19:30 BST, Sunday 26 August – Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (Milan)
An opening day defeat ended hopes of a flying start for Inter and prompted fresh criticism of Coach Luciano Spalletti’s approach last weekend. Expect the technician to make changes ahead of the first home game of the season.
Inter have a stronger squad this term and there is a demand for improvement. Anything less than three points would see further pressure mount on the 59-year-old boss.
Torino also lost on the opening day, falling 1-0 at home to Roma. That result did not surprise but the team from Turin performed well and will not fear a trip to Milan.
The Granata are unbeaten in their last three matches against Inter and drew here last year so will be confident of taking something from the game.
Last Time Out
Sassuolo 1-0 Inter (Serie A)
Inter’s bogey team Sassuolo dished out more misery for Spalletti’s men, taking all three points in their opening day clash.
A first-half spot kick from Domenico Berardi proved decisive as the Nerazzurri faltered in front of the goal.
The home side took the initiative, penning Inter inside their own half in the opening exchanges. Inter responded, Icardi forcing goalkeeper Consigli into action with two half chances.
The key moment occurred in the 27th minute as Di Francesco drew contact from Miranda, earning his side a penalty which Berardi converted.
Spalletti reacted, bringing on Ivan Perisic for Dalbert after the break. The Croatian sprung into action with a volleyed effort that missed the target. A dominant spell for Inter followed but they could not capitalise and Sassuolo regained control of the game.
The Neroverdi almost extended their lead in the 65th minute when Boateng’s effort hit the post while Icardi missed a great chance to draw Inter level just a few minutes later.
More substitutions and some late pressure from Inter proved in vain as the hosts held on for the win.
Torino 1-0 Roma (Serie A)
Torino opened their account with a defeat to top-four hopefuls Roma.
Few gave the hosts a chance in the contest but they held their own until the 89th minute when Edin Dzeko struck the crucial blow.
Walter Mazzarri’s men thought they had won the game minutes earlier but the official ruled out Iago Falque’s goal for offside following a VAR review.
The visitors had the bulk of the chances and Dzeko’s volley alone was worthy of all three points. However, the home side performed well and should arrive in Milan in good spirits.
Expect changes as Spalletti looks for his first win.
Sime Vrsaljko and Kwadwo Asamoah are favourites to occupy the fullback positions while Milan Skriniar could step in for Miranda at centre back.
Ivan Perisic could start after impressing last weekend while Vecino could drop to the bench at Nainggolan’s expense as the Inter boss implements a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Torino Predicted Lineup:
Walter Mazzarri is unlikely to make too many changes after his team’s solid display against Roma.
However, Cristian Ansaldi could step in for Alejandro Berenguer to face his former club while new signing Roberto Soriano could make his first start at the expense of Daniele Baselli.
Key Battle: Luciano Spalletti (Inter) vs Walter Mazzarri (Torino)
Last season, the two coaches met in the dugout for the first time as Mazzarri guided Torino to a 1-0 win over Inter. After the game, the two exchanged words and a rather awkward handshake. Spalletti later accused his opposite number of being afraid to shake his hand.
The rivalry between the two dates back to 1991 when Mazzarri replaced Spalletti as a player at Tuscan club Viareggio. The man from the Tuscan hills was not happy at being replaced by a man from the coast and made it known by questioning the physical strength of his adversary.
All eyes will be on the dugouts on Sunday to see if there any mileage left in this 27-year-old geographical grievance.
Could Spalletti be first boss sacked if Inter lose to Torino?
Last season, a final day win at Lazio powered Inter into the Champions League and probably kept Luciano Spalletti in a job.
The coach dissatisfied many at the club with his decision making but with the aim of a top four finish achieved; the club’s executives backed him in the summer transfer market.
During the defeat to Sassuolo on the opening day, Spalletti looked frustrated and stressed by what was occurring on the pitch and there are signs he is already feeling the pressure.
Another defeat this weekend would raise the pressure levels even further and with the likes of former Juventus boss Antonio Conte still available, the Chinese owners might think again about their decision to show faith in the man from Tuscany.
Prediction: Inter 1-1 Torino
Inter’s recent record against Torino is not great and their desperation for a win might cost them against a side full of energy and dangerous on the counterattack.
Torino played well in the opener against Roma and look good value for at least at a point in Milan.
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