Inter eliminate Parma, but what a struggle: Acerbi’s header from outside the area is needed in extra time!

Round of 16 of the Italian Cup: Juric brings the Emilians forward, in the final Lautaro finds the equal, then the defender decides in the 110th minute

Inter progressed to the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia, but suffered tremendously against a decent Parma side who came close to winning and fought until extra time. A goal by Acerbi decided after 110 minutes, but Lautaro’s goal was even heavier: the Argentine world champion, 120 seconds from the 90th minute, extended a challenge that up to that moment Pecchia’s men had led with merit. I agree with the various absences and the turnover, but Inzaghi certainly can’t be satisfied with his team’s performance. Saturday against Hellas and in the Italian Super Cup final against Milan scheduled in a week’s time, it will take more. Even Simone knows it well and in the meantime, as reigning champion, avoided a sensational elimination in the round of 16. It would have been a Caporetto.


Without all the starting midfield (Barella, Brozovic and Calhanoglu), Inter started slowly and struggled to find space centrally because Pecchia’s 4-3-3 was transformed into a 4-1-4-1 that had in Bernabé the embankment in front of the defense. The dross of Saturday’s draw in Monza, which the Curva Nord tried to exorcise with an encouragement banner (“-10 and one group to play. Let’s believe together, it can be done”), were felt more in the head than in the legs given the seven changes by Inzaghi compared to the U-Power Stadium. To put the Gialloblù in difficulty, D’Ambrosio and his companions should have exploited more width, but, if on the left Gosens created a couple of dangerous initiatives (one wasted with a shot wide from Gagliardini), on the right Dumfries confirmed to be in full … chaos-market. Since he returned from Qatar, the Dutchman is no longer him and his mind is more in Chelsea than in Pinetina. Gagliardini was also bad, directed by Asllani and Correa who, despite being offside, missed the opening goal into an empty net. The hosts made the match, but it was the ducals who scored and came close to doubling, ahead in the 38th minute at the end of a spectacular action started by a verticalisation by Bernabé, finished off by the spectacular heel of Sohm and concluded by a fireball from Juric’s right winger, who came on a handful of minutes earlier in place of the injured Man. Onana avoided the 2-0, however, good at relaxing on Benedyczak’s blow. Inter were slow, they never used the change of pitch and struggled to find spaces: the ball circulated in a predictable way and it was no coincidence that at half-time they never finished in the mirror defended by Buffon despite having 73% possession. Well done to Parma to play with personality, to never squeeze close to their own area and to not lose the right distance between the departments. Certainly the difference in category has not been seen: thanks to the guests, but above all due to the demerit of the vice-champions of Italy.


Inter started the second half with an oversized shot by Mkhitaryan following a good cross from Dumfries, but then lost their way again and Inzaghi tried to change something by inserting Dimarco all in one fell swoop (as scorer in the three-man defence), Bellanova and Dzeko instead of Bastoni, Dumfries and Armenian. Super offensive Inter with 3-4-1-2 and Correa behind Edin and Lautaro. The Nerazzurri didn’t even shake up hearing the unfriendly chants of their fans and again risked taking the 2-0 on the counterattack. They seemed out of ideas, the draft of the tough formation that had started 2023 by beating Napoli. Pecchia controlled for a long time, defending himself in an orderly manner, and with the substitutions (inside Camara, Inglese, Mihaila and Hainaut) he threw fresh forces onto the field to stop the latest assaults. The “miracle” at San Siro seemed possible until the 88th minute, the minute of the first shot on target: Buffon, an inactive spectator up to that moment, was “chilled” by Lautaro who collected a short clearance from Balogh and, thanks to a detour by Osorio, he hit the mark. On the other hand, the former number one of the national team, at almost 45 and returning after three months of injury, denied Dzeko the 2-1 in full recovery with a feat.


Parma got off to a better start to extra time and, if Inter unsuccessfully claimed a penalty with Correa, it was Onana who rejected a good initiative from Camara and blocked a central blow from Mihaila. The Cameroonian also took a risk on a diagonal shot just wide of Hainaut, triggered by a wrong pass from Gagliardini. The ducals seemed to be one step away from the dream again and instead at the beginning of the second overtime a header from Acerbi, after a rejection by Buffon on a cross from Dimarco, brought Inzaghi’s men forward. Precisely the Lazio defender from whom Sacchi’s “early” whistle on Saturday in Monza had taken away the 3-1 goal that would have closed the match. Parma gave up and Inter, who for the second consecutive year needed a comeback and extra time to get through to the last 16 of the Coppa Italia (Empoli were eliminated twelve months ago), are now waiting for the winner of Atalanta-Spezia .

Inter eliminate Parma, but what a struggle: Acerbi’s header from outside the area is needed in extra time!