Category Archives: Coppa Italia

Inter Milan 2012-2013 Season Preview

This summer has been pretty light so far in terms of news and updates. I’ve been working on some columns for Inside Spanish Football and Serie A Weekly asked me to write a season preview for their site and I thought I’d share it with our community.

If you’re a die hard Inter Milan fan like I am, you must have been disappointed by the team’s season last year.

 It’s not really hard to understand what happened last season. The club made several mistakes in 2011 and unfortunately paid for most of them. First of all, the team lost its philosophy, its mental strength and its winning mentality from the Mourinho era. A (record?) total of 4 managers in less than 1 year brought different tactical systems and different football perspectives to the team.

 Second of all, they lost the most talented player on their roster: Samuel Eto’o while far less talented players (Pazzini) and less capable players (Forlan) were expected to step up in that particular position. Finally too many players who were passed their prime were given important role. Dejan Stankovitch, Chivu, Lucio, Julio Cesar and Maicon helped Inter win championships these past 5 years. But let’s be clear, all of them are passed their prime and they all should have been replaced last year.

 That being said, I have a feeling 2012-2013 will be different for Inter. Dejan and Lucio are already gone while Maicon, Julio Cesar and Chivu are on their way out. The likes of Coutinho and Ricky Alvarez will play a much more important role in the development of the offense and both of them will help Sneijder control the pace of our game. Sneijder is an excellent player and a different type of trequartista but Ricky and Coutinho are classic number 10s. Both are better suited to slow down the tempo of the game and deliver intelligent passes to open up the game.

 

Freddy Guarin, who was recruited in January, will also play a crucial role in Inter’s game. He has been really impressive so far in the preseason and having him in the center of our midfield gives us a player who can create offensively but really help out defensively. Silvestre was brought in to replace Lucio and is expected to be our main center back this season and to be quite honest I’m really exited about that… he will be more reliable than Lucio and Chivu. Handanovic who was also brought this summer should be the starting goal keeper and he has been pretty good so far during the preseason.

 2012-2013 will be Stramaccioni’s first full season as the head coach of the team. Personally I think Strama is the man of the situation, and his system (4-3-2-1) suits the team perfectly. He seems to appreciate creative midfielders and there is no doubt that Coutinho, Ricky Alvarez and Palacio will be given more opportunities to run the offense with Sneijder. Last season we saw that he was a bright tactical mind when he outfoxed Allegri’s Milan in the derby but  he knows he will have to do much more than win one big game if he wants to achieve great things with Inter.

 Juventus has a quality team but unlike last season they will have to play champions league football and they lack the depth to compete on three tables. Milan lost their two best/important players and (probably) won’t be competing for the championship and while Napoli, Roma and Udinese have quality teams, only Inter seems to have the depth and the quality to make a serious run for the championship.

 I don’t expect to do much in the Europa League (although I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the final 4 of the competition) but I do expect to see the Inter I’ve seen win championships this season.

Let’s just hope everything goes right this year!

 Forza Inter,

 

Benjamin Dalusma (aka BD)

BD can be followed on twitter @BD1592 or shoot him an email at benjamin.dalusma@gmail.com

 

 

 

Buy the official Inter Home and Away Shirts with NerazzurriWorld and Nike

It’s that time of year again when shirts for the upcoming season are released and in association with the NikeStore we are able to offer you them delivered direct to your door.  The home shirt this season reverts back to the classic two black stripes with black sleeves that is always a classic for our beloved colours, but the away shirt has broke away from the traditional white and is completely red with black and blue stripes on the sleeves!  This shirt has been highly controversial with the Curva Nord Ultras writing a letter to Massimo Moratti voicing their disgust at using a red shirt (I don’t particularly like it myself if truth be told but the important thing is the badge on the chest!)  The colour I am told is part of the deal Inter are striking with the Chinese Rail Company to build us our own stadium in the next few years so with this in mind it has my complete backing! (For this season at least!)

The 2012/13 Inter Milan Replica Shirt:

The new Home jersey features the traditional blue and black stripes. The black stripes are wider, giving the shirt a more dominant look. The classic black crew neck collar gives a simple, elegant look whilst the underside of the black cuff reveals a touch of blue. The inner back neck graphic on the shirt uses ‘Il Biscione’, the snake symbol of Milan, with the outer back neck graphic simply reading ‘Inter’. The all-black shorts have ‘Inter’ on the back waistband and a snakeskin pattern representing Il Biscione along the side seam. The socks are all black with a white ‘Inter’ graphic. They also offer a new and innovative design featuring an updated cotton footbed offering support and maximum comfort.

