Richard Hall’s Nerazzurri Classics – Frantic in The Friuli

January 5, 2017 16:28
( 11 ) Comment

Balotelli

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 a Nerazzurri Classic. Ahead of Sunday’s fixture against Udinese, Richard looks back to glorious treble winning season of 2009/2010 when Mario Balotelli produced a bit of magic to help secure all three points as Inter steamed ahead to the Scudetto.

This was the season that would see Inter create history. They completed a Treble that had not been achieved by any other Italian club before or after, this was a campaign that is now revered by their fans. Many will remember Diego Milito sealing the league campaign as they beat Siena in Tuscany but this same memory should also emphasise how close this league was. Winning the Scudetto by only two points highlights that their plight could have changed at any time and in February 2010 this nearly happen against Udinese

The Nerazzurri were having what could be classed as a mild blip in their campaign. Unbeaten since December in the Derby D’Italia, they had been in good form but February saw draws against Napoli, Sampdoria and Parma sandwiched between a 3-0 win against Cagliari. It was not the end of the world but with Roma pushing them to their limits, they could not afford to drop more points. A trip to the Stadio Friuli was next and a game against the Zebrette.

Udinese had a funny season in 2009/10 finishing 15th in Serie A despite having a good squad. Juan Cuadrado, Alexis Sanchez, Francesco Lodi, Gokhan Inler, Simone Pepe, Samir Handanovic were all young but extremely talented. They also had Antonio Di Natale, the celebrated center forward would even finish Capocannoniere with 29 goals that term. The Zebrette would even reach the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia perhaps suggesting that whilst they could beat anyone on their day, their inexperience made them inconsistent.

The home crowd had barely taken their seats in Udine, it was a cold evening and many were still finding fortification in the belly of the Friuli. Even those who had chosen an espresso would not have been able to finish quickly enough to see Juan Cuadrado burst down Inter’s left hand side, his ball fell to Di Natale who quickly gave the ball to Pepe and he slotted it away with consummate ease.

Inter were shocked and looked for a hero. With still only five minutes on the clock they found one. The petulant striker and hero of Verona the previous month, Mario Balotelli produced one of the goals of the season. A wayward ball fell to him 25 yards out and the forwards control saw the ball bounce up in front of him. He took a second to some it all up before unleashing a devastating drive passed a hapless Handanovic.

Yellow cards and chances ensued and in fairness the game could have been beyond either team on various occasions. Still however, with only 21 minutes on the clock Milito stormed forward on the right and provided a beautiful ball into the middle that was flicked on brilliantly into the storming Maicon, he side footed the ball high into the roof of the net for another show stopping finish.

The game looked to be sewn up for Inter in injury time at the end of the first half as they struck for a third time. Balotelli now turned provider as it was his deep ball into the box that left the Zebrette defence flat footed. This let Milito in as he pounced on the static defenders to glance a remarkably well placed header past the future Inter goalkeeper. Surely this was game set and match? Not least for the timing of the goal.

The second half saw Udinese come out of the blocks flying and Inter had to rely on Julio Cesar early on. The Brazilian stopper however, could do little about what happened next as a long range free kick by Di Natale, deflected off the wall wrong footed the keeper and was touched home by Inler but no goal was the cry. Referee Mario Bergonzi instead signalled for a penalty with ‘Toto’ quickly dispatched, no joy for Inter and Udinese were back in the game.

Julio Cesar was again called into action after Inler shot was parried but despite all the Zebrette’s huffing and puffing the Nerazzurri held on. It would be games like this that would ultimately see Inter win the title as they gave Jose Mourinho a sight of how talented but also vulnerable his side could be. This was to be the year for the black and blue however and it was games like this in the Friuli that made it possible.

  • 1nteristi

    seeing maicon, sneijder, lucio, ballo, milito makes me wanna cry

    • JAY

      they were all the best players in their position and don’t forget cesar, and don’t mention balo please

  • Azzkikr

    That Maicon goal was pure class.

    You really should have chosen another picture than that traitorous dog Balotelli though.

    • JAY

      I had a friend at that time which was a die hard Bayern fan, he told me he never ever seen anything like Maicon he described him as a machine and he said he never seen anyone go up and down the field like that and have vision and composure like that, also had a die hard Madrid fan as a friend and he also told me Maicon was in a whole other league than any RB he ever witnessed, thanks to mancini for bringing him to us, I think he was the best RB the World had seen

      • NASIR JONES

        As much as I like maicon, Cafu is better. Cafu did a “maicon” for almost his entire career. Too bad he had a bad taste on picking club.

        • JAY

          cafu is the closest one , but still far behind, cafu was very one dimensional, while maicon is not comparable to anyone just a pure genius, maicon revolutionized the RB position

          • Amin Sadrnejad

            In this case I’m with Jay.

          • NASIR JONES

            what do you mean he is one dimensional? He was very explosive at offense and also rock solid at defense. Cafu is the greatest RB of all time. He, djalma santos and carlos alberto was the guys that regarded as Brazil best right back ever. Maicon not even mentioned at all. Javier ‘Il tractore’ Zanetti would be the best RB of his generation if not because of Cafu existence. Not only that, He did that almost maintain his performance almost his entire carreer. The guy won WC at 36! Maicon is 35 right now but he already fading away. I love Maicon, but NO, he is not better than cafu. The only one that can be compared to cafu is J. Zanetti due to their consistency.

          • JAY

            cafu was a better defender totally agree but has nothing on maicon other than that, me personally never even like cafu , he was so one dimensional just went back and forth, maicon had so much better scoring instinct and he was just a beast his goal against rube , Barcelona and this one and against north korea in the Wc will never be forgotten, many regard cafu as the best rb but to me maicon is in another level up from cafu, jz is camparable to cafu, with cafu having a slight edge

          • NASIR JONES

            well, i dont get it when you said Cafu is one dimensional, he is clearly two dimensional kind of a player. Excel in both offense and defense. For me cafu is a better player but I like Maicon better than cafu tho. Too bad his performance dropped so quickly. Maybe I can put it like this, in his peak, nobody better than him, but career wise, cafu is better. Maicon is the Ronaldinho of RB.

          • JAY

            Im 30 years old and I like modern Fullbacks, Maicon was the most Modern fullback I ever seen and ever existed, cafu was a classic fullback, I don’t like that, and maicon brought fear to the opponents and everyone just knew he was a beast but, I cafu for sure had a more consistent career compared to maicon, cafu was similar to zanetti