Richard Hall – Nerazzurri Classics: “Opening Day Delight for Cambiasso”
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 Sunday’s away fixture against Fiorentina, Richard looks back at a fixture between the two teams where Esteban Cambiasso gave a masterclass.
The beautiful city of Florence may hold a plethora of delights for most visitors but for Inter this is not the case. Whilst tourists revel in the opulent renaissance city, drinking by the River Arno or strolling through the Boboli gardens, the Nerazzurri have had a much more Machiavellian experience. Wins (or even draws) have been hard to come by over the last 20 year. Thus, when the Milanese giants found out that they would be facing a Viola team consisting of players like Adrian Mutu, Giampaolo Pazzini and Luca Toni on the opening day, this did not instil confidence.
Inter were not short of quality and with Adriano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Patrick Vieira and Luis Figo surrounding the embryo of the 2010 treble winning team, the game promised much. A warm Tuscan evening in the Stadio Artemio Franchi provided an ideal setting for the match to take place. Inter started the match quickly and soon had a hold on the match. Maicon powered down the right hand side after only 11 minutes. His ball into the box found Ibrahimovic who waited until the last possible moment before knocking the ball wide to Esteban Cambiasso who drove low past Sebastien Frey.
Fiorentina responded well as Mutu hit the post but Inter were desperate to take hold of the game and on the 41st minute they doubled their lead. Amazingly it was Cambiasso again, unmarked at the far post he headed in a cross from Hernan Crespo. The Argentine celebrating with a look of disbelief on his face, a feeling shared by his team mates.
The second half started as the first had left off with the Nerazzurri pressing high and creating most of the chances. The third came on the on the 61st and once again involved Cambiasso. His delectable through ball was lobbed over the Florentine defence, it fell perfectly to the feet of Ibrahimovic who rifled home a powerful volley passed a despairing Frey in the Viola goal. Inter looked home and dry and the season was looking bright as Inter continued to press. A mistake by Maicon on the right hand side seven minutes later however, saw Manuele Blasi whip in a cross for Luca Toni to head home from close range. The Milanese had switched off but there was no time for a comeback, was there?
The Nerazzurri obviously did not anticipate a late Viola surge and the defending began to seem laboured. Luca Toni nearly scored with a superb scissor kick moments later and the warning signs were there.
With eleven minutes still to play Reginaldo powered down the left and swung in a low ball that was met powerfully by the head of Luca Toni once again. This sent shock waves through everybody representing Inter as there was still time on the clock and Fiorentina were in the ascendency.
Despite the late lapse at the back the Nerazzurri had done enough in the first half to secure the victory, although once again the trip to Florence had be fraught with danger. Thanks to Cambiasso the opening day had been a success and Inter would go on to win the Scudetto. Fiorentina finished a respectable sixth due to their indomitable spirit and persistence.
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