The 2012/13 Inter Milan Replica Shirt:

The new Away kit gives the team a bold new look to make an impact on the opposition: a uniform of bright red shirt, shorts and socks. The crew neck is red and ribbed, whilst the inner back neck graphic of the shirt is inspired by ‘Il Biscione’, the snake symbol that the city of Milan and Inter share. The outer back neck graphic simply reads ‘Inter’. The cuffs on the shirt sleeves are tipped with iconic black and blue – stamping the club’s heritage on the new strip. The shorts are totally red with ‘Inter’ on the back of the waistband and a snakeskin pattern representing ‘Il Biscione’ along the side seam. The red socks have a black and blue top and a white ‘Inter’ detail.

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Internazionale: January review

INTERNAZIONALE MONTHLY REVIEW: Gennaro/January

 

This is the first of what I hope is a regular monthly review of everything that has happened in the month just passed. Month by month I will look at all things Nerazzurri, the players, the goals, news and all things good, bad and little of the ugly from Inter this month.

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Welcome to Inter’s new coach Claudio Ranieri

Everyone knew after the Novara game that Gian Piero Gasperini wasn’t going to see the end of the next day as the Inter head coach but I can’t imagine that anyone thought that Massimo Moratti and Marco Branca would instate his replacement so quickly. This says to me of course that this has been in the pipeline for a little while and regardless of what has been said in previous weeks Gasperini was rapidly running out of time.

A few months ago when we were originally looking for Leonardo’s replacement Ranieri was amongst the list of candidates so it’s no real surprise that he was chosen. One crucial factor in his appointment is the fact he has been the coach of several top-level clubs and ‘The Tinkerman’ is known to have a talent for steadying a ship, which will be vital after Inter’s disastrous last couple of months. The downside of his appointment is that he is widely considered as ‘the best loser’ as he has a habit of coming close to honours of league titles or cup wins but always coming up short in the end. This isn’t as bad as it seems as long as Moratti only sees him as a short-term solution because with the chaos caused by Leonardo’s departure and Gasperini’s terrible era we need to be realistic and just set ourselves a target of qualifying for next seasons Champions league, anything beyond that would be a bonus and as much as I’d love to see our beloved club return to glory this season we need to settle the squad again and rebuild their shattered confidence, as Roberto Mancini said to the press recently Inter’s winning cycle has come to an end, as Interista we have to accept this fact and realise our priority now is to setup the new foundations to return the club to glory in the coming seasons.

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Italian Super Cup: Milan beat Inter 2-1 to take the win

Inter shirt supercup 2011This years Italian Supercup was one of the most anticipated of recent years with Inter taking on city rivals AC Milan, and like all Milan derbies it promised to be a great match, and to be honest it didn’t disappoint, though i’m starting to think that the Birds nest stadium is cursed for Inter as history repeated itself and just as we did two years ago we lost the Supercup 2-1. Inter came out fighting and played fantastically for the first 30 – 35 minutes showing a fluidity and vision that meant Milan hardly got a look in on the action, but towards the end of that half the Rossoneri started to get in to their stride which continued in to the second half which started a bit scrappy and it didn’t take long for Milan to get the equaliser going on to score again and win the match. I’m not going to pretend i’m not gutted that they beat us but i have to admit on the overall run of play they deserved the win. Personally I think the main cause of this defeat was down to bad decisions made by Gasperini, the first of these was changing the formation for the second half which meant Milan managed to do what they couldn’t for the majority of the first 45 minutes and take control of the midfield, his other mistakes were in his substitutions where twice he removed a player that was being very influential, which brings me to the positives today Obi and Alvarez were brilliant especially in the first half where they both showed great vision with intelligent passing and pacey runs that were leaving the Milan players standing which i thought was something exciting to look forward to seeing more of in the upcoming season, it also proved the italian press wrong when a few days ago they said ‘Ricky’ doesn’t have any pace. Of course one other point worth considering is the fact that Milan were playing with all their south American players, where as ours are still on holiday after the Coppa America with the only exceptions being Julio Cesar and Juavier Zanetti who returned early to cover the injured Viviano and Nagatomo who were both were ruled out in the pre-season.

