Inter travel to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Saturday night to face Genoa (kick off 20:45 CET), knowing that anything other than a win could end any hopes of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.
Inter come into this game on the back of a 2-1 defeat in last weekend’s Derby D’Italia against Juventus which was the Nerazzurri’s first loss in over two months.
Inter sit in 8th place in the Serie A table, 4 points behind their opponents Genoa, who are in 6th place but due to Genoa being denied a UEFA licence, 7th place, currently held by Sampdoria will qualify for the Europa League. The Blucherchiati sit two points ahead of Inter with games against Empoli and Parma left so they are seen as big favourites for European qualification.
Genoa have been in great form lately with six wins in their last eight matches with thumping wins over Torino 5-1 and Atalanta 4-1 in their last two matches.
However despite having a great season so far it was revealed in midweek that the club had missed a deadline to name a suitable stadium to play in, with their home ground in need of redevelopment work to meet UEFA standards.
Genoa will appeal the ruling which now means they won’t play in Europe but have admitted their chances are slim. The same situation happened to Parma last season, who finished 6th and were denied entry to Europe.
Here is the Inter team news and probable line up as reported by GDS:
Samir Handanovic will start despite his howler that gave Juventus victory last weekend.
The defence could see some change as Nemanja Vidic has been suffering with back pain and will miss this game. Juan Jesus is expected to move into the centre back role to partner captain Andrea Ranocchia. At right back Danilo D’Ambrosio should start but at left back could come a surprise with Yuto Nagatomo seen as favourite over Davide Santon.
The midfield three is expected to stay the same with Gary Medel partnered by Croatian duo Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic. Fredy Guarin misses the game with injury.
In the trequartista role Hernanes is expected to replace the out of form Xherdan Shaqiri after missing the last match through suspension.
Up front Inter will start with Rodrigo Palacio (Ex Genoa) and Mauro Icardi (Ex Sampdoria). Lukas Podolski misses the game with a thigh strain.
Probable Inter line up (subject to change): (4-3-1-2) Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia (c), Juan Jesus, Nagatomo, Medel, Brozovic, Kovacic, Hernanes, Icardi, Palacio.
Bench: Carrizo, Berni, Andreolli, Campagnaro, Santon, Felipe, Donkor, Di Marco, Obi, Kuzmanovic, Gnoukouri, Puscas, Shaqiri, Bonazzoli.
In the reverse fixture this season, Inter beat Genoa 3-1 at the San Siro with goals from Palacio, Icardi and Vidic.
In last season’s game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa won 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Luca Antonelli.
That win was Genoa’s only win in their last 19 matches against Inter, with the Nerazzurri winning 12 of those games.
Inter have won their last 3 away matches with wins against Lazio (2-1), Udinese (2-1) and Verona (3-0).
Genoa have won their last 3 home matches with victories over Torino (5-1), Cesena (3-1) and Cagliari (2-0).
Player to Watch: Hernanes – The Brazilian was sorely missed by Inter last week against Juventus as Xherdan Shaqiri continues to struggle.
My Prediction: Genoa 1-2 Inter
Scorers: Bertolacci (Genoa), Hernanes, Palacio (Inter)
Officials: Referee: Paolo Tagliavento Assistants: Dobosz, Marrazzo
Fourth Official: Vivenzi Additional Assistants: Peruzzo, Tommasi
Author’s Note: This will be an intriguing game. Genoa will be disappointed after UEFA’s decision to deny them a place in Europe but they are in great form. I’m optimistic that Inter can win this not only for their good recent record against Genoa but for the fact that Inter play with more confidence away from the San Siro.