MILAN – Inter were defeated 2-1 by Sassuolo at San Siro on Sunday lunchtime in their penultimate Serie A match of the season.
Pietro Iemmello put the visitors ahead against the run of play late in the first half, before adding a second five minutes after the break. Eder pulled one back on 70 minutes but, despite Inter’s efforts, it was Sassuolo who held on for the three points.
Stefano Vecchi opted for a 4-3-3 formation as he returned to the first-team dugout, starting D’Ambrosio, Murillo, Andreolli and Nagatomo in defence with Handanovic between the sticks. Joao Mario, Gagliardini and Brozovic were named in the midfield three, with Candreva, Icardi and Perisic leading the line.
Perisic enjoyed the first chance of the match as Inter started brightly, volleying into the side netting after ghosting in at the back post. Mauro Icardi flickered in front of goal, with a nice piece of control setting himself up for a curling right-footed effort – but Consigli was on his toes to make the save. Inter’s next chance also fell to Icardi, but the captain’s header was denied by the woodwork with Consigli beaten.
Despite Inter’s superiority, it was Sassuolo who drew first blood. Berardi thought quickest after Murillo gave the ball away in defence, teeing up Iemmello to slot past Handanovic for 1-0.
It was an unhappy end to the first half at San Siro and Vecchi moved to respond by sending on Eder and Ansaldi in place of Nagatomo and Joao Mario. Eder looked sharp early on and saw a great chance go begging in the opening exchanges as Consigli stuck out a boot to save. Yet there were more black clouds on the horizon as, at the other end of the field, Lirola fired a low cross across goal for Iemmello to add his and Sassuolo’s second.
The goal sparked added urgency within the Inter ranks, with the lively Eder again drawing a save from Consigli. And it was the Italian striker who hauled the Nerazzurri back into the game after his deflected effort found the back of the net for 2-1.
Inter were knocking on the door now, with Gabriel Barbosa joining the fray and popping up with some good play. However, despite late chances for Gagliardini, Perisic and Candreva, there were to be no more goals and Inter’s poor run continued.
Inter 1-2 Sassuolo (HT: 0-1)
Scorers: Iemmello 37, 50, Eder 70)
INTER: 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio, 24 Murillo, 2 Andreolli (Barbosa 78), 55 Nagatomo (Ansaldi HT); 77 Brozovic, 5 Gagliardini, 6 Joao Mario (Eder HT) ; 87 Candreva, 9 Icardi, 44 Perisic.
Subs not used: 30 Carrizo, 97 Radu, 8 Palacio, 11 Biabiany, 15 Ansaldi, 19 Banega, 20 Sainsbury, 21 Santon, 23 Eder, 40 Vanheusden, 41 Gravillon, 96 Barbosa.
Coach: Stefano Vecchi.
SASSUOLO: 47 Consigli; 20 Lirola, 55 Letschert, 15 Acerbi, 13 Peluso; 12 Sensi, 7 Missiroli (Aquilani 85), 8 Biondini; 25 Berardi, 9 Iemmello (Defrel 66), 16 Politano (Cannavaro 77).
Subs not used: 1 Pomini, 30 Costa, 4 Magnanelli, 5 Antei, 10 Matri, 11 Defrel, 21 Aquilani, 23 Gazzola, 28 Cannavaro, 39 Dell'Orco, 98 Adjapong.
Coach: Eusebio Di Francesco.
Assistants: Marrazzo, Di Vuolo.