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Italian SuperCup 2011 – Inter v AC Milan Preview

Here we are just days before Inter take on AC Milan in the 2011 Italian Super Cup at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. The match, which will be shown live on RaiUno in Italy, kicks off at 20:00 local time (14:00 CET) on Saturday 6 August or for those like me that live outside of Italy you can find live streams of the match online at FreeFootball.org or at Free Live Sports TV. With the Derby della Madonnina in Serie A not coming till the 18th week (Jan 15th 2012), i’m thankful for this years Supercup being against our cross town rivals, even though it won’t be played at the Meazza, as that is a long time to have to wait for one of the highlights of the Calcio calender.

A few people have asked me whether I think the atmosphere during the match will be as intense as a normal Derby and I would have to say that I don’t see why it wouldn’t be, there have been rumours over the last few weeks that the Curva Nord and the Curva Sud won’t be making the trip to China, which in my opinion would be a shame, but even so judging by the welcome Inter received upon arrival in China i’d say there’s no danger of there not being a great atmosphere for the event.

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2010/2011 Inter Season Review

So that’s it the 2010/2011 season has come to a close & what a rollercoaster it’s been, filled with victories, anger, disappointment & pride.
In this season review i’ll go through what went right and what went wrong for the Nerazzurri this season.
After five years of superiority in Serie A Inter have lost the Scudetto to our cross town rivals AC Milan who have claimed the title for the 1st time in 7 years and as disappointing as this is the mood amongst Interisti isn’t as bad as you’d think as for all the disappointment of losing the Scudetto there is still plenty for us to hold our heads high with pride for.

Inter’s season has been full of twists and turns that have made this campaign almost like watching a medium budget Hollywood production. We came no where near reaching the fantastic feats of last season’s treble but neither have we sunk like the Titanic as was expected at one point when we were sat in a miserable mid table position with no sign of the ‘Grande’ Inter of Mourinho’s reign, but let’s go back to where it started with Jose Mourinho’s tearful farewell shortly after winning our historic treble that marked the end of an era but also in my opinion had massive implications in the morale of the Inter players which had a huge impact on how the defences of our title was going to go, a season with far too many mistakes.
The first of these mistakes was the hiring of Rafael Benitez who in my opinion is one of the worst managers in Inter’s history, almost straight away there was tension in the management as Moratti refused to sign new players in the summer as he believed there was no need and Benitez disagreed. Inter’s Benitez era is best summed up by the phrase ‘it was not meant to be’ though i prefer to look at it as ‘why did we hire the manager who was being called useless by Liverpool fans who were supposed to love him?’ anyway during this time Injuries mounted, player discontent increased, results deteriorated and Benitez himself became erratic in his decisions, he clearly wanted to build his own team that worked to his philosophy but the players were missing the techniques and regime of the ‘Special one’ now at Real Madrid.
Though we managed to secure the Italian Super Cup against a terrible Roma team the European Super Cup was well out of our reach with a bad performance from the team and already it was starting to become clear Benitez had no control over the Inter squad. With a divide ripping through the Inter camp by December the Nerazzurri was looking half the team they were under Mourinho. Winning the Club World Cup got the spirit of the players and fans back up but Benitez still wasn’t happy and after an unproffesional outburst during the post match interview Moratti decided that enough was enough and fired the Spaniard.
Then on Christmas eve phase two of the season started with the shock appointment of ex AC Milan man Leonardo, the Brazilian took the Biscione by storm and managed to paper over some of the cracks which were showing in the team and also his own tactical abilities but he was getting the results and all of a sudden Inter were back in the Scudetto race and still on for a second treble in a row which was reinforced by our fantastic comeback win over Bayern Munich in the Champions league last 16 match, though defensivly we were letting in far too many goals in all compititions with Leonardo’s all out attack philosophy, this became the focus of attention during one of the most disasterous week’s in the club’s history as we lost 3-0 to rivals AC Milan and hammered by a mediocre Shalke team in the champions league quarter finals which knocked us out of the European competition and eventually out of the running for the Scudetto, on the plus side we secured the Coppa Italia in confident style on the last match of the season.
After the disasterous start to the season under Benitez any Interisti would be more than happy with 3 trophies, 2nd place in the league and a decent run in the Champions league but it was the manner of Inter’s failure that left a bitter taste in our mouths, even under Leonardo the team failed at decisive moments and with an ageing squad and numerous injuries the inabilities and lack of creativity and poor back up for the defensive positions were highlighted. It is now clear that work needs to be done for next season with an injection of youth to freshen up our squad which still is very talented.

