Inter 6-2 Benevento: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Inter Ease Into Coppa Italia Quarter Finals

Inter comfortably overcame Serie B side Benevento 6-2 in the Coppa Italia round of 16 to book their place in the quarter finals, and keep them on track for their first piece of silverware in eight years.

The home side were awarded a dubious penalty in just the second minute after Antonio Candreva threw himself to the ground after minimal contact by Luca Antei. Up stepped Mauro Icardi, a surprise inclusion from the start, to smash the ball in past the helpless Lorenzo Montipo.

Unfazed, Benevento nearly drew level immediately after but were denied by Daniele Padelli. Cristian Buonaiuto did well down the left flank to fashion a low cross that Andres Tello could only direct straight at Inter’s man in goal.

They were left to rue their missed opportunity in the seventh minute, however, as ​Inter took control of the match. Marcelo Brozovic’s corner was met by ​Icardi with aplomb but he saw his header crash off the post and fall kindly to Candreva, who drilled a fine low finish across goal and past Montipo.

Benevento applied themselves well for the remainder of the first half, not afraid to attack and forcing Padelli into a couple of decent saves. However, rather harshly, Inter grabbed their third in the stoppage time of the first half thanks to a thunderous finish from Dalbert. The Brazilian full back’s marauding run saw him latch onto ​Ivan Perisic’s through ball and strike a powerful effort in off Montipo’s near post to score his first goal for I Nerazzurri.

Henrique Dalbert,Ivan Perisic

Inter extended their lead three minutes after the restart after a flowing move that started from deep inside their own half. It ended as Candreva dummied Roberto Galgiardini’s ball, allowing the impressive Perisic to cross for Lautaro Martinez to head past the flailing dive of Montipo.

However, the away side did grab themselves a well deserved goal in the 58th minute as the lively Roberto Insigne curled a free-kick around a poorly placed Inter wall. It proved to be nothing more than consolation as Martinez grabbed his second in the 66th minute, finishing low inside the near post after Perisic had beaten the offside trap to lay the ball off for the Argentinian.

The visitors were rewarded once more for their efforts as Filippo Bandinelli headed home eight minutes later to reduce Inter’s lead to three goals. Benevento pressed for a third for the remainder of the game but Inter had the final say as Candreva added the final flourish deep into stoppage time.


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Key Talking Point

The match was played in bizarre circumstances, as Inter hosted the first of their ​two-match stadium closure, due to racist chants directed towards ​Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly on Boxing Day. The lack of supporters didn’t faze Inter though, as Luciano Spalletti’s side put their name into the hat for the quarter final draw.

FC Internazionale v Benevento Calcio - Coppa Italia

With ​Juventus 14 points ahead of Inter in Serie A, they look certain to miss out on the championship title so will see the Coppa Italia as a perfect opportunity to win some silverware and appease their supporters. The club are without a trophy since 2011, when they defeated Palermo to lift this trophy, under the management of Leonardo.

After the controversy surrounding the racist chanting from a small section of Inter supporters, the club will be eager to move on and put themselves in a better light with a Coppa Italia trophy. Leading marksman Icardi has been linked with a move away this transfer window but, should Inter keep hold of the Argentinian, there is every chance they can win silverware this term.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Padelli (7); Vrsaljko (7), Ranocchia (7), Skriniar (6), Dalbert (8), Gagliardini (7), Candreva (7), Brozovic (8), Martinez (8), Icardi (7), Perisic (8)

Substitutes: Politano (6); Valero (6), Mario (N/A)


Best Player – Ivan Perisic

The Croatian was involved in everything good that Inter did throughout the game, notching three assists and being a constant menace down Benevento’s right side. His movement caused the Benevento back four to be pulled out of position and showcased his worth to Spalletti’s side. 

Ivan Perisic

He was substituted on 67 minutes as Spalletti looked to save the Croatian for Serie A duty next week, further highlighting his importance to the team.


Worst Player – Milan Skriniar

Despite the scoreline, Benevento were not afraid to attack throughout the 90 minutes, regardless of the multiple setbacks they suffered. Skriniar, while not awful, could be disappointed with his role in Benevento’s second and will have been unhappy to concede two goals against Serie B opposition at home.


