STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – Inter once again fell to a shock home defeat, this time suffered at the hands of Monza, who have former Nerazzurri youth product Luca Caldirola to thank for scoring the second-half goal that sealed a 1-0 win.
It was a victory that stopped Simone Inzaghi’s side from reentering the Serie A top four at the expense of AC Milan.
Caldirola’s goal came from a corner after almost 80 minutes of play that had seen the Nerazzurri trapped in what is worryingly becoming a trademark pattern, with their pathologic inability to transform their territorial supremacy into chances.
Inzaghi’s mild rotations not enough to inspire Inter
Despite their upcoming Champions League clash against Benfica, Simone Inzaghi made limited rotations as he only rested Lautaro Martinez, Marcelo Brozovic and Francesco Acerbi, replacing them with Joaquin Correa, Kristjan Asllani and Stefan De Vrij respectively.
The coach’s decisions further underlined how imperative it was for Inter to leave with all three points, especially on a matchday kicked off by AC Milan’s draw at Bologna, meaning that the Nerazzurri had the chance to leapfrog their city rivals to go fourth.
While many fans had their minds already projected to the European fixture, the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza was almost packed to push the hosts past a Monza side that, in spite of going through a dip in form, managed to keep Inter away from their goal for the opening 20 minutes.
Shortly after came Michele Di Gregorio’s first save of the night, and it was a great one, as he dived to keep out Correa’s precise, low drive.
While the Biancorossi struggled to retain possession, the Nerazzurri gradually took control of the game in the first-half but failed to find the required spark in the final third, and the feeling was that the visitors could still be dangerous on the break.
Bold Monza take advantage of recurring Inter drama
Monza seemed to opt for a bolder approach after the break, knowing that Inter would inevitably leave gaps to go in search of an opener, which almost came through Romelu Lukaku, whose header was nicely parried by Di Gregorio.
Signs of frenzy and tension started to emerge between the hosts, and Monza almost took advantage of an increasingly heated atmosphere when a quick counter-attack ended with Dany Mota Carvalho bending his left-footed attempt just inches over Andre Onana’s bar.
Simone Inzaghi tried to shake his side into life with a triple change that saw Brozovic, Hakan Calhanoglu and Lautaro Martinez come off the bench but, once again, the Nerazzurri were punished by a mocking fate that had former Inter player Luca Caldirola head a corner into the back of the net to put the visitors ahead shortly before the 80-minute mark.
Lautaro wasted an almost immediate chance to put things level as he headed a corner just wide in stoppage time, before Edin Dzeko incredibly failed to meet the ball after a flick to the far post in the dying seconds of the game, forcing Inter’s 11th Serie A defeat to give third-placed AS Roma a golden chance to open up a five-point gap over the Nerazzurri with a win against Udinese on Sunday.