Leonardo’s appointment was never designed to win, it was meant to rescue. And the Brazilian has done very well in fulfilling that brief. He was caught out tactically by more experienced tacticians as seen against Udinese, Milan and Schalke, but he is also the reason why Inter won’t look at this as an utter failure of a season. Moratti and Branca made some vital signings in January of which Giampaolo Pazzini’s acquisition has reaped the best rewards. Andrea Ranocchia may yet shine given an opportunity of full pre-season training and working with the likes of Walter Samuel, whose injury was quite possibly the biggest reason why Inter leaked goals like a damaged water pipe. Yuto Nagatomo brought something to Inter that had been missing for the longest time, a pacey left-back. But, his sustainability throughout a campaign is yet questionable.

The best thing that has happened for Inter this season is that they have relinquished the title. It has made Moratti realize that his squad needs a spark if he plans to sustain their success levels from years past. Moves are being made to address this issue and Leonardo’s confirmation as Coach for next season is the first step towards ensuring a stable and developmental approach for the future.


Coach – Leonardo:


The Brazilian’s statistics fail to highlight his failures but they reflect handsomely on his success. Inter won every single home game in the league under him but when it really mattered they failed to deliver. He definitely needs to work on the tactical side of the game, but motivationally he is one of the best and knows how to get the most out of his team.


Player of the Season – Samuel Eto’o:


There are no other contenders for this honour as without him, Inter would have been a laughing stock for the first half of their season. He took on the responsibility of scoring and delivered, resulting in 37 goals for Inter this season beating his previous personal best of 36 he scored for Barca, if he can continue in the same vein next season and with Pazzini along, Inter can feel secure.


Turning point – Milan 3-0 Inter:


This was the beginning of the end for Inter. They conceded in the opening minute and gradually lost the plot as the game unfolded. A win would have put them top, but they flopped and it was followed by an even worse performance against Schalke in the infamous 2-5 defeat.

What’s to come?

Hopefully Inter will break the habit of a lifetime and make a real effort to compete with Europe’s biggest teams to secure the signatures of some big names which means Moratti needs to spend some serious money, time will tell and all we can do is sit back and see what happens over the summer. One thing is definite though Inter will be a force to be reckoned with next season no matter what happens.

Eto’o & Milito seal Coppa Italia Final with a 3-1 win against Palermo

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.

Match Report
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.
Referee: Emidio Morganti (Ascoli Piceno).
Booked: Acquah 27, Munoz 53 and 90, Carrozzieri 68.
Sent off: Munoz 90.
Added time: 1+5 minutes.

Line ups

Inter:

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: Leonardo.

Palermo:
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.
Reactions
Leonardo

“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…”

Massimo Moratti
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.”

Javier Zanetti
(Football Data) 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.”
Samuel Eto’o
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.”
Yuto Nagatomo
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.”
Andrea Ranocchia
“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.”

Conclusion
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!!!

Coppa Italia 1st Leg Roma 0-1 Inter Match Report & Reactions

Inter finally got the result they needed after 5 losses in a row, which puts them in a strong position to progress to the final after the second leg at the Guiseppe Meazza on the 11th May. Dejan Stankovic was the man to get the goal for the Nerazzurri with another superb long range effort from outside the box on the stroke of half time, this was in fact his 2nd goal of the game after his first got ruled out by a questionable refereeing decisions in the opening minutes. Both sides had their chances in the second half but the scoreline of 0-1 stayed the same. Inter looked by far the stronger side throughout the game but even saying that they were still no where near the level we know they are capable of, this win should however give them the confidence to finish the season on a good note, hopefully!!! My one criticism of the match was the fact that Leonardo paired Milito up front with Pandev instead of Pazzini the subbed Milito for Pazzini which is a shame as i was looking forward to seeing how Milito & Pazzini would play together but to be fair Pandev had a good game, he didn’t score or have any particularly good shots on the goal but he did work hard bringing the ball into attack.

Match Report
FIRST HALF


Leonardo went with Lucio and Ranocchia at the heart of the Nerazzurri defence, flanked by Maicon and Nagatomo; there was experience aplenty in midfield with Zanetti, Cambiasso and Stankovic, while Sneijder began in the hole behind strike pairing Milito and Pandev.

