SUPERCOPPA ITALIANA 2008: Penalty Kicks Give INTER & JOSÉ First Trophy of the Season

Ladies & gentlemen, the new Serie A season has been launched! Yes, Day 1 only begins on August 31 “officially”, but Sunday night’s Supercoppa appetizer provided enough excitement and entertainment, it almost looks like we’re in it already.

Indeed, the traditional pre-season clash between Scudetto champions and Coppa Italia winners resulted in 4 goals and 120 minutes of very intense battling, where the psychological boost from a win is every bit as important as the silverware. In the end, Inter triumphed over Roma on penalty kicks, the determining shots being made by the two team captains: where Francesco Totti had failed Javier Zanetti succeeded, giving the Nerazzurri the fourth Supercoppa title of their history.

(From Gazzetta): Compared to “ancient” history, the two Serie A dominators of the past 3 years are looking a lot more alike. Tactics-wise firstly (with two wingers dropping back all the way to the goal line, if necessary), and also because of that midfield “pivot” dynamo (Pizarro on one side, Stankovic on the other). Inter however are the team who experienced the biggest changes, at least concerning the playing mentality, and in that sense appeared more motivated. The only two Summer transfers, Sulley Muntari and Amantino Mancini, were immediately fielded in the starting eleven, while veteran Esteban Cambiasso was forced in an increasingly more-frequent center-back role, in order to patch up the missing links of the Inter roster (this seemed like an explicit message to Nelson Rivas, kinda like José’s saying: “sorry, but you’re second choice buddy”).

On the other end, Roma coach Luciano Spalletti preferred Mirko Vucinic (over new signing Julio Baptista) as the lone striker, reverting “The Beast” on the outside wing instead. The ex-Real Madrid player was virtually absent from the match’s first half, but made important progress in the second (especially after the entrance of Francesco Totti, kept on the bench as a precautionary measure).

Much like “The Beast” however, Roma midfield anchors Daniele De Rossi and Alberto Aquilani were having a tough time in the first 45 minutes, pushed back by the Mourinho-dictated Nerazzurri plan (dividing the field in sections, and attacking first on one side then on the other). Dejan Stankovic notably, seemed a shadow of his former past-two-years self (and that’s a good thing!), providing with a certain Luis Figo (finally back to his true winger role) the main passing/crossing service for Inter, supported as always by the genius of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

In minute 18 the Inter battleship sank its first target, courtesy of Sulley Muntari: the ex-Udinese and Portsmouth midfielder initiated a beautiful one-touch Nerazzurri play (leading to a powerful Maicon shot deflected onto the crossbar by Mexès) and gave his team the lead with a rippling left-footed effort. 1-0 Inter, a scoreline which was left unchanged all the way to the half.

After the break, it seemed that Mourinho’s boys could easily control the proceedings until the full-time whistle: Javier Zanetti stung the fingers of Doni from long-range, while based on the quality of his touches/passing, Ibrahimovic’s knee problems seemed a thing of the past. However, and much against the run of play, 2007-Supercoppa-main-man Daniele De Rossi decided to crash the Nerazzurri party: his swerving 25m effort overpowered Julio Cesar, and finally put the teams level. 1-1.

After the equalizer, it seemed as if the game had turned on its head. It was now the Giallorossi attacking and pushing Inter back, something that a guy named José was not enjoying one tiny bit: replacing Figo and Mancini with Balotelli and Jiménez, Mourinho decided to bring balance back to his midfield line, and it worked. The young Italo-Ghanain striker notably (playing his first official match as an Italian citizen) was being pins & needles in the Roma defense, forcing first Cassetti then Doni to two important clearances close to goal (the provider for those two chances? Ibrahimovic, who else). In minute 83 however there was little the Roma keeper could do, when TurboMario got in behind the Giallorossi defense (Mexès a bit at fault here) and beat Doni with a chipped effort inside the left post. 2-1 Inter.

Game over? Not in the least, especially with a team as determined as Roma. In minute 90, a David Pizarro corner was deflected by Mirko Vucinic, bouncing on its way to the top-left corner off Stankovic and Zlatan. Little Julio Cesar could do, 2-2, and match forced into overtime.

Meanwhile, Francesco Totti and Stefano Okaka had replaced Perrotta and Aquilani, while Nelson Rivas had come on for the injured Nicolas Burdisso (just before the Roma equalizer in fact), so needless to say that with the “fresh meat” a different kind of match began here. The Roma captain notably gave glimpses of his genius, with one-time long-range through balls (one of which was shamelessly wasted by Okaka), but it became rapidly obvious that Totti was still miles away from optimum form. Much unlike a certain Mario Balotelli, who in two separate free-kick occasions (a venemous curling long-range effort with a very tight angle notably) sent shivers down the spine of Roma supporters.

Just before the inevitable shoot-out lottery, the Giallorossi had one final chance to score through Okaka, but Julio Cesar deftly neutralized the through-on-goal Roma youngster. It was then time for the Totti-drama, as the Roma captain (who had the chance to win the game, after Stankovic’s mistake) sent his shot onto the crossbar, giving rival captain Javier Zanetti the opportunity to strike back. Indeed, after Julio Cesar had saved Juan’s kick, the Argentine midfielder sent an angled shot past Doni, allowing José Mourinho to grab the first official trophy of his Inter career.

Whoever said Italian football wasn’t exciting? :mrgreen:


F.C. Internazionale Milano INTER-ROMA
2-2 (8-7 p.s.o.)
[Match Highlights]
A.S. Roma
GOALSCORERS: 18’ Muntari (I), 59’ De Rossi (R), 83’ Balotelli (I), 90’ Vucinic (R)
PENALTY SHOOTOUT: Vucinic (R) goal, Ibrahimovic (I) goal, J.Baptista (R) goal, Balotelli (I) goal, Cassetti (R) goal, Stankovic (I) crossbar, De Rossi (R) goal, Maxwell (R) goal, Totti (R) crossbar, Cambiasso (I) goal, D.Pizarro (R) goal, Jiménez (I) goal, Juan (R) saved, J.Zanetti (I) goal.
INTER (4-3-3): Julio Cesar – Maicon, Burdisso (90’ Rivas), Cambiasso, Maxwell – J.Zanetti, Stankovic, Muntari – Figo (66’ Balotelli), Ibrahimovic, Mançini (70’ Jiménez). (bench: Toldo, Pelé, Crespo, Cruz). Coach: Mourinho.
ROMA (4-3-2-1): Doni – Cassetti, Mexès, Juan, Riise (78’ Tonetto) – De Rossi, D.Pizarro, Aquilani (90’ Okaka) – Perrotta (85’ Totti), J.Baptista – Vucinic. (bench: Artur, Panucci, Loria, Brighi). Coach: Spalletti.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Inter, Roma, Supercoppa Italiana |

Related Posts:

  • The New Face of Inter Milan (Gazzetta)
  • Panathinaikos 0-2 Inter Milan: Zlatan Passes, Mancini Scores… Adriano Provides the Cherry on the Cake (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)
  • Sampdoria 1-1 Inter: Scudetto Champions Kick Off With A Draw (Serie A Matchday 1)
  • AS Roma 1-2 CFR Cluj: Stadio Olimpico Stunned in Giallorossi UCL Debut (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)
  • Inter Milan vs. Juventus Preview – The Mourinho & Ranieri Showdown Begins
  • Comments are closed.