#NerazzurriClassics – When Ruben Sosa & Walter Zenga Gifted Inter The Win Away Against Juventus

#NerazzurriClassics – When Ruben Sosa & Walter Zenga Gifted Inter The Win Away Against Juventus
February 28, 2020 10:30
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Following a disastrous 1991-92 Serie A campaign, Inter had a seismic shift at the club as they sold their three German stars Andreas Brehme, Lothar Matthaus and Jurgen Klinsmann replacing them with signings of playmaker Igor Shalimov and strikers Ruben Sosa, Darko Pancev and Salvatore Schillaci to rejuvenate the team.

The team also replaced club legend, Grande Inter mainstay and Helenio Herrera’s disciple, Luis Suarez as manager with Osvaldo Bagnoli after an eighth-place finish the previous season. The off-season changes seemed to have paid off right from the start of 1992-93 season, as Inter found themselves firmly in control of the second spot in the league after winning ten games in their first seventeen rounds, losing only four games.

Newcomers Ruben Sosa and Igor Shalimov were carrying the team offensively and had immediately settled into Osvaldo Bagnoli’s system. Despite the strong start to the season, as Inter traveled to Stadio Delle Alpi to play the second Derby D’Italia of the season, the team was without a win in their last six games, tying all games in the process.

Still, there was optimism in the team as they had managed to beat Juventus convincingly at the San Siro earlier that season with a 3-1 scoreline. Also, Juventus were having an inconsistent season, failing to secure a win against all top half teams in the league. With Giovanni Trapattoni back in charge, Gianluca Vialli leading the Juventus attack, the Derby D’Italia away was a big challenge for the resurgent Nerazzurri side.

Roberto Baggio, Juventus’ leading goal scorer and attacking architect, who played as a trequartista during the season, was unavailable for the match against Inter due to injury. The going got even tougher for the Old Lady when starting striker Fabrizio Ravanelli was stretchered off the pitch following a rough tackle from Inter defender Antonio Paganin.

Juventus were down to their third choice striker as Paolo Di Canio came on for Ravanelli. The visitors took full advantage of the shaky start from Juventus and applied pressure on the home team, right from the start. This was done by keeping Juventus on the back foot by retaining more possession and testing goal-keeper Angelo Peruzzi from long range earlier on.

Ruben Sosa gave Inter an early break through from a thirty-yard strike outside the box, beating Peruzzi on the far-right post. Testing Peruzzi from long range earlier on, proved to be a good strategy on that occasion as the goal-keeper was unable to save the shot due to low trajectory and bounce of the strike from Sosa. After conceding the early goal, Juventus immediately went on the offensive looking for the equalizing goal.

However, without Baggio’s brilliance in their attack, they struggled to get anything past the backline of Giuseppe Bergomi and Antonio Paganin. After the initial offensive surge, Inter adjusted their tactics to defend their lead and played on the counter after seeing Juventus coming out of their half to get back into the match.

Despite the team sitting back, Bagnoli still pressed the Juventus backline with Sosa and Shalimov, trying to force a turnover. Around the twenty minute mark, Sosa intercepted a pass in the midfield from Juventus defender Julio Cesar and started a counter attack which caught the Bianconeri defense off guard.

The interception led to Igor Shalimov wide open on the left edge of the penalty box. With Peruzzi closing down the space, Shalimov curled the shot around the goal-keeper to score Inter’s second goal of the match, only four minutes after their first.

With the game firmly in control of the visitors at half-time and a passionate home crowd getting anxious, the Old Lady was looking for answers quickly to get back into the match.

In the second half, Trapattoni wanted his players to slow down the tempo and keep more control of the ball to try and apply pressure on the Nerazzurri. Bergomi and Paganin continued the strong defensive performance in second half, along with a fantastic series of acrobatic saves by Walter Zenga who kept Juventus off of the score sheet.

Despite a plethora of chances for Gianluca Vialli, both from close and long range, Juventus failed to get back in to the match and the visitors left Turin with crucial two points and also managing the feat of winning both legs of the Derby D’Italia during the 1992-93 season.

By Bilal Mirza