Inter immediately asserted themselves on the game and had most of the possession in the opening stages. Two minutes in, Sneijder tried his luck from range and got his effort on target but failed to really test Doni with it. Just a few moments later Inter should have been a goal up: Cambiasso’s long ball forward induced Doni and Juan to make a mess of things allowing Stankovic to fire home unmarked, but the Serbian was harshly adjudged to have fouled Juan. However, it was Inter’s turn to get lucky in the 9th minute when Vucinic managed to stab wide with the goal at his mercy, after Borriello’s cross had gone beyond Julio Cesar at the near post. The Montenegro striker had another chance after a quarter of an hour but was again imprecise.


The Nerazzurri felt they had been hard done by once more in the 17th minute, when De Rossi’s handball in the box went unseen by the referee. Lucio then had a header saved by Doni after 21 minutes before the Brazilian centre-back returned to doing his day job down the other end five minutes later, denying Perrotta with a fantastic acrobatic interception following Cassetti’s cross. And he showed his worth again around the half hour mark with another timely tackle at full stretch to take the ball away from Borriello, a minute after De Rossi had fired an effort over.


Sneijder had another sight on goal in the 43rd minute but was unable to hit the target. Stankovic, however, definitely had his shooting boots on this evening and gave Inter the lead with an absoluter stonker of a goal: as the game ran into first-half stoppage time, the Serbian picked up Cambiasso’s pass 25 yards out and struck a thunderous right-footed effort with the outside of his boot that curled into the top corner leaving Doni with no chance. After a minute’s added time, the sides headed into the dressing rooms with the Nerazzurri a goal to the good.

SECOND HALF


The second half began with the same twenty-two and tensions soon began to rise, Vucinic lashing out at Lucio with an elbow that was missed by the referee. With 53 minutes on the clock, Roma almost found themselves two goals down: Pandev met Stankovic’s cross from the right and nodded goalwards, the ball came off Cassetti’s back and Doni went walkabout; Sneijder played the ball back towards the empty goal only to see Cassetti hack clear with Pandev ready to pounce. The home side went close themselves in the 64th minute, when Perrotta was inches away from connecting with Taddei’s cross. Stankovic called another handball by De Rossi in the box after 71 minutes, but the claims again fell on deaf ears. Sneijder went for goal once more with 10 minutes remaining and this time his cross hairs were centred but Doni was alert to it.


Roma upped the pressure as the game entered the final stages: Vucinic kept trying to find a way through and kept being shut out by the Nerazzurri rearguard. Then, in the 89th minute, Pazzini had a glorious chance to possibly put the tie beyond Roma’s reach when Sneijder picked out his run behind the defence, but Doni did well to close down the angle. In injury time Vucinic again went looking for an equaliser, with Maicon on hand to snuff out the danger this time.


After 4 minutes of added time, Inter were able to celebrate an impressive victory that stands them in good stead for the second leg.

Roma 0-1 Inter (HT: 0-1)
Scorer: Stankovic 45.
Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Bologna).
Booked: Taddei 5, Maicon 14, Burdisso 51, Ranocchia 57, Sneijder 59.
Added time: 1+4 minutes.

Lineups
Roma:
32 Doni; 77 Cassetti (Rosi 78), 29 N. Burdisso, 4 Juan, 17 Riise; 7 Pizarro, 16 De Rossi; 11 Taddei, 20 Perrotta (Simplicio 73), 9 Vucinic; 22 Borriello (Menez 63).
Unused subs: 1 Lobont, 3 Castellini, 15 Loria, 33 Brighi.
Coach: Vincenzo Montella.

Inter:


1 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 15 Ranocchia, 55 Nagatomo; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 5 Stankovic (Mariga 90+4); 10 Sneijder; 27 Pandev (Obi 82), 22 Milito (Pazzini 75).
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 14 Kharja, 23 Materazzi, 26 Chivu.
Coach: Leonardo.

Reactions
Leonardo
I still don’t know why there was no pre match press conference published for this game but Leo did do one after the match.


“It was important to break the string of poor results. Many times it seems easy to do but it’s not, because managing all the different factors in a match is never easy,” began Leonardo when commenting on the first leg victory in the semi-final of the Coppa Italia against Roma.

The Nerazzurri coach continued: “The team did well to react and get the win, which is never a given here in the Stadio Olimpico. I witnessed an excellent management of the play over the first 90 minutes. Now there’s the return leg at the San Siro, with everything still to play for.”

