In the 1961-62 season, Inter finished second in the league behind arch rivals AC Milan despite leading the league and holding onto top spot through sixteen weeks.
After the season ended, Angelo Moratti almost appointed Edmondo Fabbri as team manager, however the deal didn’t materialize and Helenio Herrrera continued his third term as team manager. The move proved crucial for the Nerazzurri as they lifted the Scudetto at the end of the 1962-63 season, finishing four points ahead of rivals Juventus.
While Inter got off to a rocky start to the season, SPAL was off to a fantastic start, winning seven of their first twelve matches. As round twelve came around, they traveled to San Siro to take on a resurgent Inter side that after managing only seven points through first seven matches, had been on a four-game winning streak while only conceding two goals in the process.
With the disappointment of missing out on the title previous season still looming, the team were fighting to get back into Scudetto contention. With Bologna as a surprise league leader earlier on, Juventus in at second place and SPAL being third ahead of Inter, the upcoming match between the two sides was crucial for the Nerazzurri as they prepared to mount a strong second half of the season to fight for the Scudetto.
For Inter, starting the game were Lorenzo Buffon in goal, Tarcisio Burgnich, Giacinto Facchetti, Armando Picchi and Aristide Guarneri in defense. In midfield the Nerazzurri lined up with Mario Corso, Luis Suarez, Franco Zaglio and Sandro Mazzola with Jair da Costa as the lone striker.
To counter the homeside, Serafino Montanari had SPAL starting with Eugenio Bruschini, Gianfranco Bozzao, Sergio Cervato, Adolfo Gori, Dante Micheli, Manlio Muccini, Osvaldo Riva, Carlo Dell’Omodarme, Giovanni Bui, Carlos Cezar and Oscar Massey.
Despite being ahead of Inter in the league table and starting the season strong, coming into the round twelve match, SPAL was struggling in attack and only managing narrow 1-0 wins back to back games against bottom of the table sides in Venezia, Mantova and Modena. As the game got underway, Inter were more dominant of the two sides, applying pressure from the start and keeping visitors on the back foot.
Creating a number of opportunities earlier on and not giving away possession easily. Breakthrough came early for the Nerazzurri when Sandro Mazzola, found the run of Luis Suarez towards the center of the box, pulling defenders towards him. He picked out Mario Corso’s run into the box on the right wing and played a first time pass to him, resulting in a cross to far post where Di Giacomo scored an easy tap-in giving Inter the lead inside first twenty-five minutes.
Sandro Mazzola and Luis Suarez were dictating the flow of Inter’s attack brilliantly. Moving the ball around with ease and accurately making it difficult for SPAL to defend. Soon after the first goal, Mazzola found Luis Suarez at the edge of the box yet again making a run on the counter-attack, placing a lobbed pass straight at his feet. Suarez struck a brilliant volley with power and smashed home Inter’s second goal of the night, just six minutes after the first goal. Going into half-time, the momentum was completely in favor of Inter as SPAL were struggling to create much of anything.
In second half, despite minor adjustments from SPAL, Inter continued to be the dominant side. Mazzola & Suarez both continued their dazzling display in attack and SPAL still hadn’t found an answer to them. Around the sixty-eight minute mark, Inter’s star signing Jair da Costa set up a third goal for the home side.
Mazzola lobbed a ball inside the box for da Costa. With three defenders closing in on him, da Costa flicked the ball to his left and headed it to Mazzola whose run inside the box left him completely unmarked, allowing him to score his third goal of the season.
With the game coming edging closer to finish and Inter with a comfortable 3-0 lead, the team took the foot off the gas pedal and let the pressure off the visitors. Taking advantage of this adjustment, Cezar scored SPAL’s first goal of the game at seventy-one minute mark. With nineteen minutes left in the match, SPAL tried to retain possession and mount a comeback.
With a minute remaining in the game, Micheli added SPAL’s second goal of the match closing the goal differential to one. However Helenio Herrera’s side held onto the ball to finish the game 3-2, moving into third place in league standing ahead of SPAL and continuing the winning streak to five games.