Serie A - Internazionale secure slender win
A Thiago Motta header was enough to secure Internazionale a 1-0 victory over a disappointing Chievo at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
The result was much needed but the performance left much to be desired in what was largely a scrappy affair - with clear cut chances at a premium.
Claudio Ranieri's tenure as coach had begun in promising fashion with a victory in his first match against Bologna but further wins in the Champions League have been tempered by sobering defeats to Napoli and Catania in Serie A - a run of results that had left the Nerazzurri only two points clear of bottom club Cesena coming into this weekend’s round of fixtures.
And they were facing a Chievo side on the cusp of a wave having secured a goalless draw against Serie A leaders Juventus last weekend that had seen them up to seventh and five points clear of their hosts.
Much of Chievo's successes this season have been built on a solid foundation and it was clear from the outset that they came to Milan intent on not conceding - thus leaving much of the emphasis on the home side to create.
Shorn of confidence, the Inter forward line struggled against a well drilled Chievo side and much of the first thirty minutes of the match was lost to a midfield war of attrition.
With little progress made centrally, the home side began to look for space in the channels and began to assert some pressure on the visiting side's back four.
A change of pace from Wesley Sneijder down the left opened up some space but his effort dipped the wrong side of Stefano Sorrentino's post before Sorrentino had to palm away a dipping Sneijder free-kick following a foul on Maicon.
From the resulting Sneijder corner, Thiago Motta rose highest to head the home side into the lead with 34 minutes on the clock.
A goal down, the Gialloblu were forced into a little more adventure as the half came to a close, and Giampaolo Pazzini almost capitalised on the extra space available when latching on to a Sneijder through ball but he could only lift his effort wide of the goal.
The expected second half surge from the visitors never materialised and the home side really should have sewn up a comfortable win by the time Davide Moscardelli had stung the fingers of Julio Cesar with a little over ten minutes remaining.
Maicon, who was afforded the freedom of the right side of the pitch for much of the afternoon, was particularly culpable of the profligacy that blighted an improved second half performance from the home side.
The closest the Brazilian came to adding to his side's advantage came when he fired an effort back off the bar with a little over a quarter of an hour remaining, but it was substitute, Luc Castaignos, who wasted the clearest opportunity to double his side's advantage - firing straight at Sorrentino from close range following an impressive sleight of foot and through ball from Dejan Stanković.
But the miss mattered little as the hosts held out for a second league win under their new coach.