MILAN - When strength and grace come together, there’s only one thing that can truly combine them: rhythm. One, two, three, four. Count the beat in, and that’s exactly what happened 30 minutes into the second half of Inter vs. Juventus on 16 April 2010. Ten years ago today.
The ball flew up into the air after a Juventus clearance, and dropped straight to Douglas Maicon. All eyes were on ‘Il Colosso’. It fell onto his thigh, where he controlled it deftly: one. Amauri charged towards him, and our defender’s touch with the tip of his toe was quick and graceful at the same time: two. A masterpiece of control and awareness. Another touch with the thigh to adjust the position of the ball in the air: three. Then, the final touch, a mix of extraordinary coordination, incredible precision, and precise power: four. Just watching the flight of the ball was poetry in itself, a moment that lasted just milliseconds, but resonated through the story of an entire season, all the way until the ball hit the back of the net.
The roar of the crowd, his sprint to his teammates on the bench, the wild scenes of celebration. There were just 15 minutes left of that clash with Juventus, which had so much bearing on the race for the title. Victory was a must, and with the Bianconeri down to ten men, the chances to secure it in the second half were endless. Eto'o fired over the bar, Milito couldn’t tuck it away from yards out, Buffon’s saves to keep out Motta in the first half and Stankovic in the second. A siege, and one which culminated in Maicon’s goal.
It was followed by Balotelli’s free kick crashing into the crossbar, then that liberating second goal from Eto’o after Muntari’s pullback. The ball in the back of the net, his shirt in the wind, and unbridled exultation. A 2-0 win, ten years ago today, to remember fondly and watch back again and again. A small but great moment on our path to the Treble took place that day, all instigated by our very own colossal dancer, Douglas Maicon.
INTER 2-0 JUVENTUS
Scorers: 75' Maicon, 90+2' Eto'o
Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 4 Zanetti; 8 Thiago Motta (46' Stankovic), 19 Cambiasso; 27 Pandev (55' Balotelli), 10 Sneijder (89' Muntari), 9 Eto'o; 22 Milito
Bench: 21 Orlandoni, 2 Cordoba, 23 Materazzi, 89 Arnautovic
Coach: José Mourinho
Juventus: 1 Buffon; 15 Zebina, 5 Cannavaro, 3 Chiellini, 6 Grosso; 8 Marchisio (78' Salihamidzic), 4 Melo, 22 Sissoko; 28 Diegi; 10 Del Piero (42' Poulsen), 9 Iaquinta (72' Amauri)
Bench: 13 Manninger, 7, 16 Camoranesi, 29 De Ceglie, 33 Legrottaglie
Coach: Alberto Zaccheroni
Referee: Antonio Damato (Barletta)
Bookings: 18' Samuel, 20' Melo, 21' and 37' Sissoko, 21' Thiago Motta, 74' Chiellini, 90+3' Eto'o, 90+3' Balotelli.
Red card: 37' Sissoko.