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Eyes on the opponent – The ride with Semplici, a fluctuating performance and Petagna: discovering the Spal


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The success against Slavia Praga , which has given enthusiasm to the Nerazzurri environment and reignited its hopes of qualifying in the Champions League, is now behind us. The present, at Inter, sees the delicate match against a fierce Spal : the goal for Antonio Conte and his men is to confirm the growth path started at the beginning of this season. The kick-off of the challenge will be today at 15:00 at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in Milan.


In the first days of the championship, the Estense line-up found not a few difficulties: after two seasons ended with salvation, the Spal represents one of the most solid realities of the championship. However the sale of the most important player, that Manuel Lazzari passed in the summer to Lazio, has complicated Mr. Semplici's plans, which saw a crucial element missing in his chessboards.

Also for this reason Spal struggled to get started in this tournament start. In fact, there have only been two successes so far. The first was picked up just against the Lazio that bought the most talented player, with a network of Kurtic in the final minutes that completed the comeback after the initial Biancoceleste advantage.

The second success came within the home walls, against Parma. In this challenge it was Petagna who signed the decisive goal, scoring the goal of the defended advantage with his teeth despite the expulsion of Gabriel Strefezza .

The three points are missing from the beginning of October, but in the meantime the Spal managed to bring home heavy draws, like the one against Napoli . In the last two meetings, then, the Estensi have collected two points without being defeated: which is why the Nerazzurri should not underestimate today's commitment.


There was a time, when he was in the Milan youth academy, in which Andrea Petagna was considered one of the most interesting emerging talents among those present in the Italian football scene. The first years of his career, however, were not simple, and the striker struggled to get rid of the label of the eternal unfinished.

True, at the beginning of a career something more could be expected, but for years Petagna has been permanently in Serie A and is a danger that the Nerazzurri rearguard will necessarily have to take into account. After the exploit with Giampiero Gasperini and his Atalanta, the striker chose to pass in the quiet town of Este, where he suffers little competition in attack and is permanently among the protagonists.

In this first part of the season he has already scored four goals, the last of which came in last week's match against Genoa , also contributing to the two successes against Lazio and Parma. Within the schemes of Semplici Petagna seems able to fit in best to show off, so much so that in recent weeks there has been talk of Inter's interest. One more reason not to miss today's match.


There are no simple matches in Serie A, as any opponent can put a spoke in the wheel even for big ones. A speech that applies to any club, but even more so for a team as difficult as the Spal, which among its victims boasts several renowned companies.

Already in this championship against Lazio they lost points both Lazio and Napoli (who faced the challenge in one of the hottest moments of his season), while last year there are several noble clubs that have fallen in front of the men of Leonardo Semplici. The first was the Atalanta, defeated by two goals to zero at the start of the season thanks to a brace from the great ex of the challenge, that Petagna area that until recently wore the Nerazzurri shirt.

After putting Inter in difficulty, the Este family found a very heavy success at the Olimpico against Roma . The Spal represents a real black beast for the Giallorossi team, which against Semplici's men was defeated also in the second leg, this time for two to one. The most illustrious victim, however, is Juventus , a two-on-one defeat in April: the meeting against the Italian champions was decided by Floccari and Bonfiazi .

Conte at the conference talked about the need to keep concentration high, especially after a success as heavy as the one against Slavia. Doing so will be crucial, because Spal has proven not to forgive mistakes.


When Leonardo Semplici sat on the Spal bench, the team had been in Lega Pro for several years now: Serie A was a distant memory about fifty years old, present only in grandparents' stories to grandchildren. However, the ascent made with the Tuscan technician at the wheel was slow but constant, and brought the club permanently in A, a category maintained for years.

Only two seasons were enough to achieve an extraordinary success in the league, which brought the Este team to B. Thanks to the foresight of the company, which worked accurately in the construction of the team, Spal did not want to stop. The first attempt in the second series was a long triumphal journey, culminating with the joy given by the promotion in A.

No fear even at the highest level for the men of Semplici, who have consistently maintained their game ideas. To achieve salvation, in the first season, it took a lot of effort: the Este family struggled with their hearts, closing seventeenth.

Everything was easier last year, also thanks to the definitive exploit of Manuel Lazzari , who brought his team up to the thirteenth position. Now the waters are less calm, but the Spal has learned to fight with the heart, with the desire to overcome difficulties once again.


To find the first confrontation between Inter and Spal, it is necessary to bring back the hands of the time until October 28th 1952, when the two clubs concluded the meeting on the 1-1. Since then estensi and nerazzurri have found themselves in front in other thirty-eight occasions, with the balance clearly in favor of the Milanese, who have prevailed for twenty-seven times. The biancazzurri hits are only four, while eight draws.

The game was absent for more than fifty years, coinciding with Spal's absence from Serie A. However, in these broad spans, the two clubs crossed paths on three occasions at the turn of the end of the seventies and the beginning of the eighties in the Coppa Italia (which at the time still included the group stage).

Even considering exclusively the last two years the budget is in favor of the Nerazzurri, who have won three times in four matches. The only stop was in the 2017/18 second round, when Alberto Paloschi , in the final minutes, equalized the initial Inter advantage obtained thanks to an own goal by Francesco Vicari .

The article Eyes on the opponent – The ride with Semplici, a fluctuating performance and Petagna: the discovery of Spal seems to be the first on

Tom "math" Otis
Freelance writer and translator, digital surfer, neroazzurro

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