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 tonight’s fixture against Palermo, Richard looks back to the 2008/2009 season when the magician Zlatan Ibrahimovic waived his wand to bring Inter the win.
There are moments in life when hard work and effort are rewarded by something greater than you could have expected. For fans of the Nerazzurri who made the arduous trip to Sicily in November of 2008, this was to be one of those nights. Although Palermo were looking like an improving side, Inter were expected to win but it was the manner in which they got it, thanks to a certain Zlatan Ibrahimović, that will live long in the memory.
The Palermo side of this era brought with it a certain style, a distinctive swagger and some thought this season a special team. Edison Cavani, Fabrizio Miccoli, Abel Hernandez and Marco Amelia were just some of the men that were laying a foundation for a team that only a few years later would become fierce opposition in the division. Prior to the game however, things were not panning out as well as the Sicilians had hoped and five wins, five defeats and a draw was not how they had expected things to go.
Inter on the other hand were on fire winning seven drawing three and only suffering a 0-1 defeat in the Derby some weeks previous. There 4-0 demolition of Roma had been a high point; however, it had taken a late Julio Cruz winner, deep into injury time, to down Udinese at San Siro the week before.
Inter’s travelling fans quite literally were in the process of lighting up the Stadio Renzo Barbera as the teams came onto the pitch. The red flares and plooms of smoke were matched by the home side but as the haze cleared it was Palermo who were in the ascendency. An early ball was whipped in with so much venom by Cavani that it surprised Marco Materazzi who inadvertently nearly but the ball in his own net. This pressure did not relent and Cavani tested Julio Cesar moments later in the Nerazzurri goal.
Half time came and went and despite flashed from Inter the Sicilians had controlled most of the game. Straight after the referee started the game for the second half something happened. Zlatan Ibrahimović decided that he was going to win the game for the Nerazzurri in spectacular fashion and decimate Palermo in the process.
The Swede picked up a loose ball on 46 minutes and drifted out to the right, he wasn’t closed down but he was over 30 yards out and at an angle. Zlatan simply took a touch, looked up and drilled the ball past Amelia in the Palermo goal with fantastic precision. It was a goal of such quality it deserved to win the match on its own.
‘Ibra’ was now in the mood and came close moments later. There was no doubt when a free kick was awarded on the edge of the box with 30 minutes left to play who would take it. What happened next was extraordinary as the Inter forward unleashed a shot with such venom and power that it threatened to break the Sicilians net. Lashed straight down the middle it was actually fortunate for Amelia that he couldn’t get near it for he would have been able to do nothing whatsoever about it.
The travelling fans made the long trip home gifted with something that was much more that they could have hoped for. They came away with much more than a 2-0 win, they came away with memories and Zlatan memories at that.