Inter have continued on the pace of great from showed in the last half of the season. This time in the first leg of the Italian Cup final. Inter are half way home with a 2-0 win away to Roma. Adriano is the hero as he scores both goals, one an amazing strike from 35 yards.
A stellar Adriano lead the team tonight as he also scored a third goal, but Collina called it back with the game still at 0-0. Such a shame that the Emperor will not be there for the return leg this coming Wednesday.
Of course in football, anything can happen as proven by the Champions League final but with a 2 away goal lead Inter could gain there first trophy since the Uefa Cup in 1998. Adriano was the main draw for this match and flew from Brazil after playing two World Cup qualifying matches.
He said he wanted to make it for the game to prove how much he wants to stay at Inter and help them win. Well he talked the talk, and lucky for us, he walked the walk scoring both goals. That is the mark of a true champion. He came through when it counted, he scored in the big game and took the team on his shoulders.
Adriano beat Roma on his own, a Roma who started very well and had Inter on the back foot within 40 seconds as Cassano tests Toldo. Cassano also hit a post and with Totti in inspired form it was all Roma in the first 15 minutes.
Inter did settle however and began to take control of the midfield and use the wings with Kily and Zanetti/ZeMaria swapping on the right. Inter now had the upper hand and as Adriano scored a spectacular goal from 35 yards he celebrated with his arms spread to take in the glory at the 30th minute. 6 minutes later he scores his second as Zanetti does well to go by Chivu down the right side and the Romanian has no choice but to foul him.
Ze Maria steps up to deliver the free kick which was basically like a short corner kick and Adriano uses his muscle in the 6 yard box to power through the defence and head the ball from close range bringing his total to 28 goals in all competitions!
As I said it was Roma who had the brighter start. Cassano was the main threat with Totti feeding him and luckily Toldo was equal to the task. At the 7th minute it was a great combo between Totti and Cassano who volleys a cross and luckily hits the post.
From a corner kick shortly after struck by Mancini its Favalli who almost risks the own goal. Inter were on the back foot and maybe were a little intimidated by the 75000 fans or just shaking the rust from the long lay off between games.
But at the 17 minute mark, Inter put their head above water and begin to play better. Its Adriano who takes on the defence and is taken down for the free kick. Mijhalovic puts it wide but its the first threat on goal by Inter. Little by little INter begin to take control of the midfield and as Roma's ligtning start was over the Emperor Adriano took care of the rest.
At the 30th minute Adriano takes the ball just above center and turns through the midfield. He lets go a stunning left footed shot from easily 35 meters away that takes off like a rocket. Roma goalkeeper may not have saw it from that distance but he was still able to dive and get both hands on it. It was too hard and all he could do was push the ball into in the net to make it 1-0 Inter.
The game takes a full twist at that point with Inter fully on top and Roma still wondering what hit them. Ferrari cannot keep pace every time Adriano gets the ball, Cambiaso and Stankovic playing in the center take control of the midfield while Kily and Ze Maria provided the width needed.
As described above Zanetti provdied the width and gained the foul for ZeMaria to cross for Adriano to score...Tik Tac Toe and the Emperor is on top of the world. Its the knockout punch for this Roma side that were stunned in 6 minutes of brutal force by Adriano. Inter gains the confidence and finish the half on a rising note with the game in hand.
In the second half Roma coach Conti plays Monetlla in attack. With Dacourt and Perrotta in the middle though they had the ball winners but little idea what to do with it. Totti was the only one who could inspire a move but with Cambiasso always in close cover Totti was forced to rush back into the midfield to try and invent something for the strikers. He does find Montella at the 24th minute but Collina stops the play for offside.
Inter is solid all match and with Cambiasso holding the middle was always organized. Ze Maria and Kily also kept wide on the pitch and ran into space which was exaclty what was needed. Martins had a few good runs but Chivu held him in check for the most part but with the 2 goal lead all Inter needed was to play solid football which they did.
Roma had a little flurry near the end as Montella passes to Cassano at the 37th minute. The striker who was left alone heads the ball straight into Toldo's hands. A minute later is Montell who puts in a low diagonal shot towards goal but again Toldo was there to make the save.
Inter now have 3 days to prepare the return match which will see them lose may player as Adriano, Cambiasso, Kily, Zanetti, and Karagounis will report for Confederation Cup duty. Hopefully in the return Mancini can organize the squad well, keep Totti and Cassano in check and use the 2 goal gift that Adriano gave the squad and Mancini can bring home a trophy in his first year in charge of Inter!