FLORENCE - There wasn’t long to go with two of the six minutes of stoppage time having already passed. Inter were 0-1 up in Florence following a goal from Borja Valero against his old club. The team’s efforts to control the game proved not to be enough as Inter again struggled at the Stadio Artemio Franchi with the youngster Dusan Vlahovic showing all his energy to burst through and rocket in a shot in the 92nd minute. The draw takes Inter up to 39 points, level with Juventus. Up next is the Genoa match at San Siro on Saturday, the last of 2019. However, Brozovic and Lautaro will miss it after picking up suspensions.
High pressure in a 3-5-2 formation with lots of width and midfielders running on. Fiorentina vs. Inter began with both sides playing in relatively similar styles and it took just eight minutes for the deadlock to be broken. The tactics from Conte’s side allowed the midfielders time to play the ball on the ground and set up Borja Valero to score. Known as the ‘Sindaco’ in Florence, he made 166 appearances for Fiorentina before scoring against them tonight. Borja Valero showed great composure to beat Milenkovic in the box before slotting past Dragowski after receiving the ball from Brozovic.
The goal opened things up as the teams looked to attack. Inter relied on the duo up top, while Fiorentina looked to involve various players. In the 14th minute, Badelj called Handanovic into action with a miraculous save from his strike from the edge of the box. The Nerazzurri were well-organised and compact with Fiorentina looking to slip balls in behind, but Handanovic was alert and did well in commanding his area. Inter looked dangerous in the 34th and 43rd minutes when they had chances to extend the lead. First, Lukaku missed after a counterattack launched by Lautaro. The Argentine then found the net from a Lukaku assist but it was ruled out by VAR due to the Belgian being offside. Finally, it was Dragowski who denied Romelu with a great save from his header after a perfect Biraghi cross.
The pace dropped in the second half as both sides took a more considered approach: the Nerazzurri remained solid and alert, while the Viola were less enterprising. Inter were aiming to hit Fiorentina on the counter and had a great chance to score through Lukaku in the 73rd minute, but Dragowski denied the Belgian from close range. Prior to this, Handanovic had pulled off a great stop to keep out Castrovilli’s powerful shot, while Pulgar had also threatened from the edge of the box. It was a complicated match as Borja Valero looked to control matters in midfield: the Spanish midfielder was proving adept at slowing down or speeding up play with his passing and dribbling in the centre. Antonio Conte brought on fresh legs (including a debut for Agoumé) in an attempt to close the game out, but Fiorentina struck a late blow in the 92nd minute as Vlahovic put on the afterburners and fired home with his left foot.
A bitter pill to swallow for Conte’s men, who were forced to settle for their second consecutive draw in the league. The Nerazzurri are still top but are now level with Juventus on 39 points. It’s now time to focus on Genoa in what will be the team’s final fixture of 2019. #ForzaInter!
FIORENTINA 1-1 INTER
FIORENTINA (3-5-2): 69 Dragowski; 4 Milenkovic, 20 Pezzella, 22 Caceres; 21 Lirola, 78 Pulgar, 5 Badelj (24 Benassi 66'), 8 Castrovilli (16 Eysseric 83'), 29 Dalbert; 25 Chiesa (28 Vlahovic 59'), 10 Boateng.
Substitutes: 1 Terracciano, 6 Ranieri, 9 Pedro, 11 Sottil, 15 Cristoforo, 17 Ceccherini, 18 Ghezzal, 23 Venuti, 27 Zurkowski.
Coach: Vincenzo Montella.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni (2 Godin 88'); 33 D'Ambrosio, 8 Vecino, 20 Borja Valero (32 Agoumé 84'), 77 Brozovic, 34 Biraghi; 9 Lukaku, 10 Lautaro (16 Politano 84').
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 46 Berni, 13 Ranocchia, 19 Lazaro, 21 Dimarco, 30 Esposito.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
Goalscorers: 8' Borja Valero (I), 92' Vlahovic (F)
Bookings: Brozovic (I), Bastoni (I), Badelj (F), Dalbert (F), Borja Valero (I), Lautaro (I), Pulgar (F)
Note: Montella (F) booked
Added time: 3' - 6'.
Assistants: Schenone and Vivenzi.
Fourth official: Giacomelli.
VAR and VAR assistant: Mazzoleni, Paganessi.