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Inter Wrap Up Successful Year
...Coppa Italia, Supercoppa, Scudetto and records
Mancini’s cycle is paying its dividends and 2006 has been the most successful year during his reign. With already a Coppa Italia and a Supercoppa under his belt (2004-5 season), “Mancio” retained both trophies by August beating Roma twice. The Coppa Italia 2 legged-final took place during May where Inter held Roma to a 1-1 draw at the Olimpico and then got 3 goals past them at the San Siro for a 4-2 aggregate. This was the 5th Coppa Italia won by Inter, the second in two years.
Inter were again up against the Giallorossi in August in the Supercup final. Scudetto-awarded Inter faced Roma who had finished just behind them in the previous league campaign. The traditional format of the cup was dishonoured since the Coppa Italia was also won by the Nerazzurri themselves. After having conceded 3 goals in less than 25 minutes, Inter made a stunning comeback to beat Roma 4-3 with goals coming from newcomers Vieira (2 goals) and Crespo along with an extra-time goal by Figo. These goals also retained the cup, which was won against Juventus the previous year.
During summer the Calciopoli scandal erupted seeing Juventus, Fiorentina, Milan and Lazio penalised. Juventus were demoted to Serie B whilst other Scudetto rivals Milan had an 8-point penalisation. Fiorentina and Lazio also had 19 and 11 points deducted respectively. Seeing that Juventus were relegated, several of their stars left the Bianconeri and in fact 2 of them ended up signing for Inter; Patrick Vieira and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Moratti, known for his summer signings, didn’t hesitate in investing to bring in Grosso, Dacourt, Maicon, Maxwell and Crespo along with those two.
It was certainly labelled as Inter’s year looking at the situation, the transfers and the squad, which was at the disposal of Roberto Mancini. And in fact it was: Unbeaten in 18 Serie A matches, 11 consecutive league wins, 38 goals scored, 15 conceded, Winter champions and qualification from the Champions League group stage. Impressive numbers for a squad who is aiming to win it all. Numbers, which overcome the records, set up by “La Grande Inter” of the 1960’s. During these first 3 months Inter had to deal with numerous injuries and suspensions though. Cambiasso nearly missed 2 months whilst Dacourt and Cruz are to be back after the Christmas break. Defenders Samuel, Cordoba and Grosso all had short-term injuries too whilst Vieira and Ibrahimovic were shown the red card more than once this year. All in all it was the whole team, which impressed and delivered these results. Underrated players like Solari and Burdisso had great performances, which helped the team throughout. Inter reached Roma’s record of 11 consecutive league wins by beating Atalanta before the Christmas break and can set a new record by beating Torino once the league kicks off again on the 14th of January. Apart from beating Atalanta and reach Roma’s record, Inter had something else to cheer about: Adriano ended his goal drought of 9 months by heading past Calderoni.
Many critics are suggesting that Inter have to win the league after looking at what happened during the summer Calciopoli verdicts. If this league is so easy, why are Milan 28 points behind Inter? Their penalisation was 8 points no? Why is it that all of a sudden Palermo president Zamparini wants to dismiss Guidolin from the bench after having declared that they could aim for a surprise Scudetto? Why are Inter 7 points adrift of a spectacular Roma with Totti being Serie A top scorer? These are the questions, which those football “experts” must reply after stating that this is a senseless league. Inter must continue on their path and ignore all the others who are trying to ruin a campaign which could be glorious and memorable. May all the dreams come true next May…