The love-story between Mourinho and Inter has hit its first hurdle. Losing the Milan derby was already a big no-no moment this week-end, but Wednesday’s home draw to Werder Bremen really did not sit well with some Nerazzurri supporters, who did not hide their discontent in the San Siro stands.
And with good reason. Much like their match against Milan, Inter only “woke up” in the final 15 minutes of the match, exhibiting severe deficiencies in terms of character the rest of the time. The “José plan” evidently, still needs to be fully absorbed by some Nerazzurri elements, while the three-pure-strikers attacking formation (with Adriano, Ibrahimovic, and Balotelli) still requires quite a bit of fine-tuning. After UCL’s matchday 2 draw, Inter are left sharing the Group B lead with the surprising Cypriot team of Anorthosis.
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza “San Siro” was not even half-full today, much to the displeasure of club president Massimo Moratti (who already higlighted his dissatisfaction a few days ago). It was probably a direct consequence of the derby loss perhaps, but this was nonetheless a big occasion amongst Nerazzurri ranks: the first outing of the three-striker formation without wingers. Alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic (who, together with Julio Cesar, has always featured in Inters’s starting eleven since the Supercoppa match) were Mario Balotelli and Adriano.
O Imperador was precisely the man responsible for the most spectacular plays in the first half: from the lovely bicycle kick 25 seconds after kick-off, to the assist for Balotelli’s header before the half (brilliantly parried by Wiese), intertwined by his involvement in the move leading to Maicon’s goal (following a shot awkwardly deflected off Naldo), 13 minutes in, Inter were up by 1-0.
The Werder tactics, with Diego acting as spearhead and Frank Baumann the pivot at the back, found a way to open a crack in Inter’s defence, which held tight until the end of Marco Materazzi‘s involvement in the proceedings. Indeed, the muscle strain which forced Matrix off in the 19th put a spanner in the Nerazzurri works, making things a lot easier for manager Thomas Schaaf. The German attack (which had looked quite clumsy for much of the first half) finally started producing some good results, stinging the hands of Julio Cesar through Mesut Özil and hitting the post with Claudio Pizarro (well picked out in the area by Prödl’s cross).
Meanwhile, Cambiasso, Stankovic and Muntari were struggling in the Inter midfield: maintaining a three-striker formation was becoming an unsustainable luxury, and this already at the end of the first half, but Mourinho left his formation intact well into the second, asked instead of Balotelli to sacrifice himself and help his teammates. The result was that slowly, Bremen took control of the game, lining up a couple of preparatory jabs and then landing the decisive blow through Pizarro, piercing the Inter defense as he capitalized on the fine right-wing work of Özil. 1-1.
After the equalizer, Mourinho’s first change was the insertion of Ricardo Quaresma (on for Stankovic instead of a forward), shortly followed by Julio Cruz in place of Adriano. José was obviously trying to win as Inter’s formation became even crazier, at the obvious expense of team balance & organization. Fortunately, Javier Zanetti inspired every one of his teammates with superhuman defensive work, sounding the charge for his team’s last attacks.
The Nerazzurri went forward in bursts, but Tim Wiese must have been wearing his lucky rabbit’s foot as the chances by Cruz (long-range effort) and Maicon (clipping the post) strayed clear of goal. The game ended with some scary stuff for Julio Cesar who, stunned by a powerful free-kick from Naldo, almost parried the ball right into the path of Pizarro for an empty net finish. As the ref called the full-time whistle, the Nerazzurri retreated to the locker room frustrated. Just like their supporters surely, as unequivocally indicated by the boos heard throughout the stadium.
|GOALSCORERS: 13′ Maicon (I), 62’ C.Pizarro (W).
| INTER (4-3-3): J.Cesar – Maicon, Cordoba, Materazzi (19′ Burdisso), J.Zanetti – Stankovic (73’ Quaresma), Cambiasso, Muntari – Balotelli, Ibrahimovic, Adriano (77’ Cruz). (bench: Toldo, Vieira, Mancini, Bolzoni). Coach: Mourinho.
| WERDER BREMEN (4-3-1-2): Wiese – Prodl (41′ Fritz), Martesacker, Naldo, Pasanen – Frings, Baumann, Ozil (82’ Jensen); Diego – C.Pizarro, Rosenberg (77’ Hunt). (bench: Vander, Boenisch, Vranjes, Sanogo) Coach: Schaaf.