In the midst of the current pandemic, Real Madrid are no longer playing their home matches at the Bernabeu, but at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium instead. Located in Real Madrid City, the Spanish club’s training complex, it has a capacity of 9000 and usually hosts Real Madrid Castilla’s fixtures.
At 21:00 CET on Tuesday 3 November, the same stadium will be the stage for Real Madrid vs. Inter, the Nerazzurri’s third Champions League fixture of the season in Group B. The two sides are set to face each other 22 years on from their last encounter in Spain, which came in the group stage of the same competition. As will be the case tomorrow, that Real Madrid vs. Inter showdown in 1998 wasn’t played out at the Bernabeu. Instead, the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium in Seville was the setting. It was 16 September 1998, and the match finished in a 2-0 victory for Real (see the photos from the game below). But before we look back at that clash, let’s take a look at why it was played in Seville.
REAL VS. INTER IN SEVILLE: A GOAL TO BLAME...
Real Madrid vs. Inter has already taken place away from the Bernabeu before: on 27 May 1964, the Nerazzurri ran out 3-1 winners against Los Blancos in the European Cup final in Vienna. But for now, let’s return to 1998. That year, Real Madrid came up against Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals of the 1997/98 Champions League. The first leg was due to take place at the Bernaubeu, and it was a highly anticipated match. Indeed, some Real Madrid supporters were so excited for the showdown that they started to climb the perimeter fence behind the goal. Such was their weight, the structure then collapsed, which also led to the goal buckling and falling: the front of the aforementioned fence had been tied to it for support.
As a result, two minutes before Real vs. Borussia was due to kick off, the match couldn’t begin: one of the two goals lay on the ground. A mad dash to the Spanish side’s training centre ensued in order to pick up a goal and transport it to the Bernabeu in the back of a van. The fixture then kicked off more than an hour later than originally scheduled, with Real Madrid running out 2-0 winners. The result stood, but it was decided that the Spaniards would have to play one home match away from the Bernabeu the following season as a result of those events that evening. And this is how Real Madrid vs. Inter ended up being played in Seville.
HIERRO AND SEEDORF STRIKE, BUT INTER GAIN REVENGE
Now that we’ve explained why it took place in Seville, here’s what happened at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium. It was a difficult night for Simoni’s Inter, who had Fresi sent off for two bookings in the first half. Los Blancos had the upper hand throughout, with the Nerazzurri being forced to defend constantly and unable to get Ronaldo, who was eventually replaced by Andrea Pirlo during the second period, involved. Pagliuca was in fine form that evening and was eventually only beaten with 79 minutes on the clock: Hierro fired a penalty past the Nerazzurri goalkeeper with 79 minutes on the clock. Then, Real grabbed a second through Seedorf on the counter. However, the Nerazzurri would gain revenge two months later, beating Los Blancos 3-1 at San Siro in no small part thanks to Roberto Baggio’s unforgettable brace.
Real Madrid-Inter 2-0 | 16 September 1998
Goalscorers: 79' (pen.) Hierro, 90' Seedorf
Real Madrid: Illgner; Panucci, Sanchís, Hierro, Roberto Carlos; Raúl, Seedorf, Redondo, Sávio (89' Jarni); Morientes (86' Karembeu), Mijatovic.
Inter: Pagliuca; Bergomi, Galante, Fresi; Zanetti, Cauet (46' Silvestre), Winter (80' Ventola), Simeone, Milanese; Zamorano, Ronaldo (72' Pirlo).