Inter 1-0 Udinese: Report, Ratings & Reaction as I Nerazzurri Hold Out for Tense Win at San Siro

Inter continued their winning start to the new Serie A campaign under Antonio Conte, beating Udinese 1-0 on Saturday evening in a tight and cagey affair.

Udinese forward Rodrigo De Paul received a first-half red card, when he needlessly slapped Inter winger Antonio Candreva across the face, leaving the referee no choice but to dismiss the Argentine star. 

Nerazzurri midfielder Stefano Sensi punished the away side soon after with a superb header, darting into the box and latching onto a Diego Godin cross. 

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Udinese struggled to create many clear-cut opportunities, Kevin Lasagna firing a rare chance wide of goal when he shrugged Godin off the ball. Conte’s side were comfortable throughout and will be disappointed not to have added to their tally in the second half. 


Inter 

Key Talking Point 

The San Siro was treated to their first glimpse of ?Alexis Sanchez in a blue and black shirt against Udinese, coming on as a 78th minute substitute. 

The Chilean forward arrived on loan from ?Manchester United, and after a difficult spell at the Premier League club, the footballing world was curious about how he will perform in a new environment. 


The former Udinese man looked lively upon his arrival, and desperate to make a contribution on his Inter debut. Sanchez certainly has a lot to prove after his wretched spell in Manchester, and he’ll be keen to show what he’s capable of during his second spell in Italy. 


 Player Ratings 

Starting XI: ?Handanovic (7); Godín (7), De Vrij (7), Skriniar (8); Candreva (6), Barella (7), Brozovic (7), Sensi (9), Asamoah (8); Lukaku (7), Politano (8).

Substitutes: Gagliardini (7), Martinez (6) Sanchez (6).


STAR MAN – Since his summer arrival from Sassuolo, Sensi has been an absolute revelation in the Inter midfield. His performances have earned him a place in Roberto Mancini’s Italy side, and he continues to go from strength to strength. 

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Sensi’s game has improved significantly under Conte, and he is becoming a perfect box-to-box midfielder, adding goals to his already impressive game. The 24-year-old controlled the match from the midfield, and gave Udinese little chance of sparking a comeback at the San Siro. 


Udinese

Key Talking Point 

Not much competition for this section tonight. Udinese were under pressure, but coping nicely until De Paul’s moment of madness midway through the first half. The Argentine star let all of his teammates and supporters down with a needless slap across Candreva’s face. 

A clear rush of blood to the head cost his side tonight, but Candreva’s overreaction was equally as blood-boiling. His extravagant collapse to the floor and cry in pain contributed to De Paul’s departure, but the Udinese forward can blame no one but himself. 


Player Ratings

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Starting XI: Musso (7); Opaku (7), Rodrigo (6), De Maio (7); Larsen (6), Jajalo (7), Fofana (8), Walace (7), Sema (6); Lasagna (7), De Paul (3).

Substitutes: Barak (6), Mandragora (6), Pussetto (5).


STAR MAN – Seko Fofana was an absolute powerhouse in the heart of the Udinese midfield, and the Ivory Coast international can consider himself very unfortunate to be on the losing side on Saturday evening. 

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The Udinese man chased down every ball and broke up so many Inter attacks, as I Nerazzurri tried to put the match to bed. Fofana covered the ground which De Paul’s dismissal left, and he provided a calm head in possession for I Friulani. 


Looking Ahead 

Inter begin their Champions League adventure on Tuesday evening when they host Slavia Prague, before taking on rivals AC Milan in the highly anticipated ‘Derby di Milano’ on Saturday evening. 

Udinese will be keen to get back to winning ways when they entertain newly-promoted side Brescia on Saturday afternoon. 


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Jurgen Klopp Provides Injury Update on Liverpool Striker Divock Origi Following Newcastle Win

?Liverpool’s Champions League hero Divock Origi is set to have a scan on an ankle injury which forced him to leave the pitch midway through the first half against Newcastle on Saturday afternoon. 

The Reds went on to win the match 3-1 thanks to a brace from Sadio Mané and a lovely strike by Mohamed Salah, but concerns lingered over the wellbeing of Origi, who twisted his ankle in a challenge with Newcastle forward Miguel Almiron. 

Speaking after the match, Jurgen Klopp confirmed that the Belgian forward will have a scan, and as reported by ?Sky Sports, the German boss is hopeful that the injury is not too serious. 

“Unfortunately ?Divock twisted his ankle early in the game, and had to come off.

“We all hope it’s not that serious, or that he could’ve played on, which is hopefully a sign that it’s not that serious.

He’s having a scan, he’s in really good shape though and hopefully they’ll find it’s okay.”

Klopp also admitted that he’d got his tactics slightly wrong for the game, starting Origi on the left and ?Mané down the middle of the Reds’ attack. The 52-year-old soon swapped the two players back to their usual positions, and the change was decisive, as ?Liverpool quickly turned the tide of the match.  

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“It was my decision to start him on the left and Sadio in the middle, we’ve seen it work before, but it didn’t work today against such a deep defending side. 

“That’s why we changed it in the game too.”

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?Leicester City Are Easy on the Eye But They’re Not Quite Ready to Break Into the Top 6 – Yet

From Old Trafford – Leicester are a force to be reckoned with this. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but from back to front, the team has a lovely balance to it.

With Kasper Schmeichel bringing energy, experience and a calmness between the sticks; Caglar Soyuncu and Jonny Evans give stability at the back; Ben Chilwell and Ricardo Pereira are both technically excellent forward-thinking full backs; Youri Tielemens, Wifred Ndidi and Hamza Choudhury bring a lovely blend of muscle and technical ability in midfield.

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Moving forward they possess a plethora of options in attack, with Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez having to settle for a place on the bench against Manchester United on Saturday to make space for the creative flair of James Maddison, the direct running of Demarai Gray and the Pace and finishing of Jamie Vardy.

On the face of it, you’d say they are a team perfectly equipped to go to Old Trafford, go toe to toe with their hosts, look into the whites of their opponents’ eyes and, to a man, think:

‘We should be winning here lads.’

Unfortunately for Leicester, things didn’t exactly go as planned.

And that’s not because they’re not a great team. On the contrary in fact as – weirdly – right now, it’s actually probably in your interest to be slightly worse than ?Man Utd.

Teams like Southampton and Crystal Palace have shown in recent weeks that what’s required to get the better of United, is to be incredibly tough to breakdown and look to take advantage of United’s inevitable lapses in concentration.

For better or for worse, this just isn’t who Leicester are. 

As predicted, they took the game to the home side. 

The opening exchanges were frenzied and entertaining, but for both sides the pace of the game was unsustainable. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that once Rashford calmly took his penalty after a poorly judged challenge from Soyuncu, the game evened out and it then became hard for Leicester to break United down.

Brendan Rodgers said in his post match press conference: “Our Idea was to try and press the game.” A tactic that many thought that would work, but it’s tough to do that once you’re a goal down. 

Post-penalty, the visitors had to face up to the fact that the game could be played entirely as United wanted it to be, and at a pace they could manage effectively. 

This is not to say that United were dominant, ?Leicester bossed possession, but were frustrated by a compact United side. 

Nemanja Matic,Jamie Vardy,Demarai Gray

In truth, other than an early chance for Maddison and Creswell’s dipping volley – which De Gea tipped over – Leicester never truly troubled the United goal, and even with a nervy ending to the contest which involved Kasper Schmeichel trundling forward for a corner, they failed to cause the same level of chaos that we saw them produce in patches against Chelsea. 

When Leicester do on the foot they are a beautiful side to watch.

Brendan Rodgers is right to believe that they haven’t yet reached their potential. 

There should be a cautious optimism about how high they can fly, because, the higher that Leicester soar the more likely they are to, occasionally, get burned by teams like Man Utd. 

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Liverpool Defender Andy Robertson Praises ‘Frightening’ Teammate Roberto Firmino

?Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson was keen to heap praise on his teammate Roberto Firmino, describing the Brazilian as ‘frightening’, following the Reds’ 3-1 victory over Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.

Firmino started the afternoon on the Liverpool bench, but was soon brought into the action when Divock Origi went off injured in the first half. The 27-year-old’s introduction changed the game entirely, and he played a crucial role in Liverpool’s final two goals. 

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His impact on the team has not gone unnoticed by his teammates either, as Robertson heaped praise on his Liverpool colleague in the 25-year-old’s post-match interview, as reported by ?Metro. 

The Scottish international especially enjoyed Firmino’s incredible assist for the Merseyside club’s third goal, bamboozling the defence with a deft flick straight into the path of teammate ?Mohamed Salah, whose goal put the game beyond the away side. 

‘It was a special goal,’ Robertson said. ‘Bobby’s [Firmino] vision is frightening and Mo’s finished it off. 3-1 after a tough international break is always a good result.”

?Liverpool had fallen behind thanks to a stunning strike from full-back Jetro Willems, but a brace from ?Sadio Mané meant that Jurgen Klopp’s side went into half-time leading the contest. 

?Firmino controlled the game as it wore on, providing some genuine moments of class, putting his teammates in on goal with impressive tricks and flicks. 

The ?Newcastle defence simply couldn’t cope with the ex-Hoffenheim forward, and succumbed to an inevitable defeat. Liverpool fans will be hoping for more of the same from their terrifying trio of strikers, when the Reds face Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday evening. 

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RB Leipzig 1-1 Bayern Munich: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Die Roten Miss Chance to Go Top

?Bayern Munich drew 1-1 against title contenders RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena on Saturday as the reigning Bundesliga champions could not move to the top of the table at their rival’s expense. 

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring brilliantly two minutes after beating the offside trap thanks to superb work from Thomas Muller. Die Roten dominated proceedings and looked to secure a second, but it was Leipzig who managed to score next.

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Just before half-time, as Lucas Hernandez gave away a penalty which was dispatched calmly by Emil Forsberg. The second half was largely dominated by Leipzig but Niklas Sule managed to come closest when hitting the bar with the last shot of the game.

A draw is perhaps the right outcome but with Dortmund beating 4-0 over Leverkusen earlier, both sides will rue the missed opportunities they had to secure three points.


RB LEIPZIG

Key Talking Point

This game proved that Julian Nagelsmann’s side still have a lot to improve on. They could not get a look-in in the first half and a lucky penalty win against the run of play helped them gain momentum.

With that being said, they gave the reigning ?Bundesliga champions a run for their money and were superb in the second half with their brilliant high pressing and build-up play.

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This fixture has proved that the young side have what it takes to challenge for the title and fans of the Bundesliga should be excited to see what Nagelsmann’s outfit can produce this campaign. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Gulacsi (6); Mukiele (6), Konate (7), Orban (6); Klostermann (6), Forsberg (7), Lainer (7), Halstenberg (6); Sabitzer (7), Poulsen (8); Werner (6).

Substitutes: Demme (6), Nkunku (6), Cunha (6). 


STAR PLAYER – Even though Forsberg dispatched the penalty giving Leipzig the point, it was Yussuf Poulsen who deserves this award.

The Dane won the penalty with some clever striker play but it was his presence and disruptiveness that was crucial to Leipzig’s performance today. His speed and size meant he was a constant threat even if his side were not in possession.

He was instrumental in setting up clear cut chances for the likes of Timo Werner and Marcel Sabitzer and thus deserves the star player award.

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BAYERN MUNICH

Key Talking Point

?Bayern started ferociously with a great goal from Lewandowski putting them ahead and they continued to dominate the game in the first half. A blend of plenty of good chances, solid defending and rarely any mistakes meant this was probably the best football they have played this campaign so far.

However, the second half was a different story. Leipzig came out strong and the Bavarians seemed a little bit rattled. Niko Kovac’s side did manage to improve throughout the half but could not manage to get the all-important winner.

Niko Kovac

It was a decent performance but Kovac and his side still have to improve especially considering that the gulf in quality means they should be storming through the league. Every game that isn’t a win adds pressure to the manager and he needs to find the solutions quickly.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Neuer (7); Pavard (7), Boateng (6), Süle (6), Lucas (6); Thiago (7), Kimmich (7); Gnabry (7), Muller (7), Coman (8); Lewandowski (7).

Substitutes: Tolisso (6), Davies (6), Coutinho (6).


STAR PLAYER – There were several great performances in the Bayern squad but Robert Lewandowski was the standout player. His goal was crucial to set the tone of the match even if Bayern were unable to capitalise on it.

There is not much that is needed to say about the Polish forward. His overall play is one of the best in the world alongside his clinical finishing and strong aerial threat. The 31-year-old has been on red hot form this campaign and doesn’t show signs of slowing down despite his age.

Lewandowski is undoubtedly a crucial part of this team and Kovac will be thanking his lucky stars that he has a player of his ilk at the club.



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Looking Ahead ?

Bayern needed that win to take the lead of the Bundesliga from Leipzig as the title race starts to heat up, but could not manage it. They showed glimpses of their talent but were left to a rue a mistake from record signing Lucas Hernandez.

Die Roten next welcome FC Koln in what should be an easy win for the Bavarian giants as they look to get a good run of wins underway. Leipzig go away to Werder Bremen and will want to take three points in what should be an easy win.


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