“Pazza Inter” Is Back! Nerazzurri Stronger Than Frank Ribery Heroics

Pazza Inter is back, and is back with style! Inter grabbed the three points in their Serie A 2020-21 debut at the end of an epic, incredible game which saw them overcome Giuseppe Iachini’s Fiorentina 4-3. They did it in a typical Inter way, as they fell behind early in the game, managed to recover, went down again, and then overturned the game in the space of two minutes. Pazza Inter!

Fiorentina seemed on the right track to wrap the upset of the day as they could benefit of a Frank Ribery touched by grace and of a Federico Chiesa as close to his best days as he could, but it was not enough. Antonio Conte pulled it off thanks to his substitutions: Sending in the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Achraf Hakimi, and Stefano Sensi ultimately made the difference for Inter.

The usual Lu-La also put its stamp on the proceedings – with Lautaro Martinez using his killer instinct twice and Romelu Lukaku scoring a decisive goal even in what was not one of his best nights. Not to mention Danilo D’Ambrosio’s contribution – with the Neapolitan deployed as a center-back in Conte’s three-man defense after a long time and still capable of scoring the winner tonight.

And so, the Nerazzurri were off to a good start but also cared to remember their fans why they are called pazza – “Crazy.” But those expecting Inter to send a clear message to Juventus when it comes to the race for the title were disappointed as three minutes into the game Inter were already trailing the opponents.

Federico Chiesa recovered the ball in his defensive third and delivered it to Frank Ribery, who in turn served Cristiano Biraghi. The Azzurri left-back found Christian Kouamé in the middle of the box and, as Alexander Kolarov failed to mark him, the Ivorian striker slotted the ball home with the help of Giacomo Bonaventura.

Kouamé went close to make it two in the 17th minute as Ribery found him with a fine long-range pass but Samir Handanovic raised a wall to deny him.

One minute later, Inter had their golden chance to draw level as Lautaro Martinez collapsed in the Fiorentina box from a Martin Caceres tackle. Referee Gianpaolo Calvarese initially pointed at the penalty spot and gave the Uruguyan a yellow card, but then reconsidered both decisions after checking the VAR: Caceres had indeed hit the ball rather than the Argentine’s foot.

Fiorentina continued to push aggressively and, in the 24th minute, it was Nikola Milenkovic’s turn to give Inter a scare with a header that crashed above the crossbar.

The rest of the first half saw the Nerazzurri progressively taking control of the game but failing to create any real chance, with Romelu Lukaku not seeming to be in one of his best nights.

Still, Inter managed to find their equalizer right before the break as they made the best out of a counterattack originating from one of the few Fiorentina mistakes. It was El Toro Lautaro Martinez to finish for Inter’s 1-1, moving inwards from the edge of the box and whipping the ball past Bartlomiej Dragowski with a stunning right-foot shot.

Martinez seemed to have found the key to the game as he brought Antonio Conte’s side ahead a few minutes after the restart. El Toro used all his resilience to resist a Sofyan Amrabat charge, moved past him, and went for a shot that found Federico Ceccherini’s unlucky deflection to bring Inter ahead at 2-1.

Enter Frank Ribery.

At the tender age of 37, the Frenchman literally changed the face of the match with two assists that promptly put the Viola back in the lead. First, he led a Fiorentina fast-break and was cold enough to wait for Gaetano Castrovilli to join him from the left side. The Viola new number 10 made the best out of Ribery’s provision, slotting the ball home with a sharp diagonal shot that left no chance to Inter’s goalkeeper.

Then, In the 63rd minute, he served Federico Chiesa a sensational filtering pass, putting the young talent in condition to look Handanovic in the eyes as he beat him with a fine chip. The Azzurri winger celebrated like a baby, perhaps showing that, after all, he is fine at Fiorentina despite all the transfer rumors predicting his move away from Florence.

A duel between Nicolò Barella and Frank Ribery – the Frenchman’s performance was simply astounding, but that still didn’t prevent the Viola from leaving the San Siro with empty hands

Inter’s reaction was led by Lukaku, but the big Belgian continued to miss his chances, using his physical strength to gain space in the box but missing the final touch – also thanks to goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski’s ability.

Nicolò Barella tried his luck from afar with a right-foot screamer which called Dragowski to another superb save.

In the end, it was Inter’s substitutions to change the fate of the match again: Antonio Conte could send in Stefano Sensi, – who replaced an anonymous Christian Eriksen – Achraf Hakimi, and Alexis Sanchez. The latter two would turned out to be decisive. Iachini, on the other hand, could only send in Dusan Vlahovic – another substitution that made a difference for different reasons.

The Frank Ribery Show continued as the Frenchman dispensed another textbook assist in the 80th minute, this time for Vlahovic – but the way the young Serbian wasted it was a true crime against humanity.

Ribery was substituted three minutes later, and perhaps it is not by chance that Inter grabbed another equalizer right after that. Alexis Sanchez crossed for Achraf Hakimi from the left, and the Moroccan sent the ball in for Lukaku – who could really not miss time – tallying his first assist in his Serie A experience.

Was it over? Of course not!

Alexis Sanchez  gave another contribution with a cross on the far post, where Danilo D’Ambrosio was lurking – ready to tap the ball in with a powerful header to wrap Inter’s incredible 4-3 win. D’Ambrosio stood over Vlahovic, who was supposed to mark him but should have done better in this occasion as well.

Fiorentina left the San Siro with their heads held high, proving that they can definitely do better than last season’s 10th place. For what concerns Inter, well, nothing new under the sun. It’s always Pazza Inter, and tonight’s display will go straight into their very unique collection of typical “crazy” Inter games.



September 26, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 2

SCORERS: 3′ Kouamé (F), 45+2′ Lautaro Martinez (I), 50′ Ceccherini (F, o.g.), 62′ Castrovilli (F), 73′ Chiesa (F), 87′ Lukaku (I), 89′ D’Ambrosio (I)

INTER (3-4-1-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Bastoni, Kolarov; Young (65′ Hakimi), Barella (75′ Nainggolan), Brozovic (75′ Vidal), Perisic (78′ Sanchez); Eriksen (65′ Sensi); Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez (Radu, Gagliardini, Ranocchia, Dalbert, Pirola, Skriniar, Pinamonti) Coach: Conte
FIORENTINA (3-5-2): Dragowski; Milenkovic, Ceccherini, Caceres; Chiesa (69′ Lirola), Bonaventura (62′ Borja Valero), Amrabat, Castrovilli, Biraghi; Kouamé (62′ Vlahovic), Ribery (84′ Cutrone) (Terracciano, Duncan, Saponara, Pezzella, Venuti, Montiel, Dalle Mura, Igor) Coach: Iachini

REFEREE: Mr. Calvarese from Teramo
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Barella (I), Ceccherini (F); Extra Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 4′