Between coach Giovanni Trapattoni’s unstoppable Inter of the 1988-89 season, and their 13th Scudetto, there is just one obstacle left: The home match against direct rivals Napoli, scheduled for May 28, 1989. With just five rounds to go, the only side that can still theoretically reach the leading Nerazzurri are indeed Diego Maradona’s Napoli, who are seven points behind.
In the 10th minute, a magic trick by Antonio Careca calls Walter Zenga to reply with a prodigious save. Then, both Serie A top scorer Aldo Serena, and Argentinian Ramon Diaz fail an easy chance to bring their side ahead. Diaz then hits the crossbar with a header on which Napoli’s goalkeeper Giuliano Giuliani seemed hopeless.
But just four minutes later, here comes the moment that silences the whole Giuseppe Meazza Stadium: Careca catches a long-range pass by Alessandro Renica and, from 30 meters, delivers a blast that center Zenga’s goal top left corner.
However, all bad omens for the home supporters are cast away four minutes after the break, when a volley by Nicola Berti is unluckily deflected by midfielder Luca Fusi into his own net. Careca, served by Maradona, tries to scare the Nerazzurri again, but his razor-sharp left-foot shot end its run on the post.
Finally, in the 83rd minute, the San Siro crowd can release their tension and start rejoicing, when Lothar Matthäus finds the goal-Scudetto from a free kick, placing the ball in that perfect spot right on Giuliani’s right.
It’s the 13th Italian title for Inter, a team that will go down to history as the Inter dei record (“Inter of Records”): 58 points conquered, and 26 games won out of 34 are indeed an unparalleled achievement in Serie A during the age of an 18-team league, and two-points-for-a-win system.
May 28, 1989 – Serie A 1988-89 Round 30
SCORERS: 36’ Careca (N), 49’ Fusi (N, o.g.), 83’ Matthäus (I)
|INTER: Zenga, Bergomi, Brehme, Baresi (46’ Bianchi), Ferri, Mandorlini, Matteoli, Berti, Diaz (89’ Verdelli), Matthäus, Serena (Malgioglio, Galvani, Fanna) Coach: Trapattoni|
|NAPOLI: Giuliani, Corradini, Francini, Crippa, Alemão (73’ Bigliardi), Renica, Fusi, De Napoli, Careca, Maradona, Carnevale (Di Fusco, Carannante, Romano, Neri) Coach: Bianchi|
REFEREE: Mr. Agnolin from Bassano del Grappa
…Where Are They Now?
|Walter Zenga, the historical Inter goalkeeper who played more than 15 seasons with the Nerazzurri, and was capped by Italy 57 times, is now a football manager. He is currently the coach of Serie A side Crotone, having substituted Davide Nicola on the bench of the Pitagorici in December 2017.|
|Brazilian striker Antonio de Oliveira Filho Careca, six seasons with Napoli, retired in 1999. Today, he is a commentator for an Italian pay-TV which broadcasts Serie A and Champions League matches.|
|Lothar Matthäus played four seasons for the Nerazzurri before coming back to his old love Bayern Munich. The 1990 Golden Ball winner, he holds the record for the most World Cup matches played by a single player (25). After retiring, he tried to make a career as a coach, but has not been training any team since 2011.|
|Poor Napoli goalkeeper Giuliano Giuliani experienced the climax of his honest career while playing for the Partenopei, with whom he conquered a Scudetto and a UEFA Cup. In 1996, he died from AIDS.|
Translated by Matteo Carnevale