Richard Hall’s Nerazzurri Classics: “Milito saves Inter in the Stadio Sant’Elia”
Every week SempreInter.com editorialist, Richard Hall, takes a look back at the glorious history of Inter by highlighting a certain match, hero or any other event in Inter’s history worthy of being labelled Nerazzurri Classic’s. Ahead of the match against Cagliari, Richard looks back to the 2009/10 season when a certain Argentinian Prince won it for Inter.
The sun was out in Sardinia on a glorious September day as Inter travelled to face Cagliari in the fourth round of the season. The scene was reminiscent of a by gone era of Italian football, as the shadows loomed over the sun drenched pitch with 21,000 watching on. Unbeknown to the Nerazzurri, they were embarking on their famous treble winning season but had Diego Milito not been on form in this match, then things could have turned out very differently.
Cagliari were not to be underestimated. Coached by Massimiliano Allegri, their team consisted of Alessandro Matri, Federico Marchetti, Nene, Davide Astori, Radja Nianggolan and Daniele Dessena. Albeit some of these players were just embarking on their careers but it still was the nucleus of a very good side.
The Sardinians had not started the season well however. They had drawn 0-0 away at Livorno, lost 3-1 at home to Siena and 1-0 away in Florence. The visit of Inter would pose quite a threat but it was also a game they knew could kick start their season.
Inter on the other hand had had better luck and despite drawing their opening game 1-1 with Bari in San Siro they then destroyed Milan in the Derby 4-0 before going on to beat Parma 2-0 at home. This was their first game out of San Siro (even though the Derby was technically away) and they were hoping to keep the run going.
Inter started brightly with Dejan Stankovic firing wide early on but before the away side could impose themselves fully Cagliari were awarded a penalty. A beautiful cross field ball found Jeda with space on the right hand side, he crossed in hoping to find Matri but the striker was hauled back by Maicon. Jeda stepped up and dispatched the ball with power into the top corner for 1-0. Julio Cesar went the wrong way and Inter were stunned.
Matri could have doubled the lead moments later but fired wide and despite Samuel Eto’o’s long range effort Inter went into the break looking lost. The second half started as the first ended with the home side creating more chances. Jeda and Dessena came within inches of putting the game out of reach but to the astonishment of the home crowd the game remained 1-0.
The Sardinians then embarked on a suicidal four minutes that decided the game. Milito and Eto’o combined to catch out Astori in possession. This allowed the Argentinian striker the option to run one on one with Marchetti and dispatch the ball under the on rushing keeper.
Before the home side had chance to realise what had happened Milito had struck again. Stankovic (rather hopefully) hit a ball over the top. ‘Diego’ ran through the Sardinian defence who had inexplicably stepped up. One on one he lifted the ball over Marchetti and sealed the win.
The rest as they say is history but had Cagliari not imploded on that fine September afternoon, then who knows where the season may have gone.
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