Looking Ahead

Spalletti’s side will play the final of their two-match stadium closure ban on Saturday as they host 11th place Sassuolo in Serie A. With I Nerazzurri currently in third, they will be looking to consolidate their grip on a Champions League spot and keep ground between themselves and Lazio.

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Picking the Best Potential Inter Lineup to Face Benevento in the Coppa Italia on Sunday

Inter look to kick off the New Year in style when they face Serie B side Benevento in the Coppa Italia round of 16. 

Despite lifting the trophy on seven occasions, Luciano Spalletti’s side were knocked out in the quarter finals by rivals AC Milan last year, and haven’t won this competition for eight years.

Several players could be rested including Mauro Icardi, whose future remains uncertain in Italy amid frenzied speculation. 

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Semir Handanovic

Samir Handanovic (GK) – Inter’s number one shot-stopper, the 34-year-old is the last goalkeeper Benevento want to be facing. 

Sime Vrsaljko (RB) – On loan from Atletico Madrid, the Croatian defender has impressed in Italy and could be in line for a 13th appearance this term. 

Miranda (CB) – Largely playing second fiddle to regular Milan Skriniar, the 34-year-old must demonstrate his wealthy experience.

Stefan de Vrij (CB) – The former Lazio star is seeking a first Coppa Italia trophy of his career with I Nerazzurri. 

Kwadwo Asamoah (LB) – The three time Italian Cup winner with Juventus is perhaps Inter’s most versatile player, also deployed in attacking roles. 

2. Midfielders

Joao Mario

Matias Vecino (CM) – The experienced Uruguayan could get the nod ahead of compatriot Roberto Gagliardini. 

Danilo D’Ambrosio (DM) – Having started the previous three games, the former Torino midfielder holds the defensive line in front of the back four. 

Joao Mario (CM) – Often deployed in an advanced role, the Portuguese playermaker is seeking just a second goal in all competitions this season.

3. Forwards

Lautaro Martinez

Matteo Politano (RW) – Capable of bamboozling defenders with close touch and speed, the agile winger is looking to further impress in his loan spell from fellow Serie A side Sassuolo. 

Keita Balde (LW) – Inter’s main goal threat, the Senegal international is unplayable on his day and will look to create chances for his lone striker. 

Lautaro Martinez (ST) – Deputising for star man Mauro Icardi, Martinez will have fond memories of his last home match, scoring a stoppage time winner against Napoli in Serie A.

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Man Utd Captain Antonio Valencia Reportedly in Negotiations Over Inter Transfer

Antonio Valencia is set to end his decade-spanning stay at Manchester United when his contract expires in the summer – with Inter ready to swoop.

The 33-year-old remains United’s club captain but will see his current deal expire at the end of the season. The Ecuadorian full back has been a generally consistent performer since arriving at Old Trafford from Wigan in 2009.


However, ​Valencia has made just five Premier League appearances for the Red Devils this term, with ​United apparently having no plans to offer their captain a new deal. According to the ​Mirror, the veteran wideman is already in negotiations over a summer move to ​Inter.

It is said that the right back’s advisers have been informed that he is unlikely to have his deal extended by a further 12 months and have therefore begun discussions with the Serie A giants over a potential switch to the San Siro.

United apparently have until March to change their minds and offer Valencia fresh terms, though the club are said to be aware that their captain has already started to weigh up his options ahead of a potential summer exit.


It is said that Inter are keen to secure a deal for Valencia during this month’s transfer window, with current right back Sime Vrsaljko only on loan from ​Atletico Madrid until the end of the season, leaving Inter in need of a long-term replacement in his position.

Though there is an option to buy inserted in Vrsaljko’s loan deal at the San Siro, Valencia’s potential availability as a free agent in the summer is likely to make the United star an appealing option, should Inter be unable to lure Valencia to Serie A this month.

United may be unwilling to sanction the sale of Valencia during the current transfer window, at the risk of weakening the ranks of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

However, the opportunity to move Valencia on a free transfer at the end of the season could prove more feasible for both sides.

Antonio Valencia,Denis Cheryshev

Inter have been successful in conducting similar deals previously, with Stefan de Vrij having moved to the San Siro on a free this season, whilst a similar agreement is said to be virtually in place for Atletico Madrid star Diego Godin.

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Mauro Icardi to Remain With Wanda Nara as Agent Despite Mounting Pressure From Inter

​Inter captain Mauro Icardi has made the decision to stick with his agent Wanda Nara as tensions between the pair and the Italian club continue to mount.

