MILAN - Those wretched posts, an inspired performance from the opposition goalkeeper and a proud but unfortunate effort from the Nerazzurri: Inter 0-0 Fiorentina. Inter recorded their second draw in a row and just their second 0-0 stalemate of the season tonight (after Inter 0-0 Roma in the first half of the season), moving up to 73 points in the table, just one off Atalanta in second. A solid performance from Conte’s boys, who built and attacked from the very first minute, but who, despite their 19 attempts, simply couldn’t find a way past Terracciano on the night.
Inter’s first half showed a lot of consistency and good football, but sadly no goals. The game got off to a lively start, with neither team holding anything back on the pitch. Conte’s side showed intensity and plenty of self-sacrifice, flying out of the blocks to cause the Fiorentina back line problems right from the off. But the signs soon began to hint that Terracciano would in fact be the star of the show, the Viola goalkeeper making a series of huge saves to keep the scores at 0-0. The first of these came in just the fifth minute, as he reacted well to the ball bouncing about the area and Lukaku’s stabbed effort at the end of it all. Inter’s game plan seemed to be working, with the Nerazzurri throwing men forward to cause Fiorentina problems from all angles. Barella was next up to try his hand to no avail, while Lukaku’s header off an Eriksen cross in the 18th minute crashed off the far post.
Fiorentina sought to nullify Inter’s persistent threat with a few breaks of their own, handing the ball over to Ribery who injected a bit of life into Iachini’s side on the counter. But no real threat to Handanovic materialised, and the next real bit of action came as de Vrij was forced off the pitch through injury, our Dutchman spraining his left knee in the 23rd minute and Ranocchia coming on in his place. Inter were back on the offensive in the 34th minute, Lukaku once again at the forefront, but once more, his right-footed effort was thwarted by the Viola keeper as Terracciano tipped it round the post for a corner.
As the rain continued to pour down at San Siro, Inter started the second half on the hunt for the elusive opener. First, Candreva put the ball in the net, but it was flagged for offside. In the 52nd minute, after a nice bit of link-up play with Lukaku, Sanchez rattled the post again, with Terracciano doing well to clear his lines. But after that, the pace of the game slowed, and Inter’s attacking threat slowed with it, with the players off the bench looking to spark things back into life. Fiorentina were constantly looking to threaten on the counter, but Handanovic made his presence known to cancel out their efforts, first thwarting Castrovilli, and then, ten minutes from time, stopping a close-range effort from Lirola off Chiesa’s assist. But these were the only two bright moments for Fiorentina, who were pinned back in defence right until the final whistle.
Inter’s late forays ultimately proved fruitless, and even Lautaro’s 95th-minute last-gasp header came up short. Terracciano’s stellar performance and some unfortunate strikes against the woodwork kept the game scoreless, meaning Inter will have to settle for a point ahead of their next outing against Genoa on Saturday. The Nerazzurri will be without Barella for the game, who picked up another booking and a consequent suspension in tonight’s game.
INTER 0-0 FIORENTINA
INTER (3-4-1-2): 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio (95 Bastoni 70'), 6 de Vrij (13 Ranocchia 23'), 2 Godin; 87 Candreva (11 Moses 70'), 5 Gagliardini (77 Brozovic 76'), 23 Barella, 15 Young; 24 Eriksen; 9 Lukaku,7 Sanchez (10 Lautaro 70').
Bench: 27 Padelli, 20 Borja Valero, 30 Esposito, 31 Pirola, 32 Agoumé, 34 Biraghi, 37 Skriniar.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
FIORENTINA (3-5-2): 1 Terracciano; 4 Milenkovic, 20 Pezzella, 22 Caceres; 23 Venuti, 8 Castrovilli, 5 Badelj (78 Pulgar 75'), 88 Duncan (18 Ghezzal 58'), 29 Dalbert (21 Lirola 51'); 63 Cutrone (9 Kouamé 58'), 7 Ribery (25 Chiesa 75').
Bench: 33 Brancolini, 3 Igor, 11 Sottil, 17 Ceccherini, 19 Agudelo, 28 Vlahovic, 93 Terzic.
Coach: Beppe Iachini.
Bookings: Ribery (F), Castrovilli (F), Barella (I), Caceres (F).
Added time: 2' - 5'.
Assistants: Fiorito, Villa.
Fourth Official: Doveri.
VAR and VAR Assistant: Banti, Schenone.