Relegated Empoli fight until the ends but late strike from Nainggolan lifts Inter into Champions League #162

Score: Inter Milan 2 Empoli 1

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San Siro
Milan Italy

 
Following their loss against Napoli last Sunday Inter welcome visitors Empoli in the final match of the season. Empoli on the other hand are coming off a win. The last time these two sides faced each other Inter won the match 1-0. Overall Inter have won all their matches against Empoli. In this match Inter are hoping to secure third place while hoping that Atalanta losses their match along with a few other clubs results. Whereas Empoli are in a relegation fight and hoping to avoid the drop with a win. Both sides have their goals in mind for wanting this win. Inter in this match will need to finish their scoring chances along with capitalizing on them which they’ve been struggling with that as of late. Defensive wise they need to block Empoli’s chances along with stealing the ball. Empoli will need to do the same thing but need to maintain possession of the ball as Inter are strong in that area. Inter to detour some of Empoli’s chances is utilizing the offside trap as Empoli are caught offside most of the time. This match should be a win for Inter but never count out Empoli a team in a relegation battle as they tend to go all Barcelona on their opponents and will do everything in their powers to stay in the top flight. In the first half both sides would open up multiple chances with Inter taking the lead in this area along with taking hold of dominant possession of the ball. Defensive wise they held Empoli to limited chance and controlled the match in their half of the pitch. But the half would go scoreless as they held each other to a 0-0 draw. Following the break Inter continued their pressure on Empoli but in the fifty first minute the dead lock is broken as Balde finds the back of the net making things 1-0. But Empoli weren’t going to down easily as Traore with fourteen minutes to play makes things all square for his side. But this is followed minutes later with a goal from Radja making it 2-1 to Inter. Inter would then hold on to the final whistle as Inter secure their spot in the Champions League for the second season in a row along with finishing in the top four as well.

 

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In this match Inter would utilize the all to familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. In goal is the man who has won the keeper of the year award and captain of the ship along with key starter Handanovic who has become the leader this team needed. This season he had a total of seventeen clean sheets. On the defense on the left back is Asomah. In the middle is the duo of Skriniar and making his return from injury Devrij these two this season have been a force to be reckoned with as they are strong at defending the ball and helping Inter maintain possession of it as well. Then on the right is D’Ambrosio who has been lackluster most of the season not really doing anything substantial for the team and needs to be sold. On the defensive mid is the pairing of Brozovic and Vecino. On the attacking midfield on the left wing is Perisic despite not having his best season still proves to be a valuable asset to the club by creating chances along with assisting despite not having many goals this season when he does score it looks flawless and same is said of the center mid in this match Radja who as added depth to this area. On the right wing and a player who needs to be bought once the transfer market opens is Politano who is slowly becoming a better player through his time at Inter he has scored more goals than he did at Sassuolo and he has helped with assist and creating chances of his own. Up top is a player with controversy and needs to go is Icardi has he’s been only good at taking penalty kicks and after all the drama him and his wife caused the club doesn’t need that kind of behavior in their midst and should be sold. This is a solid lineup but don’t count out Empoli who will fight tooth and nail to stay in the top flight.

 

 

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After bets were made and final preparations this match gets underway. Minutes into the half Radja looked to put Inter on the board with a shot from outside the box but it gets saved in the lower right corner of the goal. Minutes later Perisic from outside the box takes a shot of his own which also gets saved in the lower right corner of the goal. Vecino in the twelfth minute set up two great chances both from the center of the box but one of his chances gets saved while the other misses the goal by going over the crossbar. Minutes later Devrij sets up a chance of his own as he takes a header from the center of the box but the ball goes to the right of the goal. Inter so far have been the dominant side in both possession and creating chances. Empoli would get their first chance of the match as Caputo takes a shot from the right of the box but the ball goes to the right of the goal. Vecino from outside the box takes a shot but it gets blocked. Radja and Asomah both takes chances from outside the box but both of their attempts miss the goal as one goes to the right and the other goes to the left. Inter have so far not allowed Empoli any breathing room as they’ve continued their pressure on them. If Empoli don’t wake up relegation is in their futures. After the thirty minute mark Empoli get their second chance of the match as Capot again steps up for his side with a shot from the center of the box but it gets saved by Handanovic in the center of the goal. With five minutes in this Inter dominating first half Radja misses a shot from the center of the box as the ball goes to the right. Minutes later Asomah had one final chance to put his side on the board he connects a shot from outside the box but it gets saved in the top left corner with that the halftime whistle blows as this half ends in a 0-0 draw. With all the chances Inter have taken they should’ve easily been on the board by now but if they can do the same thing in the second half and capitalize on their chances and continue to hold Empoli to a stand still this match will be theirs for the taking.

 

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Following the break this match resumes with Inter dominating Empoli in every aspect of the match. Seconds into the half Inter make their first subbing of the match as Keita comes on for Asomah. After the fifty minute mark Keita breaks the deadlock with a shot from outside the box as the ball lands in the lower left corner making it 1-0 to Inter. But seconds later Keita is handed a yellow card following excessive goal celebrating. Icardi a few minutes later wins a penalty kick after being fouled but his penalty is saved which is a shame as that’s the only thing he’s been good for this season. Keita minutes later lands a shot from outside the box but it gets saved in the center of the goal. Inter have done the exact same thing as the first half despite losing a little bit of their hold on the possession. With nineteen minutes to go Inter make their next subbing as Martinez comes on for Icardi. Inter a few minutes later are forced to make their last subbing of the season as Perisic gets injured and with that Dalbert is brought on. Dell’Orco takes a header after a cross from Farias which misses the goal going to the right of the goal. Traore lands a right footed shot which lands in the center of the goal puts things back on even terms with only fourteen minutes left to go in this match. Seconds later Politano looked to get back in the lead with a shot from outside the box but the ball goes over the crossbar. With nine minutes to go Radja lands a shot from the center of the box to the lower left corner making things 2-1 to Inter. Salih would take a couple different chances in the final minutes of the match to get his side back on even terms once more one attempt gets saved while the other gets blocked. But before the half ends Keita gets a red card following a penalty and with that the match ends with Inter securing their spot in the Champions League and sends Empoli down to Serie B.

 

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This was a massive win for Inter as they get their second fourth place finish along with a spot in the Champions League once again. They did a great job creating chances and finishing them. They did a solid job defending the ball with blocking chances and stealing the ball and keeping the match inside Empoli’s half of the pitch. Empoli fought until the very end and it sucks to see them relegated. The man of the match goes to Vecino who did a great job creating chances along with assisting where needed he did a solid job defending the ball as well. Great season Inter. To those who keep up with these articles thank yo without you this wouldn’t be possible and see you all next season. As always Forza Inter.

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By the numbers
Inter Milan
Possession 53%
Shots 28
On target 14
Passes 463
Pass success 88%
Empoli
Possession 47%
Shots 12
On target 4
Passes 417
Pass success 82%
Top of the table
Juventus 28-6-4 90pts
Napoli 24-7-7 79pts
Atalanta 20-9-9 69pts
Inter Milan 20-9-9 69pts
Milan 19-11-8 68pts
Bottom of the table
Fiorentina 8-17-13 41pts
Genoa 8-14-16 38pts
Empoli 10-8-20 38pts
Frosinone 5-10-23 25pts
Cheivo 2-14-22 17pts

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