This comes after Inter had reportedly asked Icardi to change agents as they had doubts over Nara’s conduct. 

The pair have been married since 2014 after controversy in their early relationship due to Nara’s previous marriage to Maxi Lopez, a former teammate and friend of Icardi when the pair where at Sampdoria. 

Mauro Emanuel Icardi,Wanda Nara

Icardi sacked his first agent whom he had worked with for over a decade and replaced him with Nara who has represented the striker for the last three years.

It was reported earlier in the week that ​Inter had asked ​Icardi to change agents after the club had reached an impasse with Nara regarding Icardi’s new contract. 

Moreover, the club were concerned with Nara’s antics away from football, as her active social media presence aren’t to the club’s liking. 

There were also rumours that Nara was finding it difficult to find a balance between being Icardi’s wife and his agent. 

However, Icardi dismissed such claims, insteading taking to Twitter to hit back at the papers who were reporting such news. 




Icardi tweeted: “Where do these phrases come from? How is it possible that La Gazzetta writes this rubbish? Furthermore, I’d like to point out that I am very, very happy and satisfied with the work we’ve done so far. 

“For this reason, it’ll always be Wanda Icardi who takes care of my and our interests until the end of my career.”

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Milan Skriniar Reacts Furiously to Man Utd Links as Inter’s Valuation of Defender Revealed

Any club wishing to buy Milan Skriniar must break the world record for a defender, but the Slovakian has yet again made it abundantly clear that he is not interested in leaving Inter.

Skriniar has repeatedly insisted that he wants to stay at San Siro but reports linking him with a move to Manchester United have not gone away, with some suggesting that the Red Devils have already had a bid of €60m turned down.

Milan Skriniar

Sick and tired of the baseless speculation, Skriniar spoke out in an angry Instagram post. It was hastily deleted, but not before the ​Manchester Evening News had gotten wind of it.

“You write things that you don’t even know,” Skriniar said, sharing an image of a Slovakian newspaper speculating about his future. “You are sh***. Now write an article on this.”

​Tuttomercatoweb, the source which claims that ​United have had a 60m bid rejected, also claims that Inter feel they have a ‘moral obligation’ to break the transfer record for a defender.

The current record holder is Virgil van Dijk, for whom Liverpool paid Southampton £75m (€83m) in January 2018. It would therefore require a bid in the region of €85m  €90m for Inter to consider selling Skriniar.

​Inter signed Skriniar from Sampdoria for €20m in July 2017. In his first year at the club, he helped them to qualify for the Champions League, and they are well placed to do so again at the midway stage of this campaign.

Milan Skriniar

Skriniar has repeatedly stated his commitment to Inter and they are hoping to repay his loyalty with a lucrative new contract offer.

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Inter vs Benevento Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

​Inter welcome Serie B outfit Benevento to the San Siro in the Coppa Italia round of 16. 

The Nerazzurri automatically enter at this stage of the competition and reached the quarter finals last year. Meanwhile, Benevento overcame three teams to reach this round – notably shocking Serie A side Udinese in the third round.


Without a domestic trophy since 2010-11 under Jose Mourinho, Inter will be keen to take the first step toward the Coppa Italia this weekend. 

Here’s 90min’s preview of this cup clash. 


Where To Watch

​When Is Kick Off? ​Sunday 13 January
What Time Is Kick Off? ​17:00 (BST)
​Where Is it Played? ​Giuseppe Meazza
TV Channel/Live Stream? N/A
​Referee? ​TBC

Team News

​Inter boss Luciano Spalletti has no new injury concerns ahead of the tie and is expected to rest key players in preparation for their return to league action on 19 January. 

The much ​courted ​Mauro Icardi could be one of those to make way, with fellow forward Lautaro Martinez in line for a rare start.

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Benevento manager Cristian Bucchi is likely to name a strong lineup for the side sixth in Serie B. Top scorer Massimo Coda is expected to start, whilst on-loan ​Napoli forward Roberto Insigne, brother of Lorenzo Insigne, could feature.


Predicted Lineups

Inter​ Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Miranda, De Vrij, ​Asamoah; D’Ambrosio, Mario, Vecino; Politano, Balde, Martinez. 
​Benevento ​Montipo; Volta, Antei, Di Charia; Letizia, Tello, Del Pinto, Bandinelli, Improta; Insigne, Coda. 

