Lurking crisis shadows begone. Inter are back on the winning track, obtaining their first victory after 3 winless matches in the Serie A (4 if you count their little mishap at Anfield two weeks ago), and making the party all the more special is the celebration for the Nerazzurri’s 100 years anniversary, or “Il Centenario” as they call it back in Milan (by the way, La Repubblica and La Gazzetta dello Sport have great websites dedicated to that, if you can read Italian). In a San Siro stadium full of old Nerazzurri glories and the mind already wandering to Tuesday’s match vs. Liverpool, one might have foreseen that maintaining concentration wasn’t going to be easy for Inter today. However Mancini’s men rallied together, reversed their negative trend against a determined Reggina side, and brought home the win thanks to the goals by Ibrahimovic and Burdisso… with a little help from the referee. It’s reassuring to notice everything is still proceeding as ‘normal’ in the Serie A.
On paper, Nevio Orlandi‘s (the third manager stepping on the Amaranto bench this year) Reggina seemed liked the ideal sparring partner in ancipation of the UEFA Champions League commitments. In practice, things were going to be much different for Inter. The club from Southern Italy turned out to be a tough competitor, with its players applying high pressure on the Inter back-line and midfield throughout the entire 90 minutes, and coming dangerously close to the home side’s goal a few times too many. Fortunately for the home team, Julio Cesar was in another one of his exceptional days of form.
In addition to their Brazilian nº1 keeping them safe, Inter could also count on the added support of the refereeing team. Yes, yet again! The foul by Tognozzi/Valdez on Esteban Cambiasso was all but evident, and will provide plenty of debating material for the week to come. Regardless, Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up to take the spot-shot, and brought his goalscoring drought to an end. 1-0 Inter in minute 14.
Before the half ended, Inter made their set-pieces training get to work and produced another two scoring chances. On the second one (minute 45) Ibrahimovic hit the crossbar, on the first one (minute 34) Inter increased their lead: exploiting a free-kick delivery by Luis Jimenez, Nicolas Burdisso went in to connect with a powerful header past Campagnolo’s arms. 2-0 Inter the score at the break.
After an energetic first period for both teams, Inter dropped back the rhythm to control the game in the second (you know, impending Champions League commitments and all). That is when the Julio Cesar show began: the Nerazzurri keeper turned into a veritable wall of bricks, replying with style and rapidity of execution to Amoruso’s and Halfredsson’s strikes. Eventually the match came to an end, and Roberto Mancini could bank an important 3 points before . Reds beware, the Nerazzurri have got their confidence back and will have 80,000 fans behind them on Tuesday.
|GOALSCORERS: 14′ pen. Ibrahimovic (I), 34′ Burdisso (I)|
|INTER (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar – Maicon, Burdisso, Materazzi, J.Zanetti – Vieira (72’ Figo), Cambiasso, Stankovic – Jiménez (64’ Rivas) – Crespo (46’ Suazo), Ibrahimovic. (bench: Toldo, Solari, Maniche, Cruz). Coach: Mancini.|
|REGGINA (4-4-1-1): Campagnolo – Lanzaro, Cirillo, Valdez, Aronica – Missiroli (58’ Cozza), Barreto, Tognozzi, Modesto (58’ Hallfredsson) – Brienza (76’ Makinwa), N.Amoruso. (bench: Novakovic, Costa, Cascione, Stuani). Coach: Orlandi.|