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Ryan Ross On August - 28 - 2010

Inter Fail In Bid To Win European Supercup

Europe’s elite gathered in Monaco over the past few days to witness the draw for football’s premier tournament and also the Continent’s top two teams battle it out for the European Super Cup. Fans travelled from Milan and Madrid to witness a special night when Internazionale took on Atletico Madrid. The venue for this classic was the Stade Louis II, the date Friday 27th August 2010; the managers Rafael Benitez and Quique Sanchez Flores.

The two teams were set up in a similar manner, to try to work-out each other out, not to give anything away and to capitalise on any mistake the oppisition make. Inter made one change to a side which had started the Champion’s League Final, with Dejan Stankovic starting in midfield with Pandev dropped to the bench. Curiously Atletico also decided to field the exact team, bar one player, which won them the Europa Ligue, Uruguayan Diego Godin started in central defence with the Spaniard Antonio Lopéz dropped.

The match began tentatively, but Inter looked the stronger in the opening stages. Early pressure saw Atletico concede two corners with Cambiasso skying a shot over the bar after the second. The Spaniards wrre not to be outdone though, and Forlan broke down the left only to hit a cross directly to the waiting Samuel who cleared with ease. Inter tried to work a corner in the 29th minute with Sneijder floating a cross into the box, Samuel got his head to it and should have scored, but he headed wide. Apart from that the half ended in a stalemate, and the managers were sure to issue a few choice words to their teams.

The second half belonged to the Spaniards as Atletico launched continuous counterattacks as Inter wasted possesion and looked defensively frail. The telling moment came on 61 minutes when Aguero played Reyes, who after a poor first touch, managed to recover and dribbled round Maicon to slot the ball past Julio Cesar sending their fans into raptures. Atletico lead 1-0 and the Nerazurri looked stunned.

Benitez decided it was time to change tactics and Pandev was brought on for Stankovic inorder to gain options in the final third. Atletico responded instantly, Fran Merida came on for the goalscorer Reyes. Pandev’s introduction made an instant impact, De Gea made an excellent save from Milito’s shot with Pandev smashing the rebound off the crossbar; this was all fruitless though as Milito had been ruled offside.

Inter made a further change bringing on Coutinho for Sneijder, but the youngster hardly settled when Simao burst down the left, crossing for Aguero to slip past the Inter defence and tap the ball past an aghast Cesar. Game over.

Inter now had 5 minutes to resurrect a performance which had been below-par, could they claim something back? The Italian Champions pressed and managed to gain a penalty after Raul Garcia fouled Pandev. The Prince, Diego Milito, took the penalty but he never looked fully composed and he made it easy for De Gea to save and end any hopes of a comeback.

The whistle blew and the Nerazurri knew they had not been good enough. Cedit has to be given to Atletico Madrid and Flores, they had a tactical plan and they stuck to it. Inter will need to improve greatly on this performance if they are to repeat even a glimpse of last season’s achievements. But in Rafa Benitez they have a top manager and with the players at their disposal, you’d expect them to bounce back quickly.

Ryan Ross

I became enthralled with Calcio back in the 90’s, when James Richardson presented Football Italia. My early mornings were spent following the trials and tribulations of Internazionale, during a period where they always flattered to deceive. It took a Frenchman to get me hooked though; Youri Djorkaeff, my favourite player of all time. This guy was key to Inter’s midfield, never mind his role in France’s World Cup win in 1998! I have a keen interest in Calcio’s rich history.

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