In the 68th minute, as a Gasbarroni free kick sailed into the right corner past Cesar, a slight amount of feces dropped into my pants. My first game as the Inter blog "manager" here at theoffside, would be a loss. All year this team has gone undefeated, and the first game I cover is going down the drain. I thought about my prediction, "Inter take this one easily, 2-0." Well, what an ass I feel like now. Both myself and the Inter team as a whole, underestimated this Parma squad.
In the beginning of the game, under the dense fog of the San Siro, everything seemed okay. Inter had repeated attacks, and where around the Parma box for a majority of the early portion of the match. However, in the 15th minute Parma's Morrone put a shot on goal, but it went wide right. Then in the 21st minute Cordoba brought Corradi down in the box. However the referee kept the whistle away from his mouth; this was the first of many "questionable" calls. From this point on, Inter's play was sloppy, and even unorganized at times.
Despite their bad play, the Nerazzuri took the lead in the 30th minute. A corner from Jimenez found Cambiasso open, and with his left foot, slipped it past Bucci. "Alright", I said to myself, "Now we'll start playing". My hopes were not fulfilled however, as Inter's disappointing play continued. Finally, 10 minutes later Parma struck. A Reginaldo cross found Cigarini inside the box, and he put the ball in the right corner. There weren't many scoring chances for the rest of the half, and the beginning of the second half. This was because Parma was "sitting back" playing for the tie, and maybe even a chance at a counter attack.
But it wasn't a counter attack that gave me a stroke and two heart-attacks in a 3 minute period, it was a free kick. The substitute Gasbarroni, as stated in the first paragraph, put one past Cesar. To add to my long list of medical botheration's (shitting my pants, stroke, and numerous heart attacks), Bucci made a terrific save on Cambiasso's bid for a double in the 74th minute. But the 86th minute Couto blocked a shot with is head, supposedly. After seeing the replays, I honestly believe, it was a handball. Initially, the ball hit his head, but then his lower portion of his forearm deflected it out of bounds. Couto was sent off, and Zlatan calmly put the penalty kick in the back of net.
Parma lost their composure, and continued arguing with the referee even as they kicked off following Ibra's penalty goal. Inter took advantage of this. A cross came from the right side (not sure from who), and the unfocused Parma defense allowed Zlatan to settle the ball with his chest and put it past Bucci for a dramatic game winner.
Esteban Cambiasso (30)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (pen 88)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (90)
Luca Cigarini (40)
Andrea Gasbarroni (69)
Ivan Cordoba (45)(Y)
Luis Jimenez (84)(Y)
Luca Cigarini (34)(Y)
Cristiano Lucarelli (77)(Y)
Andrea Gasbarroni (88)(Y)
Silva Manuel Fernando Couto (87)(R)
A Cèsar for Ribeiro (56)
J Cruz for H Crespo (56)
P Vieira for M Materazzi (85)
D Dessena for F Coly (17)
A Gasbarroni for F Reginaldo (66)
C Lucarelli for B Corradi (72)
Obviously, this was Inter's worst performance of the season. They played a less talented team, with low confidence, at home. Yet, Parma still put up one of the best fights the Nerazzuri have faced all year. They seemed unorganized, sloppy, and even confused at times. We all know how difficult it is to stay undefeated, especially in professional sports. But, many, if not all of us, did not expect it to end here. They out hustled us, "out thought" us, and just out played us in every aspect of the game.
However, there are a few positives. True great teams can win even when there down and not playing at their top level. For most of this season, Inter have not had a game that had tested their heart, not their skill. What we saw at the San Siro today showed us that despite their terrific success so far this campaign, they have not lost their desire for the game. Another upside, is that we got to see both new signings for Parma and Inter, Maniche and Lucarelli. Both played okay, but you could tell that they are still getting acclimated to their new teams.
Bottom line is, Inter won. Their winning streak continues, and no matter what anyone says, they are still seven points ahead of second place Roma. I just thank God that my first game to cover wasn't a loss. Now please, let me go, I must change my pants.
Here are the goals.