After two managerial changes and a sixth-place finish, Inter turned to Giovanni Trapattoni to end their five-year title drought in Serie A. Winning six Scudetti while managing Juventus, Trapattoni came to Inter with title-winning experience and expectations to match.
As matchday 9 came around during the 1986-87 Serie A season, the Nerazzurri were preparing to take on Torino at San Siro. After starting the season with a shocking 1-0 loss against newly-promoted side Empoli, Inter went on a ten-game undefeated streak.
As Torino came to town, Inter was in the middle of the streak, with crucial back-to-back games against title contenders Juventus and Napoli in the rear-view mirror. The team had yet to find consistency in front of the net, scoring only two goals in four games leading up to the clash against Torino.
The undefeated streak was mainly due to the phenomenal defensive record thus far, only allowing three goals through the first eight games with one of the three being an own goal against Juventus.
Alessandro Altobelli had been in tremendous form leading the attack so far, scoring five goals thus far while his attacking partner Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had a slow start to the season, scoring only two goals both of which came in a game against Brescia.
Torino was coming off a fantastic fifth-place finish in the previous season under manager Luigi Radice, which allowed the team to qualify for UEFA Cup during the 1986-87 season.
However, they got off to a rocky start as the team struggled to maintain league form due to participation in European competition, only winning twice through the first six games. Despite the early struggles, they went into the round nine matches against Inter with confidence.
Comprehensively winning back-to-back games against Atalanta and Avellino with a combined five-goal margin, led by their summer transfer window signing, Dutch striker Wim Kieft who had scored four goals in the back-to-back wins heading into the match against the Nerazzurri.
Starting eleven for Inter in this match were Walter Zenga, Andrea Mandorlini, Giuseppe Baresi, Ricardo Ferri, Daniel Passarella, Pietro Fanna, Adriano Piraccini, Alessandro Altobelli and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
For Torino, Luigi Radice’s line-up was, Fabrizio Lorieri, Paolo Beruatto, Giancarlo Corradini, Giovanni Francini, Roberto Carvero, Junior, Giacomo Ferri, Antonio Sabato, Antonio Comi and Giuseppe Dossena. The inform dutch striker Wim Kieft missed the match due to injury.
The Nerazzurri got off to a flying start, as Altobelli capped off a blistering counter-attack by comfortably scoring an uncontested shot past goal-keeper Lorieri, giving the home side an early 1-0 lead within six minutes.
Torino’s momentum going into the match seemed like a distant memory as they struggled to capitalize after conceding early. Trapattoni’s men kept the pressure on Torino, retaining possession and rotating the ball throughout the Torino defenses.
Altobelli and Rummenigge played well off each other, one drifts wide to draw the defenders out while the other makes a run into the box to attack the empty space.
Inter took a comprehensive 2-0 lead right before the half-time whistle, Altobelli scored from a brilliant back-post cross from Giuseppe Baresi.
In the second half, Torino came out with a different mindset. Instead of being pushed back on the defense and playing counter-attacking football, the visitors were looking to retain more possession and methodically build up their attack with a steady supply of crosses from the wings and allowing their midfielders to make late runs into the box to create scoring opportunities.
Walter Zenga had a busy second half as Torino were consistently getting past Inter defenses with their scoring opportunities, however, Zenga’s fantastic form kept Torino off the scoring sheet early in the second half.
Around the seventy-fifth minute, Giuseppe Dossena smashed a volley past Zenga to score Torino’s first goal of the match and brought his side within striking distance to sneak a point away at San Siro.
A sixty-fifth-minute substitution from Trapattoni replacing Rummenigge with Marco Tardelli swung the momentum back in favor of Torino as Inter started missing the striker upfront who can hold-up the ball and allow Altobelli and midfielders to make runs into the box.
Without the hold-up play, Torino scored and grew in confidence as the game edged towards the final whistle. Zenga’s brilliance in goal frustrated the visitors and ensured three points for the home side.