MILAN - Inter finally got back to winning ways in front of the Meazza faithful with a 2-0 win over Fiorentina. Pazzini scored his first league goal for 77 days to give Ranieri's side the lead following Coutinho's pass at the end of the first half. After the break Nagatomo made the most of a defensive mix-up to make it two. The Nerazzurri move up to 17 points.
FIRST HALF – Claudio Ranieri had to make do without Zanetti against Fiorentina as the captain sat out his first ever match in Serie A due to suspension. The coach went with experienced duo Lucio and Samuel at the heart of defence while Maicon was welcomed back on the right and Nagatomo started on the left. In midfield, there was youth on the flanks with Coutinho and Faraoni, and Motta and Cambiasso in the engine room. Pazzini partnered Milito up front.
During the warm-up the players were taken by the images on the stadium's giant screen: a testimony to Peppino Prisco, who passed away ten years ago but would have celebrated his 90th birthday today.
The first chance of the game fell to the Nerazzurri in the 4th minute when Coutinho played in Pazzini for the shot, which Boruc saved. A minute later Nagatomo went for goal from a distance without managing to hit the target. Moments later Coutinho was again the supplier but this time for Milito, whose shot was deflected behind for a corner. And in the 10th minute another useful ball from the Brazilian youngster proved just too much of a stretch for Pazzini. On 18 minutes Lucio's hard cross to the far post saw Pazzini leap with De Silvestri, the Viola defender coming out on top. Coutinho created a great chance by himself in the 31st minute as he burst past the defence and arrowed his effort towards the far post, only for Boruc to stick out a hand and deny him; from the rebound, Faraoni's shot was deflected behind for a corner. The deadlock was broken after 41 minutes when Pazzini ended his barren streak in the league that went back to Bologna v Inter on 24 September: Coutinho chipped a ball into the box, Pazzini ran onto it beating Natali and clipped a neat finish past Boruc with the outside of his boot. That was the last meaningful action of the first half, which ended with no added time.
SECOND HALF – No changes were made during the interval and 4 minutes after the restart the Nerazzurri had doubled their lead: Pazzini played a ball in from the left and the Fiorentina defence made a complete hash-up as Pasqual cannoned the ball off Nagatomo and into the goal. In the 67th minute Thiago Motta fizzed a wicked low drive just past Boruc's right-hand post. A minute later that was followed by the visitors' first shot on target: Vargas' low free kick deflected off the wall on its way to goal but Julio Cesar was alert to keep it out. A great chance fell to Muntari in the 77th minute when Maicon picked out the midfielder on the edge of the six-yard box: the Ghanaian's side-footed effort was poor but Pazzini almost managed to connect from a few yards out as he slid in. With 5 minutes of normal time remaining Inter had another good chance: Muntari put Pazzini through alone in front of Boruc but the keeper denied him. As the game drew to a close Gilardino kept looking for a way to pull one back but to no avail. After three minutes of added time, Inter v Fiorentina finished 2-0.
2-0 Fiorentina (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Pazzini 41, Nagatomo 49.
Inter: 1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 55 Nagatomo; 37 Faraoni, 8 Thiago Motta, 19 Cambiasso, 29 Coutinho (Muntari 62); 7 Pazzini, 22 Milito (Zarate 64).
Subs: 12 Castellazzi, 2 Cordoba, 11 Alvarez, 18 Poli, 30 Castaignos.
Coach: Claudio Ranieri.
Fiorentina: 1 Boruc; 29 De Silvestri, 5 Gamberini, 14 Natali, 23 Pasqual; 85 Behrami, 20 Munari (Salifu 52), 21 Lazzari (Kharja 75), 6 Vargas; 22 Ljajic (Silva 65); 11 Gilardino.
Subs: 89 Neto, 15 Nastasic, 28 Romizi, 92 Romulo.
Coach: Delio Rossi.
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (Terni).
Booked: Maicon 38, Gamberini 51.
Added time: 0+3 minutes.