Inter end the season with their 3rd & 4th trophies of the season, this years Coppa Italia final was a battle to secure not just the Coppa Italia trophy but also a special trophy to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.
Inter have won the 2010/11 Coppa Italia by beating Palermo 3-1 in this evening’s final.
A completely sold-out Stadio Olimpico hosted two sides who had never met before in the final to determine the winner of the 63rd edition of the Coppa Italia. Eto’o gave Inter the lead with a cool finish in the 26th minute, following Sneijder’s perfectly weighted through ball. In the 76th minute, precisely the same combination sent the Nerazzurri fans wild with joy, as Inter placed a firm grasp on the cup. An eventful finale awaited, though, as Munoz pulled one back for Palermo on 88 minutes, before Milito stroked home two minutes into added time to seal the win. The Nerazzurri now have a seventh Coppa Italia to add to their trophy cabinet, and can count 15 trophies won in the last 7 years.
FIRST HALF –
Leonardo had to make do without Maicon (suspended) and Cambiasso (injured) but was able to select Ranocchia, who recovered from flu to partner Lucio at the heart of defence, and Sneijder, who nestled in behind Eto’o and Pazzini. Kharja and Milito started from the bench.
It wasn’t long after the Inno di Mameli (Italian national anthem) and Morganti’s opening whistle that Palermo created the first chance of the game, Ilicic setting up Hernandez and the Uruguayan firing into the side netting with 2 minutes on the clock. The opening period saw the Sicilians throwing their weight around a bit: Hernandez elbowed Sneijder, Goian crunched into Pazzini from behind and Balzaretti fouled Lucio on the edge of the box, all within the first quarter of an hour.
On 15 minutes Stankovic played a long ball over the top looking for Pazzini, who held off the challenges of Goian and Munoz as he attempted bring the ball down, but it ran into Sirigu’s arms.
In the 19th minute, Julio Cesar was alert to dive at the feet of Pastore as the Palermo playmaker raced into the box after playing a one-two with Ilicic. The Argentinian tried his luck again a minute later, after another exchange with Ilicic, but lifted his effort over the bar.
Goian asked to come off midway through the half and on came Carrozzieri, making his first appearance of the season after completing a two-year drugs ban.
The Olimpico exploded in the 26th minute when Inter took the lead: Thiago Motta won the ball while being brought down by Hernandez; Sneijder picked it up and, seeing Eto’o’s run, slid a delightful pass in behind the defence for Samuel to latch onto, bear down on goal and sidefoot past Sirigu into the far corner. The Cameroon striker raised his hand to his chest after notching up his 36th goal of the season and repeated with Materazzi the same celebration seen in the Club World Cup final.
Five minutes later, Palermo almost found an equaliser when, following Hernandez’s cross to Balzaretti and a scramble in the box, Hernandez’s deflected shot was kept out by Julio Cesar with a stunning reflex save.
Ilicic made a dangerous run into the box on 41 minutes, only to flop to the ground after an alleged foul by Ranocchia that rightly wasn’t given.
The last action of the half saw Hernandez’s central shot saved comfortably by Julio Cesar, so after 46 minutes played the half-time scoreline was Inter 1-0 Palermo.
SECOND HALF –
The second half began with Julio Cesar keeping out an effort from Balzaretti, then Chivu made a crucial interception as Hernandez was heading for goal in the 49th minute.
Julio Cesar was called into action again soon after, getting up above everyone to claim the ball following Ilicic’s free kick; he then made another timely intervention to pluck the ball away from Hernandez (52nd), with Lucio guarding the goal line.
Miccoli replaced Acquah on 55 minutes and it took the substitute just five minutes to make his presence felt: connecting with Pastore’s cross, he nodded towards the far corner, only for an alert Brazilian keeper to fly through the air and turn the ball round the post with a great save.
Pazzini made way for Pandev on the hour mark, with Eto’o moved forward to play as the side’s spearhead.
Another scramble inside the Nerazzurri box saw Palermo go close again, but after a series of rebounds Lucio cleared with an overhead kick.
After 67 minutes, a contrast between Chivu and Hernandez in the box led to more protests from the Sicilians, but the Romanian had clearly won the ball.
