Partizan v Inter: Qualification Within Our Grasp

The game at the San Siro almost finished 0-0. This one needs to be perfect for all three points. - Marco Luzzani

Inter travel to Belgrade to try to wrap up their qualification to the next round of the Europa League. All we need is one little win to send us through. Partizan, on the other hand, are not having the best tournament. They have a single point taken from a 0-0 draw with Neftchi. They are looking to turn around their performance and, at the very least, get their first goal.

What: FK Partizan v Inter Milano, Europa League Group H Matchday 4
Where: Partizan Stadium, Belgrade, Serbia
When: Thursday, November 8, 9:05pm local time (12:05pm pacific, 3:05pm eastern)
How to Watch: Live on Fox Soccer Plus and ESPN Deportes or ppv on Fox Soccer 2Go. For outside the US, find channels here. If these dont work, find a stream (try here).


Not all that much has changed since my last preview. If you missed it before, check it out for Inter's unbeaten history against Partizan... Plus a the whole Inter-Partizan match from 1990. Great fun and great memories.

No highlights today so how about some Gaby in a car (and that's Gaaa-Bi).


THEM


Partizan were just at the San Siro where we beat them 1-0. As above, not much has changed since last month. They are still top of their league, with 10 wins and 1 loss. Things are not so rosy in the EL, though. They have only one point from three games and have yet to score a goal. Their coach, Vermezovic, summed it up nicely when he said:

"The majority of the fans believe that we have nothing to lose, but if we lose on Thursday we lose our last chance to get into the next round, so there is everything to lose. We did so well in the first game and now we have great expectations, but we need to show that courage back at home. Hopefully luck will be on our side. If we are brave and stay relaxed, we can get a good result. We have the right to hope, since this team has shown it should be taken seriously, just like the big European teams. We know what we can do. We are hoping to produce some beautiful football in a full stadium, and this team plays better when the fans are behind them."

And they have some talented players, including one Lazar Markovic who Moratti is supposedly interested in. They have a great home record and some of the most invested fans in Europe. I gotta think they will be out for blood and glory when Inter come to town. And, considering our extensive injury list, I will admit to being a little worried.

Fun Fact: Partizan are the only side who have yet to score in this season's group stage.

As near as I can tell, Partizan have a full squad to choose from. That means, they will likely play a 4-2-3-1 with Ilic behind their main threat up front, Mitrovic. Well, that's what Who Scored thinks, at least. And who am I to disagree.

174054-650_medium
I thought this stadium was larger for some reason. It looks downright dinky from here.
via www.inter.it

US


Strama has had to go to the youth team to find 20 players to bring to Belgrade:

Goalkeepers: Handanovic, Castellazzi, Belec;
Defenders: Zanetti, Silvestre, Pasa*, Pereira, Juan Jesus, Jonathan, Nagatomo;
Midfielders: Guarin, Mudingayi, Cambiasso, Gargano, Benassi, Romanò*;
Forwards: Palacio, Milito, Livaja, Cassano.

*Primavera players.

For those of you keeping track, Inter have eight players in the infirmary: Samuel, Coutinho. Ranocchia, Mariga, Sneijder, Obi, Chivu, and Stankovic. Oh, and Alvarez was injured before so he wasn't included on the EL list so cant play. That means we are, well, to put it succinctly, screwed in defense. Not only will Jonathan likely play, but we will probably see a reprisal of Cuchu in defense. To add insult to injury, Jonathan is one yellow away from a suspension. (facepalm) Great. Lets hope someone recovers in the next two weeks because this against Rubin Kazan is making my palms sweat.


Strama conceded that things are looking a bit numerically grim, today, saying:

"Certainly, without going into details about the line-up, we'll be forced to change some things. Of the six defenders on the squad, only two are with us currently. And further forward there are injuries to Coutinho and Sneijder, while Alvarez is unavailable. We have 19 players and I had to call up Pasa. From a numerical standpoint we're in an emergency situation. I don't think any of the injured players will be available for Sunday except Alvarez, so I believe we'll be in the same situation in Bergamo."


In other words, whatever we see tomorrow, get used to it cause we get it again this weekend.

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I cant tell, does he look worried? via www.inter.it

Ok, so this one is a bit of a nail biter (to be fair, they all are for me). Sure, we have an excellent away record, but we are just coming off a big win and players are likely to be a bit tired (physically & psychologically). Oh, and injured. The fact that we need to play Jonathan is just terrifying. Still, a win against Partizan will secure our passage through to the next stage (and may be a portent of future Europa League glory).


Righto. So lets all hope that Silvestre steps up and Jonathan finally shows us why someone thought he was Inter quality in the first place (besides being cheap, that is). If the back can hold then I think the front will take care of itself.

I know this is short, but really, there isn't anything left to do but play the game. The squad should be feeling confident after our win, but I hope they are not overly so. There is no such thing as a sure thing in football and I would hope that by now, the squad would know that. If there is one thing that is certain, the Calcio Gods will punish hubris. Every single time. We need to go out there with a clear idea of what needs to be done and the realization that, if they win and so does Kazan, we could be right back in last season's poop. And no one wants that.


So let's go out there and let history repeat itself.Let's get those precious three points!


FORZA INTER


Oh, and happy 70th to Sando Mazzola. Uno di noi!

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