The 2006-07 Serie A season starts with a 3-2 win for Inter over Fiorentina. The scoreline is much closer than the game suggested with Inter winning 3-0 at the hour mark only to let the lead slip in the final 20 minutes with 2 goals by Toni.
Its still early days but Inter played some brilliant football for the first hour of the match as they had a solid midfield and defence along with counter-attacking flair. Mancini plays a new system for the match as Inter take the field in a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Toldo gets the start in goal with J. Zanetti playing on the left of defence with Materazzi and Cordoba in the center and newcomer Maicon playing on the right side. The midfield is a diamond formation with surprise start of Dacourt playing above the defenders and Figo playing behind the strikers with Vieira and Cambiasso holding the middle. Up front its Ibrahimovic and Crespo getting the start with Adriano on the bench.
The new formation made for a solid defensive effort as Inter clearly won the midfield battle with Dacourt, Cambiasso and Vieria holding the fort. Figo was not at his best tonight but when in possesion had the skills needed to feed the attackers on many occasions.
Ibrahimovic and Crespo already seem to have a good understanding as they formed a good partnership in this match trying to play off eachother as much as possible. The formation did not allow much wing play but Maicon and Zanetti tried there best to support when possible.
The game is not at the highest pace but Fiorentina are a talented side and Toni is the first to test Toldo and then Mutu tries his luck from distance forcing a great save for a corner kick.
Inter react well and Its Crespo who takes aim as he is released on a counter attack and goes at it alone beating his man and forcing a great save from Frey to keep the game scoreless.
Only mintues later at the 11th minute Inter take the lead on a wonderful passing build up play. Maicon makes a wonderful run down the right side and plays a slip pass into Crespo at the edge of the box. The striker finds Ibra in the center who then finds the rushing Cambiasso and plays him into the box. He makes it 1-0 as Cambiasso puts a low shot to the far corner for the lead.
Inter go two up just before the break as yet another fluid move produces a goal. Figo and Ibrahimovic play a one two along the right side and Figo beats his man into the box. The Portugese winger sends a perfect ball to the center of the area which Crespo challenges for but the defence close on him. No one touches the ball as it goes past the crowd of players but once again Cambiasso comes rushing in to head the ball into the near post to make it 2-0 at Halftime.
The second half begins with Inter in complete control. At the 16th minute Cambiasso who was man of the match sends a perfect lobbing through ball into Ibrahimovic who takes an early volley and scores a bouncing shot into the far corner to beat Frey once again making 3-0.
Fiorentina seem to be down for the knockout punch but Mancini decides to take off Materazzi and bring on Samuel. The change forces Cordoba to mark Toni who has a distinct height advantage and the game changes at this point.
At the 23rd minute Mutu drives hard along the left side and wins a lucky bounce off of Maicon to go past him and sends a ball into the area for Toni. The big striker beats Cordoba to it and heads in from close range making it 3-1.
Toni again threatens to score this time from a right sided cross which he bicycle kicks but Toldo was equal to the task. At the 34th minute however Toni does get his second as Reginaldo who came in as a sub sends a cross in and once again Toni beats Cordoba on the play. He scores a glancing header into the corner as Toldo dives but cannot reach to make it 3-2.
Fiorentina go forward in hopes of getting an equaliser but Inter hold firm and its Inter who come closest as Crespo saves a ball from going over the byline and cuts it back for Figo at the 90th minute but his low shot skips past the far post to end the game.
In the end the win for Inter was deserved as they outplayed the Viola for a full hour. Inter looked very good during the match but the lack of concentration in the final half hour must not be taken lightly. Iam not sure why Materazzi came off as he was doing a great job of holding Toni off the scoresheet but in the end Inter came away with 3 points to open the season and that is all that counts at this stage.
On a personal note I will not be able to write match reports for the next few weeks as I will be away on vacation starting this Wednesday until October 2nd. I am going Iback home to taly for some well deserved time off to visit friends and family.
With any luck I hope to be in Rome between the 19th and 22nd so I will do my best to go watch Inter live against Roma at the Stadio Olympico on the 20th so keep a look out for me on T.V.!!!