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Written By Onyeka Daniel

It was a disappointing result for Inter Milan in their last game of the year as they could only manage a point against Genoa away from home to end the year on 45 points after 18 games, five points ahead of Juventus who will face Roma later today at the Allianz Stadium.

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For the better part of the game, the Nerazzurri looked like the inferior team as the home side lived up to their giant killers tag as they’ve already defeated Lazio and Roma this season while also drawing against Napoli and Juventus too. For Inter manager, Simone Inzaghi, he acknowledged that Genoa ‘deserved the point’ in their 1-1 draw and reassures Inter must not use the absence of Lautaro Martinez as ‘an alibi.’

The Nerazzurri would’ve guaranteed the title of Winter Champions with a win here tonight, putting them top of the table at the midway stage of the season. However, a Marko Arnautovic tap-in was cancelled out by a Rade Dragusin header on a corner for the 1-1 result.


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“We knew the type of game that we were going into. Genoa are in great shape, both physically and mentally, it was a hard-fought match,” Inzaghi said in his post match interview. “It was pretty even in the first half, then we took the lead and the only thing I can reproach the lads for is not defending better on that corner right before the break, knowing full well how good Genoa are on set plays.

“The second half probably would’ve been different without conceding at that moment. We wanted to win, we are not happy with the point, but we must continue and remember that every match holds dangers.” It is certainly curious that Inter and Juventus have mirrored each other so clearly this season, both losing to Sassuolo, held to draws by Bologna and Genoa.

“Naturally, we all wanted to win, but games are decided by incidents. We had never conceded from a set play all season and we ended that run here. “It was not easy to play on a heavy pitch that made it tough for both teams. We had a huge chance with Francesco Acerbi, their goalkeeper made a great save, and we tried to limit their counter-attacks.”

Hakan Calhanoglu, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Thuram were looking particularly tired, while Lautaro Martinez, Federico Dimarco and Juan Cuadrado are injured. “Genoa are a very intense team who defend fairly deep and so we had to move the ball around more quickly. We did a bit in the second half, but not enough. “We must also give credit to Genoa, who played very well and deserved their point. Missing players must not be an alibi, this same team did very well against Lecce, while Genoa are very strong on home turf.”

It was a remarkable 2023 for Inter, winning the Coppa Italia, Supercoppa Italiana and reaching the Champions League Final, so what does Inzaghi want to see from 2024? “We must retain the solidity, the hunger and clearly try to bring more consistency. We know that we’re not even halfway through the season, it will be a long and tough road with difficulties that we must overcome.” He further added.

Inter defender, Acerbi also echoed the same opinion as his coach. After the match, Acerbi remarked that “We play at the San Siro. So we know what a difference the fans can make.” “We conceded the goal from a corner,” he continued. “But I think the draw was a fair result.” He said.

For Inter goal scorer, it was a record setting night even if his goal didn’t bring the desired result. Arnautovic had already scored a Champions League goal this season. He was on the scoresheet to kick off a 3-3 comeback against Red Bull Salzburg.

But now the Austrian has one in Serie A with the club as well. And it was a big one in terms of Austrian players in Serie A, as Opta highlighted on Twitter. They tweeted, “2 – Marko #Arnautovic is only the 2nd Austrian player to score for Inter in Serie A after Herbert Prohaska (eight goals between 1981 and 1982). Sacher.”

Meanwhile…

Former referee Luca Marelli claims Genoa had very good reason to argue the Arnautovic goal for Inter should’ve been disallowed for a Yann Bisseck push. The game ended 1-1, but the Nerazzurri had taken the lead through Arnautovic, who tapped in after a Nicolò Barella angled drive was fingertipped onto the far post.

Genoa were furious at the time and wanted VAR to intervene, feeling that Bisseck had pushed Kevin Strootman when the original throw-in was knocked down for Barella. “It is a goal that will cause a great deal of controversy,” said Marelli in his role as refereeing pundit. “Strootman falls to the ground when Bisseck pushes him with two hands firmly on his back. It is a clear foul and I frankly expected VAR to intervene.

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“It is very similar to another goal that Nicolò Casale saw disallowed for Lazio against Verona at the start of December. When there are two hands on the back to push, that is a foul.” The only possible difference here is that Casale scored the goal and pushed Ondrej Duda, whereas in this case Bisseck did not touch the ball in the build-up. It was a group of players who went up to reach that throw-in, with Bisseck and Strootman among them, so it could perhaps be argued they were not interfering with play.

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