Head to Head Record

The sides have met just twice, with Inter defeating their opponents in Serie A encounters last season.

Milan Skriniar

Goals from defensive duo Milan Skriniar and Andrea Ranocchia saw off the Stregoni in February as Inter would eventually finish fourth.


Recent Form

Spalletti’s side come into Sunday’s fixture having won three of their last five league games, only coming unstuck at leaders ​Juventus.

The Black and Blues have won this competition on seven occasions. However, their cup campaign ​ended prematurely at the expense of ​​AC Milan last season, as an extra time Patrick Cutrone winner dumped them out.

Patrick Cutrone

Despite competing a division below their decorated opponents, Benevento enjoyed their first ever campaign in the top flight last term – albeit setting an unwanted record of becoming the first team in history to lose their first 14 Serie A fixtures.

Bucchi’s side defeated Imolese, Udinese and fellow second division outfit Cittadella on their way to the round of 16.

Here’s how each team has faired in their past five fixtures:


​Inter ​Benevento
​Empoli 0-1 Inter (29/12) ​Benevento 1-1 Brescia (30/12)
​Inter 1-0 Napoli (26/12) ​Padova 0-1 Benevento (27/12)
​Chievo 1-1 Inter (22/12) ​Benevento 3-0 Crotone (23/12)
​Inter 1-0 Udinese (15/12) ​Cosenza 0-0 Benevento (16/12)
​Inter 1-1 PSV (11/12) Benevento 0-1 Verona (09/12)

Prediction

Taking into account the Nerazzurri are 14 points behind Juve, the Coppa Italia could prove an important piece of silverware for the hosts – who must fancy their chances for a first trophy in eight years.

Lautaro Martinez

Should Spalletti pick a strong side, the task for Benevento will inevitably become difficult under the famous lights of the Giuseppe Meazza. 

Prediction: Inter 2-0 Benevento

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Inter Fine Mauro Icardi €100,000 For Turning Up Late to Training Amid Contract Tensions

​Inter have fined club captain Mauro Icardi €100,000 for being late to training, with tensions simmering around his stalling contractual talks. 

The Argentine has been in fine form on the pitch for the Serie A side this term, scoring 13 goals in 22 appearances for the Nerazzurri. However, off the pitch it has been less savoury, with the club seeking to extend his contract beyond its current expiry date of June 2020, and the player and his wife and agent, Wanda Nara, driving a hard bargain. 

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As initially reported by Sky Sport Italia, and relayed by ​Football Italia, the 25-year-old was fined the whopping total of €100,000 for his late arrival for the club’s first training session back since the winter break. 

It was the second time the club have been forced to resort to such measures this season, after hitting Radja Nainggolan with a similar fine for the same crime.

The news came on the same day that Nara told Spanish publication ​AS that the two parties are “very far away” from agreeing a new deal. 

She explained: “We’re far from reaching an agreement. The figures being talked about in Italy aren’t true and we haven’t received a satisfactory proposal from ​Inter yet.


“I won’t deny that we can reach an agreement, but right now we’re very far apart. It’s not logical to renew Mauro’s contract for the amount he currently earns.

“We believe ​Ma​uro is worth more than that. There are some very important clubs interested in signing him.”

With strong links to Real Madrid and ​Chelsea, Wanda even went as far as to expand on this interest, declaring: “For example, there are the two biggest clubs in Spain, with whom we have excellent relationships, plus an English team and a French one.”

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Mauro Icardi’s Agent Confirms Interest From Top European Clubs Amid Contract Renewal Stall

Clubs from Spain, France and England are keeping tabs on Inter striker Mauro Icardi as talks over a contract extension at San Siro continue to stall.

Despite previously being linked with big money moves away from Italy, the Argentine forward has stayed loyal to the Nerazzurri ever since joining the club from Sampdoria in 2013, captaining his side for over three years.

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The 25-year-old still has a contract in Milan until 2021 but Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara has revealed that talks over an extension have hit a brick wall, adding that the coveted centre forward is continuing to attract interest from Europe’s biggest clubs.

“Icardi’s renewal with Inter is a very long way off as things stand today,” Nara told AS. “There are very important clubs that are interested in signing Mauro and we are very far from reaching an agreement [with Inter]. 

