MILAN - Last week saw us look back on the 10 hardest moments from the 2009/10 season. Today we’re taking a look at the biggest turning points, some of the most vital situations in our march to the Treble.
1. Samuel Eto'o’s arrival at Inter
The 2009 summer transfer window saw Lucio, Milito, Thiago Motta, Samuel Eto'o and Wesley Sneijder all arrive at Inter. Samuel Eto'o’s signature was perhaps the most remarkable, as it was accompanied by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure to Barcelona. Our Cameroonian frontman turned out to be a total team player: 16 goals, but more than anything an injection of experience and tactical skill, all in addition to his endless enthusiasm.
2. The first Derby of the season: AC Milan 0-4 Inter
The Nerazzurri’s season got off to a bumpy start, with the Super Cup defeat to Lazio and a home draw against Bari, but they made no mistake in the #DerbyMilano on matchday two. Mourinho sent Sneijder straight into battle, with our Dutchman having just arrived and barely trained with the team. A completely dominant performance as Inter won 4-0 with some stunning goals. The Nerazzurri’s march had begun.
3. Victory in Kiev at the death
Inter knocked out of the Champions League after just four games in the group stage: the headlines were already written. Dynamo Kyiv vs. Inter, Shevchenko’s first-half goal and the clock ticking down all the way to the 90-minute mark. If they lost, Inter were out. 86’: Milito makes it 1-1. 89’: Sneijder incredibly makes it 2-1. From despair to delight, Inter still alive and kicking and ready to continue their Champions League campaign.
4. Goran Pandev arrives in January
With the Africa Cup of Nations underway, José Mourinho had to do without Samuel Eto'o for almost the entirety of January. In his place, after previous experience at Inter in the Primavera side, arrived Goran Pandev from Lazio. He became a vital weapon in the Nerazzurri’s arsenal: Mourinho deployed him at right forward, and he also nicked a goal to make it 2-0 in the second Derby of the season.
5. Inter 4-3 Siena
Plenty of pitfalls, but a vital game to round off the first half of the season. Inter went behind on two occasions at home to Siena, first at 1-0 and then at 3-2. Mourinho put all of his cards on the table for the final stages: Arnautovic and the young Stevanovic on, and Samuel up top for the last few minutes. First Sneijder’s free kick made it 3-3, then that unforgettable goal from Samuel himself secured the 4-3 win. A vital victory in the grand scheme of things.
6. The second Derby of the season: 2-0 and down to nine men
One of those Derbies that will rightly go down in history. Inter won 2-0 thanks to goals from Milito and Pandev following a Sneijder red card after 30 minutes and another sending off for Lucio in the closing stages. The cherry was placed on the cake with a Julio Cesar penalty save against Ronaldinho in the last few minutes.
7. A Coppa Italia comeback: Juventus beaten in the quarter-finals
A fixture from that season that perhaps doesn’t get enough attention was the Coppa Italia quarter-final: Inter were behind at home to Juventus after Diego’s goal, but in the second half, the Nerazzurri bounced back to win the game. Lucio equalised with a deflection, then Balotelli beat Buffon to make it 2-1. Inter through to the semis.
8. Victory at Stamford Bridge
Inter were fresh off the back of a 3-1 defeat in Catania, but there was work to be done in the Champions League round of 16. Mourinho opted for a 4-2-3-1 set-up, and Inter put in an extremely mature performance to win 1-0 away at Chelsea thanks to Eto’o’s goal. A key moment in the Nerazzurri’s European campaign.
9. Juventus and Atalanta beaten, Inter back on top
Maicon’s moment of magic broke the deadlock in Inter vs. Juventus, a crucial game in the title race. One of the most beautiful goals from Nerazzurri history. The game against Atalanta was also vital, coming in between the Champions League semi-final fixtures with Barcelona. Inter went behind but came back to win 3-1. The next day Roma lost to Sampdoria, and the Nerazzurri overtook the Giallorossi to return to top spot. A decisive day.
10. The two games against Barcelona
The Champions League semi-final showed both sides of Inter: delightful at San Siro, with a 3-1 win that could have been even bigger after a difficult start. And a 1-0 loss at Camp Nou, down to ten men for more than an hour of the game. A nail-biter in every sense, but one which Inter survived in order to get to Madrid. One step closer to the Triplete.