- Stefano Pioli admitted he deserved to be sent to the stands during Inter's 1-0 win over Palermo, but felt Cristian Ansaldi should not have been shown a red card. An eventful second half at a rain-drenched Stadio Renzo Barbera saw Inter take the lead through Joao Mario, before An...Stefano Pioli admitted he deserved to be sent to the stands during Inter's 1-0 win over Palermo, but felt Cristian Ansaldi should not have been shown a red card. An eventful second half at a rain-drenched Stadio Renzo Barbera saw Inter take the lead through Joao Mario, before Ansaldi was sent off for a sliding challenge on Ilija Nestorovski. Inter continue winning run Palermo's Alessandro Gazzi was also dismissed after receiving a second yellow card in the last minute of the game, and Pioli questioned referee Massimiliano Irrati's decisions in his post-match comments. "There were two players on the ground and the fourth official said that nothing had happened. When I saw the red card for Ansaldi I went to ask for explanations. I was wrong and I paid for it," Pioli told Premium Sport. "The field was slippery and there were so many collisions. An international referee must understand that the player has slipped. "I was wrong to leave the technical area, but I thought that the game had stopped." Pioli expressed his satisfaction at having extended Inter's winning streak in Serie A to six consecutive matches, but admitted it was only after the introduction of Joao Mario as a second-half substitute that they played their best football. "We hit more crosses and pressured their area, and Joao Mario did very well to score, but we must create the right conditions to do so even when he's not there," said Pioli. "Every win is always very nice. We knew it would be difficult, and that the opponent would show great will and determination. We didn't give away any shots on goal. "It was an important victory. The other teams at the top are all strong, so we can only think about ourselves and try to win games where possible. Our future also depends on how we have played up to now. "We have to have a great second half of the season to qualify for the Champions League. Now we prepare ourselves well because Pescara, Juventus and Lazio await us." Palermo coach Eugenio Corini felt his side deserved a share of the points after they held Inter for over an hour and had a goal disallowed in the dying minutes of the game. Joao Mario fires Inter to three points He told Sky: "I think we deserved a different result for the way we played. It is a shame that our performance did not bring points. "This was already a complicated season and is becoming even more so."
- Inter extended their Serie A winning streak to six games with a 1-0 victory over Palermo courtesy of Joao Mario's second-half goal. Stefano Pioli's side arrived in Sicily on the back of a draining midweek extra-time victory over Bologna in the Coppa Italia, and it took the Neraz...Inter extended their Serie A winning streak to six games with a 1-0 victory over Palermo courtesy of Joao Mario's second-half goal. Stefano Pioli's side arrived in Sicily on the back of a draining midweek extra-time victory over Bologna in the Coppa Italia, and it took the Nerazzurri over an hour to break down their struggling hosts. After heavy pressure on the Palermo goal failed to pay off, Pioli sent on Joao Mario for Ever Banega and it took the Portuguese midfielder just 10 minutes to make his mark when he volleyed home Antonio Candreva's cross to put Inter ahead. Palermo - who reduced to 10 men in stoppage time with Alessandro Gazzi's red card - continued to battle in the hope of salvaging a point, but in the end coach Eugenio Corini was left with a third consecutive defeat and mounting pressure on his position at the club. Inter had Cristian Ansaldi and Pioli sent off in the closing stages, but the hope of achieving a finish in Serie A's top four is growing with each result with the head coach now enjoying a league record of seven wins, one draw and just one defeat. Ilija Nestorovski fired just wide with Samir Handanovic at full stretch in the opening exchanges and Palermo looked bright while their visitors were perhaps fatigued after their cup exploits. Inter eventually came to life and began to feed Mauro Icardi, who controlled a long Marcelo Brozovic pass wonderfully on his chest only to see his shot easily saved by Josip Posavec. In the pouring rain in Sicily, Palermo battled hard to stay on terms with their in-form visitors and Robin Quaison went through on goal but hit the side netting with his shot, while at the other end Posavec twice saved well from Candreva's close range attempts. Inter ramped up the pressure and Brozovic's dipping 25-yard drive would have found the net had it not been for Posavec's acrobatic save, but Pioli's men failed to make a breakthrough before half-time. Eugenio Corini's side continued to frustrate Inter in the second half, withstanding a series of corners and a Roberto Gagliardini shot that flew narrowly over the crossbar, but there was a sense that Palermo's resistance would not last. Pioli sent on Joao Mario for Banega and, after Posavec had made a good reaction save from Icardi, the Inter substitute broke the deadlock with a deft close range volley from Candreva's cross. Ansaldi was sent off for his second bookable offence after he slid in recklessly on Nestorovski, and Pioli was also dismissed for his remonstrations in the aftermath. And there was more late drama to follow when Quaison had a goal disallowed due to a preceding free-kick being taken too quickly. Palermo's refusal to give up in the dying minutes made for a nervous ending to the game but their hopes ended with Gazzi's dismissal for a second bookable offence, Inter holding on for a victory and their claim to the title of Serie A's form team.