“The figures that are being talked about in Italy about his contract renewal are not accurate. So far, we have not received a satisfactory offer from Inter.

We are not ruling out reaching an agreement at some stage, but at the moment we are a long way off from that. It is not logical for Mauro to renew on the same salary that he receives now. 

“We believe that Mauro is at a superior level. We have a very good relationship with the two biggest clubs in Spain who, are very interested in Mauro, as well as one in France and one in England.”

Nara’s comments quite blatantly claim that Icardi is being touted by Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, and his former club Barcelona, with whom he spent three years before moving to ply his trade in Italy.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-INTER-AC MILAN

There are a handful of Premier League sides who Nara could be referring to that actually have the financial capabilities of buying Icardi, although recent transfer rumours suggest that Chelsea are the closest to securing the Argentine’s signature.

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Roman Abramovich Ready to Make £100m January Bid for Inter Star to End Chelsea Striker Woes

​Mauro Icardi has emerged as a top target for Chelsea in the January transfer window, with owner Roman Abramovich keen to bring the Argentine to Stamford Bridge. 

​The Blues have been publically searching for a striker for a while now, with Maurizio Sarri affirming this with his desires for a fresh face up top, following Olivier Giroud’s struggles with injury and Alvaro Morata’s battle for consistent form. 

Moves for Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain, who is on loan at AC Milan, have also been mooted.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-INTER-UDINESE

However, according to The ​​Mirror, Icardi is now the club’s number one target, with the Pensioners owner Abramovich leading the push to sign the 25-year-old. The striker has been engaged in contract extension talks with the Nerazzurri since last summer, but as of today he is yet to sign a new deal. 

His current contract is set to expire in June 2020 and he and his wife, Wanda Nara, who is also his agent, have been pushing a hard bargain with the Milanese club. They have already refused one offer of €6m a year, asking instead for a whopping €8m pay package, which is double his current salary. 

A large part of these contractual issues centre around the existence of a £100m release clause. The club are desperate to eliminate any clause from his next deal, while the player and his representative are fighting to have it included, even if it is at an increased price. 

​​For his part, Inter‘s sporting director, the former Juventus executive Guiseppe Marotta, is optimistic about reaching an agreement with the player, and is set to commence talks in person next week, after a tempestuous festive period of public outbusts and leaks from the player’s camp.

However, as it stands, the £100m release clause remains a viable option for Abramovich and co, as well as for potential rivals Real Madrid and Juve, who’ve been sniffing around the Inter captain for some time. Icardi has 13 goals and two assists so far this season, with his side sitting third in the Serie A table.

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Inter Release Statement in Response to Stadium Ban Following Racist Chants During Napoli Game

Inter have released a statement accepting the two-game stadium ban levelled at them following the allegations of racial abuse towards Kalidou Koulibaly in the home clash with Napoli on Boxing Day. 

A section of the home crowd at San Siro were heard making monkey noises before and during the game, which the Nerazzurri went on to win 1-0 against a nine-man Partenopei side, with Kouliably one of those who was sent off in a traumatic night in Milan. 


The club were sanctioned by Serie A’s governing body, and ordered to play their next two home games against Benevento in the Coppa Italia, and Sassuolo in the league, behind closed doors.

While accepting this charge, ​Inter have sought to add a caveat, asking for the bottom tier or ‘Primo Anello Arancio’ to be populated by school kids of the Football Schools of the Nerazzurri and the Italian Sports Centre to be allowed in against Sassuolo, as an apparent riposte to the discrimination inside the stands. 

The ​statement reads: “FC Internazionale Milano announces that it will not be appealing against the decisions taken by the National A league sports judge for the events that took place during the Inter-​Napoli match on 26 December.

FC Internazionale v Cagliari - Serie A

“The Club has instead filed a request to the Football Association and the National League of Serie A to offer the possibility to girls and children of the Football Schools of Nerazzurri and girls and boys of the Italian Sports Center to attend the game against Sassuolo, scheduled for 19 January and valid for the 20th day of ​Serie A, from the First Orange Ring [Primo Anello Arancio].

“An important initiative to launch a strong and clear signal against all forms of discrimination and violence.”

The Italian side also confirmed that fans who had paid for tickets online will automatically receive a full refund, while fans who paid in person at a tickets outlet will have to return to that outlet no later than three days after the game in question to receive their refund.

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