20.07.11 / 21:30
ROVERETO – Inter beat Cremonese 4-1 in their third friendly of the 2011/12 pre-season this afternoon. Eto'o opened the scoring on 17 minutes after playing a neat one-two with Alvarez, and Inter's recently signed Argentine, besides continuing to impress with his ability to run at defenders at pace, already seems to have built up an excellent understanding with the Cameroonian and Pazzini. Ranocchia powered a header onto the post in the 23rd minute and got forward again later to fire wide with a long-range effort as the Nerazzurri continued to look lively in attack and solid at the back. The only defensive slip-up came on the stroke of half time, when Nizzetto took advantage of Chivu's hesitation and hit a rocket past Castellazzi to equalise. 12 minutes into the second half and Inter were ahead again as Pazzini latched onto Stankovic's lobbed pass and volleyed home. Eto'o then added a third, stroking home from the edge of the six-yard box following Faraoni's pull-back from the by-line. Faraoni got his own name on the score sheet with two minutes of normal time remaining, showing superb control to bring down Chivu's probing long pass and fire inside the near post.FIRST HALF – Gasperini started with three in front of Castellazzi again - Ranocchia, Chivu and Caldirola – and a four-man midfield of Santon, Stankovic, Sneijder and Crisetig. Up front initially were Alvarez, Pazzini and Eto'o.
Four minutes into the game Crisetig picked out Eto'o, who burst forward and laid into the centre for Pazzini, but he was closed down by Cremonesi. A minute later the same defender cleared Eto'o's shot after Pazzini had played the Cameroon striker in. On 6 minutes, Alvarez had a go with his left and two minutes later Pazzini hit a firm effort as Inter began to crank up the pressure in their search for an opener. Castellazzi was alert when called into action in the 11th minute to keep out an effort by Rabito. The Nerazzurri took the lead after 17 minutes as Eto'o ran at the defence and burst into the box thanks to a perfectly executed one-two with Alvarez, before applying a cool finish. Two minutes later Bianchi prevented a second after Pazzini and Stankovic had teamed up. Shortly afterwards the Serbian midfielder released Alvarez, whose shot was deflected behind for a corner. The Nerazzurri almost found a second midway through the first half: Sneijder's cross was met well in the air by Ranocchia but the centre-back's header rattled off the post. Stankovic put the ball straight back in and this time Eto'o turned his header beyond the keeper and into the net, only to have it chalked off for offside. Inter were looking lively up front while Cremonese seemingly had little to offer. Alvarez's right-footed effort was deflected in the 33rd minute, Chivu denied Nizzetto, and then the skilful Argentine showed another glimpse of what he can do as he jinked past Rigione and arrowed a shot across the face of the goal, just wide. As the first half drew to a close, Sneijder saw a shot deflected wide and Ranocchia looked dangerous once more, firing just off target. There was still time for Cremonese to equalise with their first real chance of the game: Nizzetto beat Chivu to the ball and chested down before releasing an unstoppable rocket that Castellazzi had no chance with. 1-1 at half time then and back to square one.SECOND HALF – Gasperini made three changes at the start of the second half: Muntari came on for Crisetig, Faraoni for Santon and Bianchetti for Ranocchia. Pazzini and Eto'o put together a delightful move in the 52nd minute, but the Italy striker's right-footed finish was saved by Bianchi. Seconds later, Castellazzi pulled out a top-drawer save to pluck Dell'Anna's venomous drive out of the top corner. Inter got their noses back in front in the 57th minute when Stankovic played an up-and-under into the box for Pazzini to run onto and volley home. Gasperini then mixed up his attack, bringing Castaignos and Pandev on for Pazzini and Alvarez. Eto'o had another good effort kept out by Bianchi on 62 minutes and 5 minutes later, down the other end, Ghezzi picked up Bizambe's pass in a good position only to shoot at Castellazzi. A minute later Stankovic flashed a right-footer whiskers wide, before Eto'o did make it two for the day with a close-range finish following a burst down the right and pull-back by Faraoni (70). Ten minutes later a left-footed drive by Chivu ended wide, before Sneijder's free-kick went over via a defender in the 86th minute. There was still time for Inter to add a fourth and it came two minutes before the 90th minute: Chivu pumped a long ball forward for Faraoni, who showed class to bring it down first time inside the box and power his shot past Bianchi at the near post.
The Nerazzurri thus ended their third pre-season friendly with four goals to add to the 12 already notched up in the first two games. They will expect a sterner test when they play Galatasaray in Bochum (Germany) on Sunday.Inter 4-1 Cremonese (HT: 1-1)
Scorers: Eto'o 17 and 70, Nizzetto 45, Pazzini 57, Faraoni 88.Inter: Castellazzi; Ranocchia (Bianchetti 46), Chivu, Caldirola (Natalino 74); Santon (Faraoni 46), Stankovic (Mariga 68), Sneijder, Crisetig (Muntari 46); Alvarez (Pandev 56), Pazzini (Castaignos 56), Eto'o (Longo 80).
Cremonese: Bianchi; Semenzato, Rigione, Cremonesi, Favalli; Tacchinardi, Degeri, Riva; Nizzetto, Bocalon, Rabito.
Players who came on in the second half: Bizambe, Arcari, Ghezzi, Lucenti, Donida, Sales, Recavarren, Dell'Anna, Donida, Marinoni, Baiguerra, Ziglioni.
Unused sub: Deco'.
Coach: Oscar Brevi.
Referee: Previtera (Bolzano); assistants: Battaia and Cofler.