- Former Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has denied rumours that Barcelona's Lionel Messi will be joining the club. Messi's future at Barcelona appears far from certain with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner set to come out of contract at the end of next season and no renewa...Former Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has denied rumours that Barcelona's Lionel Messi will be joining the club. Messi's future at Barcelona appears far from certain with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner set to come out of contract at the end of next season and no renewal forthcoming. Inter continue to be linked with the 29-year-old and former striker Diego Milito talked up a move but Moratti insisted the Argentina international is not on his way to Serie A after meeting with the club's owners. "I've never heard any talk of Messi," Moratti told ANSA. "It may be that they're organising a big signing for the future, but they've never talked about the Argentine." Inter have turned around their season since the departure of Frank de Boer and the appointment of Stefano Pioli. Under Piolo, Inter have won seven successive games in all competitions to sit sixth in Serie A, only a point behind AC Milan. Moratti added: "Pioli is a great coach and the results prove that. Inter are going through a good period and it bodes well. "The Champions League? We have to take things game-by-game and then we'll see where we end up."
- Substitute Antonio Candreva scored a 98th-minute winner to send Inter into the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia with an enthralling 3-2 home win over Bologna. Inter, fresh from six successive victories prior to Tuesday's game, took the lead in magnificent fashion through Jeiso...Substitute Antonio Candreva scored a 98th-minute winner to send Inter into the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia with an enthralling 3-2 home win over Bologna. Inter, fresh from six successive victories prior to Tuesday's game, took the lead in magnificent fashion through Jeison Murillo, who produced a finish belying that of a centre half to convert Joao Mario's corner with a sensational overhead kick. Joao Mario then combined with Rodrigo Palacio to make it 2-0, but Bologna were given hope three minutes before half-time courtesy of Blerim Dzemaili's deflected effort. Stefano Pioli's men had numerous opportunities to put the game to bed in the second half and eventually paid the price for not taking them when Godfred Donsah headed Bologna level. A decisive goal did not arrive inside 90 minutes, but in the first period of extra time Inter benefited from a deflection of their own as Candreva struck what proved to be the winner. Inter will now face the winner of Wednesday's contest between Candreva's old team Lazio and Genoa. Brazil forward Gabriel Barbosa made his first start of what has been a torrid spell since joining from Santos and he forced Angelo Da Costa into the first meaningful save of the match. But Da Costa could do nothing but stand in admiration in the 33rd minute when Murillo met Joao Mario's delivery with a remarkable acrobatic finish. The lead was doubled six minutes later, Joao Mario the architect again as his precise pass from the left flank found Palacio, who kept his composure to smartly tuck the ball into the bottom-left corner. But Bologna halved the deficit shortly before the interval, launching a quick counter after an Inter attack came to an end when Barbosa surrendered possession and finishing off the move as Federico Di Francesco found Dzemaili, whose shot on the turn was deflected in by Geoffrey Kondogbia. Joao Mario should have done better when presented with the chance to re-establish Inter's two-goal lead five minutes after the restart, but succeeded only in turning his header from Eder's cross wide of the left-hand post. Da Costa then needed to be alert to prevent Palacio from doubling his tally from a corner and Eder bent wide from just inside the area as Inter continued to pile pressure on the Bologna goal. Bologna remained a threat, though, Marios Oikonomou's wayward close-range header serving as a warning to Inter, but Da Costa was by far the busier of the two keepers, making further stops to thwart Palacio and Joao Mario. Gabriel was withdrawn to a warm ovation from the Inter fans as he was replaced by Candreva, but the applause turned to jeers after the home side's profligacy was punished for a second time in the 73rd minute by Donsah, who left Juan Pablo Carrizo with no chance when he powered Adam Masina's far-post cross into the net with a fine header. Inter laid siege to the Bologna goal in the closing stages, but could not ensure progression in normal time and lived dangerously themselves in extra time, Gary Medel making a goal-mouth clearance from a Di Francesco cross. However, Bologna's defence remained suspect and Candreva capitalised by beating the excellent Da Costa after Mauro Icardi's ball across the face of goal had been inadvertently flicked into his path. The visitors never looked like mounting another revival, Inter seeing out the result to keep hopes of a first trophy since the 2011 Coppa success alive.
- West Ham and Watford are set to battle over Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia this January, according to Calciomercato. Ranocchia has struggled to make an impression at the Serie A giants, making just five Serie A appearances this season, and is now being targeted by the Pre...West Ham and Watford are set to battle over Inter defender Andrea Ranocchia this January, according to Calciomercato. Ranocchia has struggled to make an impression at the Serie A giants, making just five Serie A appearances this season, and is now being targeted by the Premier League duo. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic is keen to reinforce his defence, but a reunion with his former San Siro boss, Walter Mazzarri, will be on the cards if he opts to move to Vicarage Road. CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE LATEST RUMOURS