The two week break between Matchday 1 ( August 22/23) and Matchday 2 (August29/30) because of World Cup qualifying fixtures permits me to offer a retrospective approach towards Inter’s first two games, in addition to an overview from Italian fans, press, rumours and general gossip.
Inter played their first game at the Guiseppe Meazza stadium as defending champions against newly promoted Bari, reappearing in Serie A after a break of 8 years. Over 53,000 fans attended this eagerly awaited start to the season with Bari bringing an impressive 3,000 from the deep south of Apulia, a journey of over 20 hours by train round trip and a distance of 1,900 kms. We all braved the heat which was 93 degrees F at the start and a balmy 85 F at full time but not in the Inter dressing room.
Mourinho (aka Mou in Italy) did not disappoint, playing all the major new signings of the close season - Lucio, Thiago Motta, Milito and Eto’o. Inter’s team lined up:- Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Matterazzi, J.Zanetti; Muntari, Vieira, Thiago Motta; Stankovic; Milito, Eto’o. This clearly indicated a 4-3-1-2 formation, one that Mourinho is often uncomfortable with and states he dislikes (as do the fans) but claims he must persist with given the lack of quick wide players. He has used this ruse before, notably at Chelsea during his 2nd and 3rd seasons in an attempt to persuade Abramovich to part with his cash. He didn’t and we all know the outcome.
The game itself was entertaining, ending in a 1 - 1 draw. Eto’o scored on his debut with a doubtful penalty in the 56th minute, (that even I, as an Interista of 45 years standing, found confusing why it was awarded). The well travelled Belarussian Kutuzov equalized for Bari after 74 minutes. Either side had opportunities to win the match which they could not take and Inter fans were left frustrated, annoyed or had left the stadium early. Bari players saluted their many overjoyed fans who were then kept in the ground for a good 20 minutes for their own safety.