Inter are on the verge of taking on Lazio at the Olimpico. “SNAPSHOTS” is the series, through which we relive some great matches from our archive ahead of every game in the league.
The photos that leads us into Sunday’s game is a precise snapshot, but it - in one single frame - encapsulates the magic of football, the class of a player, the strength of a team that will not give up in the face of almost certain defeat. Because on 7 December 2002, Lazio striker Claudio Lopez had beaten Francesco Toldo three times in 35 minutes: Lazio 3-0 Inter. The game looked done and dusted but Inter managed to get a goal back through Fernando Couto, who benefited from a rebound as Crespo’s header came back off the crossbar.
Inter were back in it and Recoba-Crespo-Vieri were on the hunt for the comeback. But the leader that night at the Olimpico was, in particular, Emre Belozoglu. Every now and then, after a sweet left-footed striker, his teammates in training would call him ‘Diego’. On that evening, all of the Turk’s technical brilliance was on display.
Snapshot number 1 was in the 66th minute when Emre picked the ball in Inter´s half and set off towards Peruzzi´s goal. The defence did not put up a fight, Emre saw the Biancoceleste keepers off his goal line and went for a soft left-footed touch: a lob, a deft chip that ended up going over Peruzzi´s shoulders, a beautiful goal reminiscent of Francesco Totti´s skill in a Derby di Roma, which was also against Peruzzi.
Not even ten minutes later, with a brilliant left-footed touch combined with a devastating right foot: Emre was ever-present, unstoppable and unplayable. Close control and a shot from the outside at the edge, equalising to make it 3-3, with Crespo´s shot off the post and Vieri's chance at the death. Yet that evening, will reign forever as the night of Emre Bolozoglu.