Defender Cristian Ansaldi solid for Inter Milan in draw against Torino
Inter came away from the Stadio Olimpico with a hard-earned 2-2 draw. A typically crazy Turinese game seemed to be going well when Geoffrey Kondogbia slotted a finish past goalkeeper Joe Hart's butter fingers, only for the home side to level within six minutes, Daniele Baselli making the most of some horrific marking from Ivan Perisic on a corner.
Concern turned to fear when Torino ramped up the pressure after the half-time break, earning a deserved second thanks to an Afriyie Acquah wonder goal. It took a second clanger from Hart to rescue Inter, Antonio Candreva firing the ball in after the Englishman whiffed on a cross. An exciting, end-to-end affair could have gone either way, the Nerazzurri fluffing two glorious chances through Perisic at the death.
The game was entertaining and the defenders looked tidy, ironic for a two-goal performance -- after all, Andrea Belotti was kept goalless. Despite some insane fear-mongering in certain newspapers, Inter dropping points in Turin is perfectly understandable, especially when their opponents played to their potential. The result was fair for a Nerazzurri team which didn't create too much, but was reactive enough to get straight back into it.
The first half was a a dismal showing of careless errors, Inter giving the ball away almost as much as Torino. Perisic completely forgot Baselli for the equaliser. It was irritating to see both Baselli and Acquah play their best games in a while, suppressing Inter's central midfield in the early second half. Acquah is 25, and probably has no more than fifteen more Serie A goals in him due to his shaky technique, yet he still managed to score against Inter.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Hard to see how Stefano Pioli can be blamed for his player not focusing. Could have potentially shaken them up with an earlier change, but he was repaid by Eder within seconds of coming on, and Marcelo Brozovic was very good, too.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Samir Handanovic, 7 -- Blameless on the goals, made two key saves but looked a bit shaky coming off his line.
DF Danilo D'Ambrosio, 6 -- Decent defensive work and tried to combine with Candreva.
DF Gary Medel, 6 -- Was subbed off early having made a couple of clever tackles, but also stopped playing when the ball struck Belotti's arm: what if the referee hadn't seen it?
DF Miranda, 7 -- Cleverly shored up the middle and made Belotti work very hard, forcing the Italian striker to try to go round. That didn't work, either.
DF Cristian Ansaldi, 7 -- One of his best games in a Nerazzurri shirt, but needs to iron out certain inaccuracies -- one misplaced pass costing Inter a counter. Very sharp in the tackle despite the presence of Davide Zappacosta (who didn't have an end product despite making some very promising runs) and kept bolting it down the line.
MF Roberto Gagliardini, 6 -- Wasteful in attack, firing over an easy chance early on. Then again, his great runs led to both opportunities.
MF Geoffrey Kondogbia, 7 -- Brilliant tackler, horrible passer -- so much so that Ever Banega had to ask him to go for the simple ball sideways! His lunge to block Lucas Boye's attempt was sensational, as was the dribbling which led to his opener. Joe Hart's save... not so much.
MF Antonio Candreva, 5 -- Made a stunning pass into Mauro Icardi early on and had the presence of mind and coolness to slot in the equaliser. Was otherwise wasteful, choosing to dribble (and failing) on a promising counter and gifting Torino a glaring chance of their own. Pioli wanted to sub him off before Torino's second, only to change his mind and hook Eder.
MF Ever Banega, 5 -- A couple of nice back heels and a beauty into the box for Icardi, but was otherwise not involved. Needs to prove he can play away against four-man defences.
MF Ivan Perisic, 5 -- Would get more for the relentless running if it wasn't for wasting two glorious chances later on. Arsenal would be insane to trade Alexis Sanchez for him: Perisic is 28, misses the target all too often and still struggles to beat players with the dribble.
FW Mauro Icardi, 6 -- Didn't miss any glaring chances and looked reasonable in possession, though a back heel could have been dumped on Perisic better. His instincts are so sharp that he can barge past Emiliano Moretti and still get something on the ball, only for Hart to pull of a stunner and keep it out.
DF Jeison Murillo, 6 -- Actually makes less obvious positional mistakes than Gary Medel. Some food for thought for Coach Pioli.
FW Eder, 7 -- Warmed Hart's gloves with a sensational strike and nearly made a goal mere seconds after Torino's second. This is what an impact substitution looks like.
MF Marcelo Brozovic, 7 -- Got very few minutes, sure, but Inter's midfield was mysteriously quicker at shifting the ball forwards, once picking out Perisic with a crisp beauty. May need to be benched from time to time to keep him from getting too cocky.
Edoardo Dalmonte covers Inter Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @EdoDalmonte.