Veni vidi vici indeed. He came (or returned, rather), he saw, he conquered. While there is no doubt that this year’s Scudetto was the result of team effort, the Nerazzurri have but one man to thank for achieving that objective on the last matchday of Serie A… and that man is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Returning from a lengthy injury and brought on by Mancini 6 minutes into the second half (with the score still tied 0-0), the magnificent Swede grabbed his magic hat and pulled out an extremely vital double: two goals to send Inter to Scudetto-heaven and Parma to Serie B-hell.
To quote Gazzetta:
“This time there was no ‘crazy Inter’, but only ‘Inter crazy of joy’. This Scudetto has many fathers, from Moratti to Mancini, from Ibra to Zanetti, but above all it was spawned by suffering. A lot of suffering for Inter, probably too much considering all of the Nerazzurri’s missed chances throughout the year. In the end though the most important thing is winning it, and in that light when all is said and done, victory might feel even sweeter this way“.
I suppose it does, so congratulations to Inter!
(From Gazzetta): As many expected, Sunday’s fixture at the Tardini turned out to be an unavoidably nervous match, and not particularly nice to watch if you were looking for beautiful plays. The rain & very slippery pitch certainly didn’t help, but above all the player’s performance (every single one of the 22 starters) was conditioned by the importance of the score: Inter needed to win for Scudetto glory, Parma needed 3 points to fight relegation.
The initial minutes were somewhat balances, and perhaps even a little bit to the advantage of Parma: the home team came out very energetic, lively, and probably in better physical form. Stefano Morrone in particular was playing ‘Mr. Interdictor’ in midfield, stopping balls in with his head, feet, and any other legal parts of the body at his disposal. As a result: not many opportunities to score for either side, and the most exciting event coming from the first half actually arrived very early. In the 8th minute, news of Mirko Vucinic’s opener vs. Catania reached Stadio Ennio Tardini, and local fans cheered and clapped: Parma only needed to win to avoid relegation. But above all in the grand scheme of things, this goal meant that Roma was virtually Serie A champion.
But to going back to Parma-Inter, not many chances to speak of as I was saying. In the 12th minute, a Morrone cross from the right wing was deflected by Julio Cesar into corner, and on the opposiing end, a beautiful delivery by Mario Balotelli was narrowly missed by Julio Cruz, allowing goalkeeper Nicola Pavarini to save. Local fans thus cheered referee Stefano Rocchi’s half-time whistle, satisfied with their team’s efforts in the first half, even if the score meant the relegation for Parma. In contrast, Nerazzurri fans in the stadium seemed sad and worried about the virtual status of the Scudetto (painted in Giallorosso at the time), but they rapidly regained their nerve at the sight of Ibrahimovic’s warm-up drills during the break. The Swede needed to bring a ray of hope missing during a very gray first half, just like the sky over Parma: few ideas and even fewer plays for Inter.
IBRA GOES HAYWIRE – Minute 51, Zlatan-time: Ibra is coming on (replacing a disappointing Cesar). The Swede quickly showed his skills on the wing and effectively changed the pace of the match: Inter were now strong in the attack, Parma relying on counters. And alas for Parma fans (already shaken by news of the Empoli lead), their mood would get even worse at the sight of Ibrahimovic’s Scudetto-winning goal. Andrea Gasbarroni lost the ball, allowing Inter to regain possesion and serve Zlatan in the middle: in a drill-bit from outside the box, the Swede slammed a precise daisy-cutter that landed in Pavarini’s bottom-left corner. 1-0 Inter.
The tide was turned: Inter were now virtual Serie A champions and were piling on the pressure. Mario Balotelli and Ibrahimovic again barely missed the goal, but the Parma players certainly weren’t giving up: all attacking with their heads low, and inevitably disorganized. Their counterattacks fell short however, and allowed Inter to seal the deal: a cross by Maicon on the right wing (after a good run) found Ibrahimovic completely unmarked on the opposite post, and the Swede fired a precise instep on the volley that left Pavarini no chance. 2-0 Inter and the Scudetto was on ice.
At about 16:40 CET (85 minutes into the game) Roma surrendered to Catania’s equalizer (after many many chances missed by the Elefanti) thus further guaranteeing Inter’s triumph. The Nerazzurri’s chants (“Ibra-Ibra” and “vinceremo il tricolor”) completely covered the referee’s final whistle and sent the many Inter supporters into delirium: La Beneamata had conquered the 16th Scudetto of their club’s history.
|GOALSCORERS: 62’, 79’ Ibrahimovic (I)|
|PARMA (4-3-2-1): Pavarini – Coly, Paci, Couto, Castellini – Morrone, Cigarini (64’ C.Lucarelli), Parravicini (88’ Moretti) – Reginaldo (76’ Antonelli), Gasbarroni – Budan. (bench: Bucci, C.Zenoni, Martinez, Corradi). Coach: Manzo.|
|INTER (4-3-2-1): Julio Cesar – Maicon, Rivas, Materazzi, Maxwell – Vieira, J.Zanetti, Stankovic – Balotelli (76’ Pelé), Cesar (51’ Ibrahimovic) – Cruz. (bench: Toldo, Burdisso, Jiménez, Crespo, Suazo). Coach: R.Mancini.|