The inevitable question arose about his future. However, Leonardo responded: “I have no worries about the future. I live for today and I don’t even think about the rest; I live my own experience with the club and the president. We have a great rapport that is very open. What matters is finding the solutions to make the team win, as we saw this evening with an extraordinary goal from Stankovic – not to mention his fantastic performance. Pandev did excellent work to close down spaces and then restart in attack. Sneijder did a great job as well. The 4-4-1-1? We’re always looking for the best way to face the game. The team in general was very good. Was Milito disappointed to come off? I don’t really think so. Quite the opposite; his form is on the rise and he played a great game. In the second half, among other things, we had the chances to make it 2-0. But aside from that, the team responded well in general. Eto’o’s condition? We have to evaluate over the next few days, as we do for other players.”

Leonardo closed by commenting on the next few games facing the team: “Inter must try to maintain consistency; there have been defeats that took away our rhythm, but now we have to recover it, remaining calm and clear of mind. This evening was a test of maturity and clearness. I repeat, it wasn’t easy to find the proper calmness to take on a semi-final. A test for the team? After Parma there were final judgements handed out when, in football, they are never final. Our duty was to break the string of poor results. However, I had never seen a team that was absent; at times they even had too much desire, and this was creating a bit of confusion.”

Javier Zanetti


“An important victory in a stadium that is never easy. It followed a difficult moment, and I think that this evening Inter showed a great response.” Javier Zanetti’s comments to the microphones of Rai Sport after the Nerazzurri’s 1-0 victory over Roma in the first leg of semi-finals of the Coppa Italia. “We played a great game against a tough opponent. It’s never been easy to win here in Rome,” continued the captain.

As to whether or not this result was a response to the many rumours going around in recent days speculating on the future of the coach, Zanetti explained in his closing statements: “I’ve always said that Leonardo is doing a great job. Let’s forget about what’s being said and focus on Saturday’s match against Lazio.”

Yuto Nagatomo


“We prepared the game with the captain. The team was very united; we wanted to win and we did.” In a few simple words Yuto Nagatomo explained to Inter Channel how Inter were able to overcome Roma and win the first leg semi-final of the Coppa Italia.
“It was a very tough game but we never lost concentration and we earned a major victory. We can’t think about being tired; we have to win every game that awaits us from here until the end of the season. My performance tonight? I think it went pretty well, but I still have to improve a lot,” stated the Japanese full-back.

Dejan Stankovic


Another top performance, another goal to remember. Dejan Stankovic led Inter to a win in the first leg against Roma in the semi-final of the 2010-11 Coppa Italia, and he described the highs and lows of this evening’s match to Inter Channel: “I’m happy for the win. We were coming out of a difficult period and we did it as a group and as a team. But when a team like Roma stands in your way you can’t say that qualification is already secured.”

Stankovic admitted: “There’s regret for the league because we did so much to get to the derby. But we can’t say anything bad about this team because it’s a great team and it’s difficult to win everything, every year. I believe that if we manage to qualify for the Champions League and win another trophy, then this current season could be considered a good one. If we look back a few years, we would have to remember that the Coppa Italia has always been a very important trophy for Inter.”

Finally, a comment on the goals of Dejan Stankovic: “Never ordinary? [smiling] Well, let’s just say they are rarely tap-ins… However, the most important thing is that the one tonight earned a victory for the team. Now we’re preparing for the Lazio match with a low profile: compact and ready to set off again.”

Conclusion
It’s nice to have positive things to say about the team we love as they have been few and far between in recent weeks but the team played well last night (not their best but well enough) and it was great to see our defenders doing what they were supposed to, Ranocchia played very well stopping alot of Roma’s runs but the man of the match for me was Lucio as he was back to his blistering best with forward runs & defended with determined & professional challenges. Now hopefully we can go into the Lazio game on Saturday with the same determination and improve even more.

Roma v Inter Coppa Italia Semi Final Leg 1 Preview

The Coppa Italia semi final 1st leg against Roma is tonight and the reality of the situation is that this is Inter’s last chance of silverware this season (Not including the Supercup & World cup) unless a miracle occurs in the Scudetto.  So what are our chances of beating Roma across the two legs?  Well we’ve been really out of form since our defeat in the derby which isn’t being helped by the fact Leonardo doesn’t see anything wrong with how his tactics are affecting the team, there are rumours going around that tonight is Leo’s last chance and Baresi is waiting to take over until the end of the season if he does get the boot, but i’m not going to go on about Leo anymore as i don’t like to be negative about anything to do with my beloved Inter.  The important thing is that Inter perform without dwelling on recent bad results and Roma have had a bad season too sitting down in 6th just 1 point above Juve, so on that Inter hasn’t had that bad a season really! It also means we have got a very good chance of knocking them out of the cup, especially as we have got Maicon back in the squad the bad news though is that Eto’o is out for tonights match with a foot injury, hopefully though this will give Milito & Pazzini a chance to get the goals and be Nerazzurri’s heroes tonight.