Inter went close in the 75th minute as Eto’o laid off for Sneijder, but the playmaker failed to connect. However, just a minute passed and the Nerazzurri extended their lead: Pandev won the ball with a little luck and fed Sneijder, who released Eto’o once more and the Cameroonian striker entered the box and slotted into the far corner with another display of clinical finishing. The Olimpico went wild as the cup edged ever closer.
Inter might have gone three up in the 86th minute, when Sneijder curled a lovely shot towards the top corner, yet it was matched by a top-drawer save from Sirigu. And Palermo’s hopes were restored two minutes later when Munoz headed past Julio Cesar from Miccoli’s corner, which in fact shouldn’t have been given – Morganti and his assistants failed to see that the ball had gone out of play before the corner was awarded.
Moments after celebrating his goal, Munoz’s evening was ruined when he was shown a second yellow for bringing down Mariga on the edge of the box as the game entered stoppage time. Eto’o stepped up to take the free kick and struck the ball sweetly but it came back off the underside of the crossbar.
Yet almost immediately afterwards Milito did put the game to bed, turning home Pandev’s pull-back just yards from goal to put the Nerazzurri 3-1 up.
After five minutes of stoppage time, Morganti blew the final whistle on the 2010/11 Coppa Italia final – Inter were the winners.
The president of the Italian Senate, Renato Schifani, handed over two trophies: the Coppa Italia to captain Zanetti and the cup to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification to Marco Materazzi.
Inter 3-1 Palermo (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Eto’o 26 and 76, Munoz 88, Milito 90+2.
: Emidio Morganti (Ascoli Piceno).Booked
: Acquah 27, Munoz 53 and 90, Carrozzieri 68.Sent off
: Munoz 90.Added time
: 1+5 minutes.
1 Julio Cesar; 55 Nagatomo, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 26 Chivu; 4 Zanetti, 8 Thiago Motta (17 Mariga, 82), 5 Stankovic; 10 Sneijder (22 Milito, 87); 7 Pazzini (27 Pandev, 61), 9 Eto’o.Unused subs
: 12 Castellazzi, 14 Kharja, 23 Materazzi, 25 Samuel.Coach
46 Sirigu; 16 Cassani, 6 Munoz, 3 Goian (80 Carrozzieri, 69), 42 Balzaretti; 8 Migliaccio, 94 Acquah (10 Miccoli, 55), 23 Nocerino; 72 Ilicic, 27 Pastore; 9 Hernandez (51 Pinilla, 77).
Unused subs: 99 Benussi, 4 Kasami, 11 Liverani, 36 Darmian.
Coach: Delio Rossi.
“It was an enormous satisfaction this year for me and for Inter with so many changes.” Leonardo enjoys his first trophy as Inter coach, the Italian Cup won against Palermo: “Being able to finish the last match of the season with two trophies raised to the sky by Zanetti and Materazzi [the Coppa Italia and the Cup celebrating 150 years of Italian Unification, ed.] is a wonderful thing.” The Inter coach also praised the thousands of supporters who filled the Stadio Olimpico: “They were extraordinary.”
The Inter coach continued: “Irrespective of next season, this season has been great with all of the obstacles we overcame with pride and quality. Inter finished the season with three trophies which means consistency. This group deserved to finish the year by lifting a trophy.”
And again, more compliments for the Nerazzurri players: “I’m proud of this team, a team that had a difficult year, with three coaches and many demands. It wasn’t easy, especially with all the injuries we had. This team really deserved it: with Ranocchia, who played an extraordinary game after being out for 3 days with a fever; with Sneijder, who did what he did after being out for a month; with Julio Cesar, who made exceptional saves; with Eto’o, who ended an extraordinary year with two goals; with Milito, who scored the last goal of Inter’s season after a difficult year; with all the defence that held strong while under pressure. In short, the whole team was great. The will to win was crucial; we also saw it tonight, but in truth it was always there. The squad is there, and if everyone moves forward with the desire to win again we’ll be fine. There was a desire to confirm that this team could keep winning, the challenges will be there and so will we. On 6 August there will be another one right away.”
Leonardo was asked about a possible contract extension after this victory: “I will not talk about my contract until the end of next season. I’m not worried about it and it’s not important to me. This victory changes nothing. I don’t want to talk about it and it’s not on my mind.”
Then an analysis of the match: “At times we struggled to find the players up front, most of all at the beginning. Then scoring a goal helped us a lot. After that, things were managed very intelligently, and we rose to the occasion. I repeat: we deserved this victory.”
