Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy
March 20, 2011, 0200 hours GMT
After being involved in an epic Champions League encounter in midweek, Inter shall host Lecce in the hope of closing the gap to leaders AC Milan. The mood around the club would be buzzing after completing an improbable win in Germany. However, after an impressive run of four straight league wins, Inter drew their first game under Leonardo against relegation candidate Brescia, last week. A repeat result would do a massive damage to their league ambitions as there aren’t many games left to play. Inter are just four points behind Milan and they know they can’t slip any further with the big derby looming into the picture by the day.
Lecce, on the other hand, are in 18th place and two points ahead of Brescia having collected just 28 points in 29 games. Their last win came against Juventus at home which was a hugely surprising result. A similar result against Inter would be very hard but anything is possible in football. However, a likely and hopeful result for Lecce would be a draw and a point would mean a world to them against the champions of Europe at this point of the season.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Samuel and Milito, the two Argentines are still out due to injuries, though Milito is closer to a return. The good news for Inter is the return of Cambiasso who played his part against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Inter will play with their typical 4-3-1-2 formation as Julio Cesar will hope to avoid any more blunders after his mistake almost cost his team a place in the quarter finals of the Champions league.
Lucio and Ranocchia will resume their central defensive roles and hope to help their goalkeeper keep a clean sheet which hasn’t happened for a long time for the champions. Maicon and Chivu will play on the flanks although Nagatomo can be expected to be given a chance sometime in the match to rest Chivu.
Cambiasso returns and will play in his usual holding role ahead of the defense and will be supported by Stankovic and Zanetti. Sneijder, who dropped back in the second half against the Germans will get back to his attacking midfield role and support Samuel Eto’o; a player in the form of his life. Pazzini was benched on Tuesday but will resume his partnership with Eto’o against a weaker Lecce side.
Possible Line-up: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Rannochia, Chivu; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic; Sneijder; Pazzini, Eto’o
Lecce will is likely to play with a 4-1-4-1 formation with Rosati between the sticks and Ferrario and Fabiano protecting their goalkeeper in the center of defense. Tomovic and Brivio will play in narrow full-back positions pushing Inter to the touchline.
Vives will play in a holding midfield role while Giacomazzi, Bertolacci, Mesbah and Olivera will also support their holding midfielder and try to hit Inter on the counter. Corvia will play the lone striker role and will have to capitalise on any half chances that come his way.
Possible Line-up: Rosati; Tomovic, Ferrario, Fabiano, Brivio; Giacomazzi, Vives, Bertolacci; Olivera, Mesbah; Corvia
Inter Milan: W-D–W-W-L
1. Inter have scored 17 goals in their last five games at San Siro.
2. Lecce’s last win came on February 6 against Juventus.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Samuel Eto’o (Internazionale)
Samuel Eto’o has by far been the best player for Inter and arguably the best player in Italy this season. The ex-Barcelona forward produced one of the greatest performances in the Champions league on Tuesday when he single-handedly helped Inter qualify for the quarter finals ousting Bayern Munich in the process.
A similar performance would be hard to expect considering the striker’s fatigue considering the amount of games and effort he has put in for the champions this season. However, if he does play with equal venom, Lecce could be in for a long night.
Inter Milan 4-1 Lecce
It’s hard to look past a comprehensive win for Inter in this fixture. On one side, Lecce are struggling in 18th place whilst on the other, Inter are flying high after their European triumph. Inter also have the pressure of not losing anymore points before the big derby day against Milan. So, this would be a great chance for them to collect another three points.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST