By David Rodich
Due to an ever-growing list of injuries and suspensions, Inter fielded a patchwork starting eleven Sunday against Palermo, including newly purchased Ranocchia and irregular starters Coutinho and Stanton. The side’s new faces, including Kharja and Pazzini – who came in at halftime, would prove themselves instrumental in the outcome of the match, especially Pazzini who netted two important goals in his Inter debut.
The first half was characterized for the Nerazzurri by defensive breakdowns and missed chances. It was Stanton’s early defensive mishap that led to Palermo’s first goal in just the 5th minute, and in the 35th it was an overall porous defense that allowed Nocerino to put away a rebound from a blocked shot to make it 2-0. Inter had a bounty of chances themselves but were never able to capitalize.
After a halftime shuffle that saw Stanton and Coutinho subbed out, Zanetti moved to left back and Kharja and Pazzini brought on, Inter began the second half determined to pull themselves back into the match. The changes payed early dividends. In the 57th minute, after being fed by Kharja, Pazzini received the ball with his back to goal, turned and fired through the defender’s legs into the far corner. The newly bought striker from Sampdoria struck again by heading in a Maicon free kick to equalize, and then proved himself instrumental yet another time by earning a penalty that was converted by Eto’o into Inter’s match-winning goal.
The new striker Giampaolo Pazzini had this to say about the match. “I couldn’t have dreamt of a better debut. Inter have shown everybody that we’re very much in the mix.”
Leonardo added. “No matter what they find themselves up against, this Inter team are always able to dig deep and come up with something. Coming back to win this game is a great sign.”