Inter Milan vs. Parma, Final Score 1-0: Inter unconvincing but Rocchi nicks it late

Claudio Villa

They had more than their fair share of luck, but Inter have kept in European contention with a late win over Parma.

Tommaso Rocchi scored for the nerazzurri inside the final ten minutes, after Parma had squandered a few great chances of their own to take the lead. The win means Inter Milan move provisionally into fifth place and a Europa League spot while Parma stay 11th, though those positions could change with today's other games.

Parma started well, and they had the first shot on goal after three minutes -- though it was a tame effort from right-back Yohan Benalouane, and was easily smothered by Samir Handanović. Inter hit back with an effort of their own from Zdravko Kuzmanović a minute later, though his shot curled wide from inside the box.

Both sides took it in turns to control possession, sitting deep after giving the ball away. There was no direct, penetrative play for either team, and the first chance fell to Ezequiel Schelotto after a stroke of luck. Some terrible free-kick defending from Parma meant the ball fell right at Schelotto's feet, though from point blank range he managed to hit the body of goalkeeper Antonio Mirante rather than the back of the net.

Ten minutes later Nicola Sansone had Parma's first clear-cut opportunity when a quick counter-attack saw him threaded through on goal by Amauri, only for Handanović to thwart the winger from inside the area. What followed was a crazy few minutes of Parma pressure. Marco Parolo forced Handanović into a diving save with a long range effort, before Jaime Valdés smashed the bar with a wonderful shot from way out. Marco Marchionni got in on the action too, though the crociati midfielder curled his shot wide from the edge of the box.

Handanović was left screaming at his defenders, and it was little wonder. Nevertheless, Inter would still have the last laugh (or last rueful scream) of the first half, after Schelotto was denied again. A counter-attack from the nerazzurri allowed Schelotto to drift open towards the back post, though just as he was about to pull the trigger Yohan Benalouane slid in to save Parma.

Inter's veteran striker Tommaso Rocchi had barely been in the game, though he had an opportunity from the edge of the box just past the hour. He swivelled and struck the ball towards Mirante's goal, though it skimmed wide without causing the Parma keeper too much worry. Handanović wasn't completely without concern at the other end with the visitors still threatening on the counter, though it was the hosts who were unquestionably more dangerous after the restart.

That didn't stop Sansone having a great chance with 20 minutes remaining, when Amauri used his lanky figure to chest the ball down before flicking it over the bewildered Inter defenders. Sansone was following in, though his composure went walkabout, and so did his finish. Parma sub Jonathan Biabiany had a great chance when he was sent through immediately after, though Handanović rescued Inter -- again.

The nerazzurri had their slice of luck at one end, and they were about to have a munch of an even bigger one at the other. Finally the Parma defence switched off, allowing Rocchi some space in the area. He struck it first time, though it was a completely mishit effort. Combined with a nick off the head of defender Fabiano Santacroce, and the tame effort went straight into the middle of Mirante's goal inside the final ten minutes -- too late for Parma to draw level.

Inter Milan: Samir Handanović; Javier Zanetti, Juan Jesus, Andrea Ranocchia, Jonathan; Álvaro Pereira, Zdravko Kuzmanović, Mateo Kovačić, Ezequiel Schelotto (Luca Garritano 77); Tommaso Rocchi (Cristian Chivu 84), Ricky Álvarez

Parma: Antonio Mirante; Massimo Gobbi, Alessandro Lucarelli, Andrea Coda (Andrea Coda 73), Yohan Benalouane; Marco Parolo, Jaime Valdés, Marco Marchionni (Daniele Galloppa 86); Nicola Sansone, Amauri, Ishak Belfodil (Jonathan Biabiany 46)

Goals: Rocchi 82 (I)

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