For the round twenty-seven match during 2000-01 Serie A season, Fiorentina traveled to San Siro to take on Inter Milan side that was in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
Being an outsider for most of the season due to early struggles starting from Marcello Lippi’s departure after round one to injuries to Christian Vieri and Ronaldo, the Nerazzurri managed to keep themselves in the hunt for a Champions’ League spot after a string of positive performances heading into the home game versus Viola.
After club legend Gabriel Batistuta left to join Fabio Capello’s AS Roma, Fiorentina looked to other club mainstays Francesco Toldo, Rui Costa and Enrico Chiesa to lead the club.
Before the team could get used to the new environment without their former captain, manager Fatih Terim resigned to take same role with AC Milan, leaving the club in turmoil that resulted in appointment of Roberto Mancini as manager.
Viola struggled to find any consistency on the pitch as the steam struggled out the games, managing to only win 2 games through December 3rd.
Heading into round twenty-seven match at San Siro, Fiorentina found themselves in the middle of a five-game undefeated streak, led by Enrico Chiesa who scored five goals in this stretch, including a back to back double against Roma and Lecce.
The Nerazzurri on the other end, had their three game winning streak come to a screeching halt after club tied a home match against bottom of the table side Vicenza before losing 3-1 against Juventus at Stadio Delle Alpi.
With only eight rounds left to play, Marco Tardelli’s side were running out of time to finish strong and catch-up to competition in hunt for a Champions’ League spot.
At kick-off, both sides lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with the visitors lining up with Toldo in goal and a defensive backline of Tomas Repka, Sailou Lassissi, Daniele Adani and Emiliano Moretti. Marco Rossi on the right wing, midfield duo of Sandro Cois, Christian Amoroso and Angelo Di Livio on left wing along with attacking duo of Enrico Chiesa and Nuno Gomes.
Starting for the Nerazzurri were Sebastien Frey in goal, Bruno Cirillo at rightback, Dario Simic and Laurent Blanc as central defenders along with Vratislav Gresko as leftback. A midfield quartet of Javier Zanetti at right midfield, Luigi Di Biagio and Stephane Dalmat as central midfielders, Clarence Seedorf to the left along with attacking duo Hakan Suker and Christian Vieri.
Bobo Vieri got Inter off to a flying start, scoring from outside the box after leading a counter attack around eleven minute mark. Viola defenders kept backing off, giving ample space to Vieri to strike a piledriving shot from outside the box, into the bottom right corner.
Despite going down by a goal early, Mancini’s side fought back, staying compact in defense and looking for counter-attack opportunities of their own.
Coming close a number of times to equalize, Fiorentina failed to draw level instead conceded a penalty around thirty-nine minute mark as Thomas Repka’s two-footed reckless tackle on Seedorf inside the box.
This allowed Vieri to convert from the spot and give home side a comfortable 2-0 lead. As the Nerazzurri grew in confidence heading into half-time, Viola were keep on sitting back in numbers and letting Inter attack, relying on counter-attack opportunities to get back into the match.
Mancini’s strategy back-fired as Stephane Dalmat unleashed a long-range strike from thirty-five yards out, leaving Toldo rooted to the ground and placing the shot in top left corner, taking his side in a commanding 3-0 lead at the halfway mark.
In second half, Fiorentina had no option but to bring more men forward looking for goals to get back into the match.
However, this left Viola even more exposed at the back, as Nerazzurri had more counter-attack opportunities. Vieri and Suker led the attack and were playing off each other brilliantly creating space and scoring opportunities for each other while Seedorf attacked the left wing to provide width to the attack.
Their link-up in attack gifted Inter fourth goal of the match, as Suker curled a beautiful shot from outside the box, past Toldo. Vieri brilliantly held up the ball to allow the run, drawing defenders away from Suker leading up to the goal.
Mancini encouraging his side to keep pressing for goals, committed men forward. Brought on an attacking option in midfield in Mauro Bressan. Strategy ultimately worked for Viola as substitute Bressan and Chiesa scored bringing the scoreline to 4-2 in favor of the Nerazzurri.
Vieri’s brilliance throughout the game was evident as he walked away with man-of-the-match award after scoring a goal and assisting for another.
From attacking the goal, to holding up the ball in opposition half allowing scoring opportunities for others, Bobo was on fire and took complete control of the match by his own.