafinha, Perisi?; Icardi.

Predicted Chievo Lineup: Sorrentino; Gamberini, Radovanovi?, Tomovi?; Depaoli, Giaccherini, Rigoni, Hetemaj, Jaroszy?ski; Pucciarelli, Inglese.


Prediction

Inter are coming into this game in impressive form, as they chase third place in the Serie A table.

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The form of striker Mauro Icardi, plus the attacking trio behind him, may prove too much for an average Chievo side and the visitors should come away from the game with all three points.

Prediction: Chievo 0-3 Inter Milan

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Inter Open Talks With Real Madrid Over Former Midfielder Linked With €30m Serie A Return

Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kova?i? is poised to make a €30m return to San Siro this summer, with Internazionale’s hierarchy eager to see the Croatia international return to Milan when the transfer window opens.

Kova?i? left Italy in 2015 after an impressive two-year spell in Serie A. The former Dinamo Zagreb academy star has made over 100 appearances for Real Madrid during that time, but the 23-year-old is often forced to make an impact from the bench.

Malaga v Real Madrid - La Liga

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Now in search of regular first team football, Kova?i? has been linked with a number of clubs across Europe but Italian outlet Il Corriere dello Sport (via Calciomercato) report that the Austria-born midfielder is already the subject of discussions between Inter and Real Madrid.

Malaga v Real Madrid - La Liga

It is claimed that Nerrazzuri director of football Piero Ausilio is determined to bring Kova?i? back to Milan at the end of the season, and he is even prepared to match the €30m that the midfielder was sold for just three years ago.

But Inter will face competition for his signature this summer, with it also reported that Jürgen Klopp is considering bringing Kova?i? to Liverpool.


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Should Inter miss out on resigning their former player, then Ausilio has other targets lined up. One name who was on the Nerrazzuri’s wishlist is  Carvalho, but the Sporting CP midfielder’s buyout clause – believed to be in excess of €40m – has put the Italian giants off making a move.

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Julio Cesar Reveals Curious Details About His Relationship With Former Boss Jose Mourinho

Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar has revealed some interesting details about his relationship with former manager Jose Mourinho.

In an interview with Selecao Sportv (via ?Marca), Cesar – ?who is retiring from football at the end of this season – revealed Mourinho had treated him harshly during some of his time at Inter, but had kind words for him following the 2013 Confederations Cup final.

Inter Milan's Brazilian goalkeeper Julio

Cesar had just been named Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament following Brazil’s 3-0 victory over Spain in the final, and collected his award in Iker Casillas’ shirt as a tribute to the Spaniard.

?“When I got to the dressing room, I saw a message from Mourinho on my mobile phone,” Cesar explained. ‘You’re crazy, it’s Casillas who would have to put on your shirt and not you,’ it read. And he told me that with only one arm I stopped more than Casillas.

“Iker went to the dressing room to talk to me [to thank him for the gesture] and I told him to have a discussion with Mourinho, which is difficult but he had to face it,” Cesar continued. “Mourinho likes to go face to face with the players who are considered stars in the teams that he coaches.”

Inter Milan's Portuguese coach Jose Mour

The Brazilian goalkeeper also discussed life under Mourinho’s management, and revealed the harsh words that Mourinho would say to him.

“The first year was great, but the second one was more difficult,” he added. “I went into games with a fear of being wrong, and I thought: either I face it or it ends my career.

“In training Mourinho approached me and said ‘you are the best goalkeeper in the world, but today you’re a Serie C goalkeeper.'”

Bayern Munich's Dutch striker Arjen Robb

This was not the only time Mourinho was rude to Cesar. who explained the Portugese manager’s weird obsession with a yellow shirt.

“There was a time when Mourinho wanted me to play with a yellow shirt,” Cesar said. But it wasn’t part of the colours of the goalkeepers of that season, which were white, black and grey.

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“He gave me a yellow shirt, which was the training shirt, and I told him I was not going to play in yellow. Mourinho mocked me in every way possible and told me I was afraid of the ball. In short…I played in yellow.”

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