There aren’t many Serie A sides to come up against than Ivan Juric’s Torino when you desperately need a win to prove doubters wrong following two consecutive defeats.
This is the situation which Inter found themselves in on Saturday afternoon, when they hosted the Granata in front of 69,134 fans who were curious to find out whether their side are still to be considered Scudetto contenders, or if they simply need re-evaluate their ambitions.
While Inter’s late 1-0 win is far from being a statement of intent, it can help leave behind them the fear and uncertainty which have characterised their recent outings.
Inter’s fearful approach against combative Torino
While the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza can be an incredible booster for the team’s performances, it can have the opposite effect when confidence runs low and your top form has yet to be reached.
Ivan Juric, whose sides are renowned for their combative attitude, was obviously aware of such a juncture and did all he could to make the hosts’ life even more difficult.
Torino’s trademark man-oriented pressing, aimed at hindering Inter’s build-up, posed a significant risk to the home players, who knew well where a potential mistake could have led them.
All of this resulted in a very poor first half from the Nerazzurri, who failed to muster a single shot on target for the first time during Simone Inzaghi’s tenure in a league match, with several players looking frightened to take initiative.
A few boos were heard as Torino’s players blocked all the passing lanes, forcing Inter to move the ball slower than they wished, while the Granata had the most cut-clear chance of the first half through Nikola Vlasic.
Inzaghi’s changes turned the tide
The plot was barely different in the opening stages of the second half, until Simone Inzaghi decided to make some tweaks – heavily criticised in the past, and rightly so, the manager’s changes proved pivotal in helping Inter win the game.
As Alessandro Bastoni and Joaquin Correa came off the bench, Inter started gaining ground and gradually forced Torino into their own box, also stinging Milinkovic-Savic’s gloves more than once.
After what was everything but a brilliant display, Nicolò Barella still had the clarity of mind to perfectly set up Marcelo Brozovic two minutes before injury time, as the Croat gave the Inter fans the moment of jubilation they had been waiting for the whole game.
The joy and energy showed by all Inter players and staff during the celebrations could make one think that they’ll be able to build on this crucial moment, but it’ll still take some time to see if the Nerazzurri have finally recovered or if Brozovic’s late winner was simply a painkiller.