With Inter’s 2-2 draw at Stadio Olimpico on July 19th, having secured them Champions League football next season, we have picked out three of the Nerazzurri’s most memorable encounters in the competition.
Bayern Munich 2-3 Inter – 2011
Having been narrowly beaten by a stoppage-time strike at the San Siro two weeks ago, Leonardo’s Inter had plenty of work to do going into the second leg. However, despite being written off by the majority of pundits, the Serie A outfit defied the odds to become just the second side in the history of the competition to overturn a home first-leg Champions League deficit.
Although the visitors made a fast start, the Bundesliga side quickly pegged them back before somehow managing to turn the tie around just before the break. Julio Cesar’s heroics kept Inter’s faint hopes alive, before Wesley Sneijder’s powerful finish helped set up a thrilling finale. The match was turned on its head in the 88th minute when Goran Pandev kept his cool to give the Nerazzurri a precious lead. The Macedonian had missed a golden opportunity just a few minutes earlier, so the winger must have been mightily relieved to see his 12-yard effort hit the back of the net with just a couple of minutes left on the clock.
📋 Jose Mourinho explains why he encouraged Goran Pandev to play inside to create a midfield diamond during Inter’s 2010 Champions League semi-final against Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/Y5jaVEQqk0
— The Coaches’ Voice (@CoachesVoice) May 8, 2019
It was the second time that the holders had outfoxed the German giants in the space of nine months, although they subsequently came unstuck against German opposition with Schalke denying them the opportunity to clinch back-to-back Champions League titles.
Chelsea 0-1 Inter – 2010
This display at Stamford Bridge was all about grit, determination, and teamwork, and with very little between the two teams in the first leg, the opening goal was always likely to be decisive in West London. Samuel Eto’o gave the visitors the lead after just 11 minutes and, in typical Jose Mourinho style, it was backs against the wall throughout the majority of the second half. The Portuguese was delighted to get one over on his former employers and, although he received his fair share of abuse from the stands, he appeared to be relishing every single minute of this tie.
With the Blues having enjoyed a positive season in the Premier League, Antonio Conte could be the latest Inter boss to face his former club in this competition next year. With both teams set to undergo major changes in personnel this summer, a number of players may also be swapping West London for Northern Italy over the coming weeks.
Frank Lampard’s side have been linked with Leicester’s Ben Chilwell and Brentford’s Said Benrahma, although the latter’s price tag could significantly rise if Brentford manage to secure promotion to the top flight. The Bees are 1.96 in the English Championship betting odds, and the talented Algerian has played an integral role in helping Thomas Frank’s men remain competitive at the top of the table. Benrahma’s arrival could potentially pave the way for the likes of Marcus Alonso, Emerson, and N’Golo Kante to join their former coach at the San Siro.
Inter 4-3 Spurs – 2010
Although this game will primarily be remembered for an outstanding individual performance from Gareth Bale, it was Inter who eventually came out on top in this superb spectacle at the San Siro. Samuel Eto’o was once again on the mark, adding to Javier Zanetti’s early strike. Following Heurelho Gomes’ dismissal, the hosts looked home and hosed, and Dejan Stankovic appeared to have put the game out of reach just before half-time.
However, the Welshman had other ideas, smashing in two quick-fire goals before completing his hat-trick late on. Rafa Benitez’s young side just about managed to hold on, continuing their fine form in Group A.
Inter fans will be hoping that Antonio Conte can deliver yet more memorable Champions League performances over the next twelve months, and they’ll no doubt be looking forward to yet another rollercoaster ride in the world’s greatest club competition.