SNAPSHOTS | Cagliari vs. Inter and Nicola Ventola’s brace

SNAPSHOTS | Cagliari vs. Inter and Nicola Ventola’s brace


Dec 11th 2020

1998/1999: Nerazzurri down by two, then Pirlo and Ventola arrived...

“I made my debut against Skonto Riga in Pisa: goal. We then faced Cagliari away in the league and we were down 2-0: myself and Pirlo came on to replace Baggio and Djorkaeff. I scored an unforgettable brace, I’ll honestly never forget that game. 2-2”

This is what Nicola Ventola said in his Letter to Inter a few months back. They are memories that turn back the clock by 22 years, to the first matchday in the 1998/99 season. The Stadio Sant’Elia was alive with atmosphere and Simoni’s Inter were without the suspended Ronaldo.

The Nerazzurri lined up with Djorkaeff, Baggio and Zamorano up front, a dream attacking trio. Nevertheless, the dreamers that day were Ventura’s Cagliari. Mohamed Kallon scored first and Roberto Muzzi doubled the home side’s lead. 2-0 at the break, Inter virtually on their knees.

We say almost because, after 18 minutes of football in the second half, Gigi Simoni decided to switch it up: off went the talismanic figures of Baggio and Djorkaeff, on came two promising young talents in Andrea Pirlo and Nicola Ventola - 19 and 20 years of age respectively.

The game changed completely and Inter clawed their way back into the game. Simeone sounded the charge, Cauet led it. His cross for Nicola Ventola, who have scored in his debut in a Champions League qualifier against Skonto Riga, was right on the money. The striker produced a sumptuous volley on the half-turn, leaving Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Scarpi - who until that point had looked unbeatable - with no chance. The goal was a wonderful feat of acrobatics and technique.

After that, it didn’t take Inter long to equalise through this young Italian axis: Pirlo’s through ball into the space was perfectly weighted, Ventola slid in to get there ahead of Scarpi and lifted the ball into the back of the net. 2-2. Beautiful, needed and well-worked.

It was, of course, a draw and not a win but still a memorable day, especially for Ventola for a dream Serie A debut with Inter.

Italian version

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