Inzaghi’s team effortlessly overwhelms the Maltese in the first test in the Mediterranean, in Paola: Bellanova, Asllani, Calhanoglu, Gosens, Dimarco and Mkhitaryan score
Twenty-two days without the shred of a match is a long time, even if you are up against inferior opponents of different sizes and if you play in a miniature stadium, while the whole world looks elsewhere, to the thousand lights of the Qatari stadiums. And yet, even in the first festive friendly of this Maltese tour against the very endearing Gzira United (third in the local league), Inter gathers reasons for optimism: meeting up 4 days ago to try to catch up with Napoli, they win 6-1, with a four-of-a-kind in the first half and with good plays by those who have had little glory so far, a sign that the squad is deeper than you think. If you want to look for old defects, however, you can find them on the net and on some occasions too kindly granted to the Maltese, full of will but with little else.
Simone will have appreciated the desire of those who, for one reason or another, sobbed in the first part of the season: from Bellanova, who unlocks the game with insertion in a vague Dumfries style and exuberant in the tears on the wing, to Asllani, closed so far from the giants of the Nerazzurri midfield but very lucid in the role of playmaker for one evening and author of the 0-2 goal against duck by local goalkeeper Zarkov. Without forgetting Gosens, the most talked about man of the moment because he was tempted by a loan deal in “his” Bundesliga: he too, taking advantage of the many rival holes, crossed a lot and found time to score the fourth goal of the first half. The German’s goal, after a powerful break, comes immediately after a free-kick by Calha for the temporary 1-3. Yes, it means that Gzira managed to shorten the distance and break through what, theoretically, would be Inzaghi’s starting defence: Skriniar-Acerbi-Bastoni. The bland rhythms and a little lack of attention will also weigh, given that the team only met last Friday, but that’s where Inter must heal: after 22 goals conceded in Serie A, getting even one in a friendly is not a good signal. This time the net marks Jefferson, who is Brazilian and not Maltese: a small local idol applauded by the people of Paola, a town in the north of the island, who experienced this friendly match as a kind of festival-event. First Gzira’s number 94 commits Handanovic, who returned after time with gloves in hand and arm band, and then on the next corner he takes advantage of the collective sleep.
In the global reshuffling of the second half, Inzaghi changes the midfielders (in Barella and Mkhitaryan in place of Calha and Gagliardini), gives the band back to the usual Dimarco (out Gosens) and rests Dzeko, still particularly packed in 45 ‘played alongside the very promising Valentin Carboni, the brightest jewel of the cantera, distinguished by some delightful left-handed touches but without particular competitive ferocity. The role of centre-forward in the second half, on the other hand, fell to the Primavera baby Curatolo, he did with a great desire to rock the world: he made the crossbar tremble with a powerful header, worthy of Simone’s other strikers. The 5-1 goal, on the other hand, has a more traditional development, signed by Dimarco with a left foot to cross after an assist from Micki, who then heads in the final even makes six. Federico’s foot, hot before the break, remained warm, and the Armenian too seems inspired. Barella, then, applauded at every touch by the many Inter fans who came from all over the island, showed a certain energy which bodes well for the next few weeks. In addition, the second half of this friendly stroll gives a showcase to many young players from Chivu, from central Fontanarosa, often joined to the first team, to Iliev, a forward with a sure future. In two days, in the same stadium, the level will go up: the friendly is against Salzburg.
December 5, 2022 (change December 5, 2022 | 21:03)
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