Finally, Leonardo told Inter Channel: “The lads threw me in the air with the cup in my hands, and I almost lost it…”
Congratulations to Palermo, “a wonderful team that played a wonderful match,” said Massimo Moratti praising the season of his Inter. The Nerazzurri president spoke to Rai Sport
: “A mini-treble? Not at all. One of the three trophies this year was the Club World Cup, I want to remind you – I’ll sign every year for a treble like that…”
The president then stated to Inter Channel: “The passion of the players coincided with that of the fans and vice versa. It was a great victory we strongly wanted and deserved. The third trophy in a season, even if for some they aren’t the most important ones… The beginning of a new cycle? I hope so, especially for Leonardo and those lads who recently arrived in this fantastic group. I wish them luck in winning as much as the team’s veterans, who have won so much in recent years and who still hold a strong desire to win. I hear so many questions about the transfer market, so many names are mentioned to me, but the first thing that comes to mind is to maintain this group, although we’ll do like always and add a few players to help the team to continue winning.”
Tenth appearance in the Coppa Italia final for Javier Zanetti (two in 1999/00, one in 2004/05, two in 2005/06, two in 2006/07, one in 2007/08, one in 2009/10 and one this year), who climbs to fourth place in all-time appearances alongside Christian Panucci, Fausto Pari, Gianluca Vialli and Pietro Vierchowod. The player with the most Coppa Italia final appearances is Roberto Mancini, who can boast 15: from 30/06/1985, AC Milan 0-1 Sampdoria, to 18/05/2000, Inter Milan 0-0 Lazio. In second place with 11 are Fausto Salsano and Francesco Toldo.
“It was a difficult victory, and that makes it even more beautiful. Congratulations to Palermo, who played a great match, but also to us because we showed ourselves again to be a real group and a team that knows how to overcome all obstacles.” Another trophy finishes in the hands of Javier Zanetti, who commented on a final won by Inter with their ever-present commitment and grit. The captain admitted: “It was fantastic to be able to raise another cup. This is also a victory for everyone: the team, the president, Leonardo, the fans – those who were with us in Rome and those who saw the match in front of the television.”
With the two goals he scored against Palermo in the Italian Cup final, Samuel Eto’o reached 37 for the season, improving on the 36 he scored when he played for Barcelona. But the Cameroonian, speaking to Rai, acknowledged that, “the important thing in football is to win. My record is important too, but it wouldn’t be so sweet without the victories.” After the match the Nerazzurri striker also went to receive applause from the Palermo fans: “Football is a beautiful sport and I wanted to thank all the fans, including the Sicilians who took a long journey to be here.” Will Eto’o remain at Inter? “The president has spoken and that is enough. Will I stay? Certainly.”
For Yuto Nagatomo this Coppa Italia represents the first trophy he has won at Inter. The Japanese player smiles and is proud of it: “Many things happened during this year, now – going through this time of great joy – it seems almost incredible, after the tears for the elimination from the World Cup in South Africa. Now it seems like I’m living a dream. I want to continue going forward to improve. These six months at Inter have helped me a lot; one year in this team is like ten in another club. My personal goal for next season? To become the best full-back in the world.”
“They were formidable; young players with great talent who could have caused us problems. We did well to close down in the difficult moments and to strike when the time was right.” A lightning recovery and a match played as a true leader, Andrea Ranocchia analysed Palermo, a worthy opponent of the Nerazzurri in the final of the 2010/11 Coppa Italia that saw Inter raise the trophy.
The defender continued: “It was important to win the Coppa Italia. We ended the season with three trophies and we secured the possibility to go out and compete for a trophy as soon as August.”
What an end to what has been a rollercoaster season for the Nerazzurri and despite all the critcism and bad results we showed we are still a very dangerous team. The 1st and 2nd goals in this final proved that we are up there with the elite in world football and we must do our upmost to keep hold of Eto’o & Sneijder for many years to come as they both essential to the success we acheive last season, this season and hopefully for many years to come. Now we can look forward to doing it all again in August maybe with a few new faces but always with the pride and passion of the mighty Nerazzurri so the football world be warned we had a bit of a blip this season but next season we’re coming to take it all back.
SEMPRE FORZA INTER!!!