Squad selection

Leonardo has called up 22 Nerazzurri for Roma v Inter, semi-final first leg of the Coppa Italia 2010/11 scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday 19 April, at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome (kick-off 20:45 and live on Rai Uno).

Goalkeepers:

1 Julio Cesar, 12 Luca Castellazzi, 21 Paolo Orlandoni;

Defenders:

4 Javier Zanetti, 6 Lucio, 13 Maicon, 15 Andrea Ranocchia, 23 Marco Materazzi, 26 Cristian Chivu, 37 Marco Davide Faraoni, 55 Yuto Nagatomo;

Midfielders:

5 Dejan Stankovic, 8 Thiago Motta, 10 Wesley Sneijder, 14 Houssine Kharja, 17 MacDonald Mariga, 19 Esteban Cambiasso, 20 Joel Obi, 29 Philippe Coutinho;

Forwards:

7 Giampaolo Pazzini, 22 Diego Milito, 27 Goran Pandev.
Press conference
At the time of writing this there is no press conference interviews published on Inter’s website so i can’t put them on here yet, but as soon as they appear i shall include them on here.  Until then you’ll have to make do with an Interview with Dejan Stankovic.
Dejan Stankovic
Dejan Stankovic was interviewed for Inter Channel’s Zona Mista programme. You can read his words here on inter.it.
Dejan, you’ve been through some good and some bad times with Inter, and this is one of those moments when the ball doesn’t seem to be running for you. Do you think that some of it is just down to chance?
“Yes, there is an element of bad luck in the negative period we’ve been through in the last two weeks. We can’t deny that it’s a difficult moment but we have plenty of experience; this group of players has seen a lot, both wonderful moments and very difficult moments, and sooner or later you come through them. The main thing is that we stick together and remember how good this group is and what we have achieved. We can’t hide anything but if we’re committed we can get out of the rut and achieve the goals we still have. As long as it’s still mathematically possible, anything can happen, though I’ve always been realistic in life. It’s very difficult for us to stay in the hunt for the Scudetto but we mustn’t lose out on Champions League qualification, which is crucial for this club, for our fans and for us players. We also have two games against Roma and a possible cup final. A team that is so used to winning as we are has to bring a trophy home; raising a cup is important to us.”

The Coppa Italia tie between Roma and Inter has been dubbed as “the semi-final of the frustrated”, but perhaps lots of people have forgotten that the Nerazzurri have already won two competitions this season…

“There were many people who couldn’t wait to let out everything they had been storing up for the last five years. Inter have won everything there is to win at club level in the last five years so it’s normal that we should be criticised now, just as we have to accept it, get our heads down and push on. I must say that I’m very proud. Even in the difficult times I’ve always said I am proud to be wearing this shirt and to have these fans who back us and tolerate us, because what they are doing is extraordinary. I’m really very proud to have a set of fans like that.”
How much desire and strength is left in this team to achieve the targets that remain?
“It’s not easy because we put so much into closing the gap from January up until two weeks ago. It was a minor miracle and sooner or later there’s a price to pay for that. It’s a shame it happened right at the key stage of the season but that’s football. In situations like this you get tired physically and mentally. You have to work hard in your head, trying to remember the good times, the great games, the moments of magic and move on without letting it all get to you. It is hard but we can do it. We have to find that energy from somewhere; I’m not sure from where but, as Zanetti said, we have to put some more petrol in the tank.”
Is Leonardo helping you in that?
“If you start playing again immediately, you don’t have time to think about what happened. Leonardo is trying to keep us calm and he knows what it’s about because he was a player too. As he told us on the pitch in Parma, we have to play without panicking because sooner or later the moment will pass. Hopefully starting from tomorrow.”
My Prediction
For this prediction i’m going to ignore the fact we’ve been terrible for a few weeks and keep my faith in the Nerazzurri to do what is needed to progress to the final with a 2-3 win for Inter tonight.
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