Inter win another SuperCoppa as they beat AS Roma in one of the most memorable matches in recent history at the San Siro. The final score line was 4-3 for Inter but the score is only half of the story. Inter were 3-0 down in the opening 34 minutes turning all the excitment of the new season and new signings into a nightmare. How could a squad with all this talent be so badly out played??
It was the question on the minds of 40,000 plus fans in the San Siro who celebrated the Scudetto with great banners and songs before the match only to find themeselves in the hole by 3 goals so soon. But this is INTER MILAN. The only team in the world that can offer such highs and such lows, not only over a season but often enough in the same game!!
Mancini starts with the usual 4-4-2 system with Toldo in net, J. Zanetti, Matrix, Samuel and Grosso on defence. Figo and Stankovic play on the wings with Vieira and Cambiasso central in the midfield. Adriano and Ibra make up the attacking pair up front. The first real chance falls to Inter after only 7 minutes as Figo on the right side beats Cufre and sends a cross to the far post for Stankovic who tries to head it in for an assist rather than shot and was blocked by the keeper.
Roma respond well to the early threat and come back as Totti plays it into Taddei who prolongs the pass to Mancini on the left side only to shoot wide with Toldo at his mercy. Mancini redeems himself at the 13th minutes as Panucci sends a harmless cross into the box that J. Zanetti seems to be able to clear with ease. The captain with Mancini beside him runs in between the Roma player and Toldo only to miss the ball leaving Toldo in no mans land and Mancini to score on an awful mistake by the Inter captain making in 1-0 Roma.
Inter seem under shock from the unlucky goal and only 5 minutes later Aquiliani shoots from just above the 18 yard box but Toldo makes a great save and turns the ball out for a corner kick. Inter don't seem to react well to Roma's system of on rushing midfielders and Adriano up front does little to help the squad as an outlet. He lost the ball easily, never did anything productive and was unable to combine with Ibra at all giving Roma all the time in the world to defend as Adriano still looks to be a shell of his old self.
Roma was outplaying Inter in all aspects and Inter's defence with Materazzi and Grosso both coming off World Cup duty seemed to be a step behind when Roma attacked. Aquiliani scores the second goal as Mancini passes to him in the middle and plays a one two with Totti that burns Materazzi and Grosso in one play to allow the under 21 international to walk in and score on Toldo making it 2-0 for Roma.
The Inter defence looks like butter on every attack and at the 34th minute yet another goal goes in as Mancini starts a play from the left side and switches to Taddei on the right. He sends a low ball into the area as Perrotta lets the ball run through to find Aquiliani rushing in to score from close range making it 3-0 and Inter under shock.
The game seemed to be over but with only minutes left in the first half a lifeline arrives for Inter as Figo sends in a free kick into the area. Vieria climbs higher than everyone else to score and make it 3-1 on halftime boosting morale, but with Inter fans stunned for viewing such a horrible first half performance.
The second half starts with the same players but with Figo playing central behind the strikers rather than as a winger. After 9 minutes Mancini brings on Maicon taking off Grosso and moving Zanetti to the left. Inter look more lively and the crowd also gets behind them as they begin to create and move the ball. Adriano still looked out of place and at the 16th minute Mancini made the move that changed the game bringing on Crespo for the awful Adriano. After only 4 minutes on the pitch Crespo converts a great header from a Stankovic cross to make it 3-2 and put Inter back in the match.
Its Inter now who control the game as Roma tries to hold the lead while Inter believe in the comeback. Inter pin Roma in their own half and at the 29th minute Cambiasso sends a ball into the box for Crespo. THe striker heels it to Ibra on the left side of the box and his half volley is not struck cleanly but it crosses the face of the goal to find Vieria running in and scoring to make it 3-3 completing the comeback.
Its Roma who is now stunned and cannot react to losing a 3 goal lead as Inter push forward for the winner. They almost find it with only a minute left as Crespo plays a perfect assist to Ibra on the penalty spot but his shot is just wide as it skims the post with the Roma keeper beaten.
The match goes to extra time on the 3-3 scoreline with both teams tired from an amazing match. Inter look to be the stronger team as they continue to control the game and its Luis Figo at the 4th minute of overtime that provides the brilliance to win the game. He steps up for a free kick won by Ibra at the edge of the box and Figo sends a perfect curled shot into the corner scoring a brilliant goal to make it 4-3 and win the SuperCoppa for INTER!!
The remainder of the match sees Inter hold the ball and keep Roma at bay to bring home the victory. Chivu gains himself a red for a double booking in the late stages of the match making the final portion a much easier task for Inter. The ref blows his whistle and Inter with the SUPERCOPPA for the second year in a row with an amazing second half performance and a 4 goal comeback.
Inter really is the craziest team in the world and is the only team that can have me in a rage of anger at half time and then jumping for joy like a child at a candy store all in 90 minutes. Congratulation to Inter on a well deserved vicotry and an amazing comeback to start the season in grand fashion.
Its all smiles as Inter lift the trophy but the negatives did exist and Mancini must inspect the horrible defending at the start. Lets hope its just lack of form from Materazzi and Grosso due to extended holidays. The bigger issue is also the non-existant form of Adriano who once again seemed to handicap the team with ineffective play. Once Crespo came in the squad the team looked to be in another gear and his integration with Ibra was seamless changing the game for the better.
Lets hope Inter can figure this out for the start of the season and Champions League, but for tonight lets all enjoy yet another Trophy and make a toast to a wonderful season ahead.