#NerazzurriClassics – When A Samuel Eto’o Brace Led Inter To A Bologna Demolition Job

#NerazzurriClassics – When A Samuel Eto’o Brace Led Inter To A Bologna Demolition Job
September 17, 2021 20:00
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January 15th, 2011 – After finishing the season with an emphatic treble at the end of the 2009-10 season, the Nerazzurri lost Jose Mourinho as a manager who departed to take over Real Madrid.

Replacing him was the Spaniard Rafa Benitez. Despite winning the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2010, Benitez had a hard time replacing the Special One and the team uncharacteristically struggled in Serie A, finding themselves in seventh place after sixteen rounds.

The team went on an eleven-game stretch where they managed to win only three games which included a five-game stretch where the team managed to score only once.

Massimo Moratti had enough of the mediocrity and replaced Benitez with Leonardo midway through the season.

The team started producing results instantly, going on a three-game winning streak to start Brazilian’s tenure as Nerazzurri manager, in a stretch where the team averaged 3 goals per game!

Next up for the resurgent champions was Bologna at San Siro in round twenty.

Under the management of Alberto Malesani Bologna struggled at the start of their 2010-11 Serie A campaign, spending the majority of the first half of the season fighting off the relegation zone.

However, at the start of the new year, they had found decent form and had firmly placed themselves safe from the bottom three spots and found themselves comfortably in eleventh place as they traveled to take on champions of Italy at San Siro.

Leonardo was without the starting goal-keeper in Julio Caesar due to injury and started the match with Luca Castelazzi in goal followed by a defensive line of Maicon, Lucio, Cordoba, and Chivu. Midfield had Cambiasso, Thiago Motta, Zanetti with Stankovic in behind the strikers Milito and Eto’o.

Photo: imago/Gribaudi/ImagePhoto

For Bologna, starting eleven were Viviano, Garics, Britos, Portanova, Rubin, Ramirez, Perez, Mudingayi, Della Rocca, Ekdal, and Di Vaio.

With the support of 52,724 fans at San Siro, Nerazzurri started the match as more confident of the two sides, as expected.

Nerazzurri applied pressure on Bologna from the start, with the likes of Maicon making runs on the flanks, Eto’o and Pandev cutting inside to provide support to Milito and Stankovic making late runs into the box from the midfield.

Inter came close to scoring first at the fifth-minute mark when Lucio’s headed cross into the box found Milito wide open, however, his header ricocheted off the bar, keeping the score at 0-0.

On the flip side, Bologna tried to retain possession but found it difficult to work the ball through the middle which left Marco Di Vaio isolated in attack.

Leonardo’s magic was clearly visible, the attack was much more fluid through the middle, with quick one-touch passes through the middle and attackers looking for one another more often, causing all sorts of trouble for the visitors.

The pressure paid off around the twenty-minute mark when Inter found a rare opportunity for a counter-attack led by Samuel Eto’o who managed to pull defenders out of position with his pace and elusiveness, leaving Stankovic wide open inside the penalty box, scoring Inter’s first goal of the match.

The assault on the Bologna goal was far from over. Inter didn’t take long to add a second goal.

Ten minutes after their first, Milito scored Inter’s second goal of the match after he latched onto an absolute world-class through ball from Stankovic from the center of the field through to the attack passing the entire Bologna defense.

Milito burst through the defenses, and brilliantly placed the ball into the bottom right corner.

Malesani didn’t make a substitution at half-time, however, after seeing his team struggle again despite adjustments, he didn’t waste much time in the second half to bring on Gimenez to replace Mudingayi.

This would prove to be the turning point for Bologna as it allowed them better ball distribution and play-making ability from the center.

Visitors were starting to pose a threat for the home side, however, Samuel Eto’o’s brilliance and chemistry with Milito was too much for Bologna to handle as Inter added third and the fourth goal, both by Eto’o to have a comfortable 4-0 lead after seventy-five minutes.

The fourth one being extra special as it came off a brilliantly taken free-kick. Absolutely perfect weight, power, and placement on it a world-class performance from Eto’o.

As the game headed towards full-time, Gimenez added a consolation goal for the visitors making the final scoreline 4-1 in favor of the Nerazzurri, making it four wins in a row under Leonardo.

By Bilal Mirza

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