Nainggolan pleased to have denied Inter after being 'treated like a toy'

By Sports Desk January 26, 2020

Radja Nainggolan admits he took a degree of satisfaction from scoring the goal that earned Cagliari a 1-1 draw at Inter after being "treated like a toy" by his parent club.

Inter loaned Nainggolan to Cagliari in August and the midfielder came back to haunt Antonio Conte's men with a 78th-minute strike in Sunday's Serie A clash.

The 31-year-old rifled a long-range shot past Samir Handanovic with the aid of a deflection off Alessandro Bastoni's heel to cancel out Lautaro Martinez's header.

Nainggolan's celebrations were muted at San Siro but he took some pleasure out of further denting Inter's title aspirations.

"I have a lot of respect for the Inter fans and for my former team-mates," he told DAZN. "But I felt treated like a toy. On one hand I'm happy for the goal, on the other I'm not as I wish my ex-team-mates the best.

"Who knows [what will happen in the future]. I'm concentrating on each game as it comes. I'm having fun, I have some excellent team-mates and we're playing for something special."

Cagliari have now earned back-to-back draws following a run of five successive defeats in all competitions, including a 4-1 reverse to Inter in the Coppa Italia 12 days ago.

Head coach Rolando Maran believes a change in formation played a big part in his side's point at San Siro.

"I adjusted our tactics to 3-5-2 so we could cover more width," he told DAZN. "We made it difficult for their strikers and blocked their passing channels.

"When we had the ball, the intention was to shake off Inter's pressing game and make them work harder. We had to avoid being under constant pressure and it worked."

Inter have now been held to three successive 1-1 draws in Serie A and are three points adrift of leaders Juventus, who face Napoli in their game in hand later on Sunday.

Martinez was sent off late on for shouting in the referee's face and Inter's coaching staff continued their protests long after the full-time whistle had sounded.

Conte made his displeasure known to the match officials as they headed down the tunnel and the Nerazzurri's coach did not speak to the media at full-time.

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