Ascoli v Inter Milan: Match-Report
ASCOLI, April 8 (Serie A) - Inter bounced back from a difficult week with elimination against Villareal, and numerous of problems within the squad by beating Ascoli who has surprised Italy with its consistent results. Mancini's job is in danger and it looked for some time that he would coach his last match as the main person on the Inter bench.
Inter managed to turn around an ugly looking match for Roberto Mancini, after Ascoli taking the lead in the first half, and Inter had problems breaking down the Ascoli defence. The victory moves Inter at second place, but with one more match played than their rivals Milan, they will turn their mind on next week's Milan derby to get a hold of the second place.
Inter was finding it difficult to create chances against a compact Ascoli defence which isolated the strikers. The midfielders instead had to get things moving, and it wasn't until playmaker David Pizarro found right winger Santiago Solari in the central of the pitch, that Inter's first chance would be created in the 18th minute. The shot from the former Real Madrid player was too central and went straight into Ferdinando Coppola's arms.
The newcomers of Serie A- Ascoli would take the lead when Fabio Quagliarella went down in the penalty area in a duel with Walter Samuel in the 23rd minute. Michele Fini crossed the ball into Quagliarella who went down the ground after Samuel thugged the striker's shirt, and a controversial penalty was given. Former Inter striker Marco Ferrante sent Toldo the wrong way, and could shoot the ball at the right side, giving Ascoli the lead and Inter's nightmare continues.
Inter failed to work their way back into the match, and Ascoli looked to add further goals, as Ferrante failed converting a good chance with the defence beaten, but the shot was far off the goal. Ferrante who was tightly marked by Samuel, started to gain more space as Inter pushed up their team.
Ascoli kept attacking through their flanks on counter-attacks, and left back Cristiano Del Grosso created a difficult situation for the Nerazzurri, when he found Quagliarella who was given a good chance. However, a sacrificing dive of Walter Samuel blocked the dangerous shot, to deny Ascoli a further goal.
The Nerazzurri tried to attack more and when Obafemi Martins was given the chance, after a pass from Kily Gonzalez, it was too central and Coppola could easily save it.
Shortly after, Ascoli was given another opportunity when Fini who was playing very good in the first half, had a shot from outside the penalty box, just outside of the post.
The Inter striker Julio Cruz was rarely given the chance to score, and the hitman failed to hit the target when given the chance. Cruz was also brought down at the end of the first half when Domizzi makes a foul but the free-kick from Solari was saved by Coppola.
Ascoli had the lead, but when the second half started, Inter coach Roberto Mancini took charge and substituted two players at once. Kily Gonzalez and Walter Samuel was brought off, while Sinisa Mihajlovic and Luis Figo entered the pitch.
Inter would also be awarded a penalty, when they entered the second half looking as a different team. Obafemi Martins was brought down by the keeper Coppola. Julio Cruz converted the penalty to his left and Coppola went at the same direction as the ball, but was too high for him to save.
The Milan outfit started to run the match, and Cruz looked like adding his 12th goal of the season, when David Pizarro found him in the penalty box with a cross, but a disappointing finish from Cruz saw the ball ending up above the crossbar.
Inter would take the lead only five minutes after the equalising goal. Julio Cruz is brought down at the left side of the penalty box, and Sinisa Mihajlovic shows why he used to be the best free-kick taker in the world, and hold the record of goals scored on free-kicks in Serie A. The defender shot the ball over the wall, and into the right hand side of the keeper who didn't manage to save it.
Ascoli struggled to come back into the match, and the pressure that was put on the Inter players was long gone in the second half. Ascoli called for another penalty, when Ferrante crossed the ball into the penalty box, straight at Javier Zanetti's arm, but referee Farina denied them the penalty, due to Zanetti having his arm towards his body.
Inter was looking to finish off the match, but when Pizarro found Cruz with a perfect cross, whose header went into the crossbar, and the rebound was splendidly saved by Coppola at the near left corner with his hands.
Martins would waste another opportunity as Mihajlovic converted yet another free-kick and with a dodgy save Coppola saved it to a rebound to Martins who could not put the ball back in the net as Coppola made a splendid foot-parade.
Julio Cruz would be sent off with four minutes to go, after picking up two yellow cards in the same sequence. Cruz fouls Foggia, for which he was yellow carded, but after sarcastically applauding referee Farina, he received his second yellow card and was shown off the pitch. The red card would not come at a worse time, where he will miss the Milan derby on Friday.
Mancini decided to put Materazzi on to defend the lead, and taking out Solari. Ascoli came close to a late equaliser when in the last minute substitute Giampa was not able to head the cross he received from Foggia past Toldo.
I can publish this, since this is only my trial match-report and won't be published.