At this point we all know what transpired. It’s a great feeling to say the least. The UEFA Champions League Final - who would have thought that this “under-construction” Internazionale side would have come this far. We had to go through hell to make it.
The footballing gods must not like us that much as they pit us against Barcelona four times, and Chelsea twice. Mind you we also had to play the Champions of Russia and Ukraine on route to Madrid. To be a true champion one must defeat all other contenders whom call themselves champions. We did just that, but one last Champion remains to be conquered: The German Champs – Bayern Munich.
He left inter to do what again?
There are so many reviews of the match all over the internet I decided to do something different. I’m going to take you through the emotions that I felt on Wednesday. As half of you probably know, I hosted a little live chat for my friends over at The Offside. It was pretty epic and a privilege to do something for that community.
So, there I was. 15 minutes before kickoff. I couldn’t sit still. My adrenaline was pumping like no other. My brother and friends were watching me as if I were a madman. But, you know what? I couldn’t care. It was game day! It was the biggest game day of my life. Today would decide the fate of my Internazionale. Thank god I had another Inter fan here with me as I probably couldn’t survive this match without him.
5 minutes before game time. I saw the line-ups and noted we were going to go with the same formation and players. Then BAM! I was hit with the news that Pandev pulled something in the warm-up and Cris was taking his spot (does anyone believe in “everything happens for a reason”? because after this, I sure as hell do). Cue scepticism. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to contain the Barca with a different formation, as I believed that Chivu’s inclusion would lead to structure changes.
Game kicks off. To my shock Cris took the field and played exactly where Goran would have been (i.e. as a wing-forward). As the first 20 minutes when on I saw us play a very compact game. I knew once we contained them for the first 25 minutes that would be half the battle won. The 25 minute mark passed and I was quite a happy camper. Little did I know what was about to happen.
Sneaky little devil
27th minute. Motta already got a card for a semi-late foul on Messi. Thiago, while in full control of the ball, put a hand up to screen off Busquets. His hand ends up slightly making contact with Sergio’s face. Mr. Dive-quets hits the deck like he’s been shot. The referee runs over and issues Motta a straight red! I knew all of 3 things at the beginning of the match:
1) Inter and Barca were going to take the field
2) Jose and Pep were going to look stylish on the side lines
3) I was going to scream obscenities at the TV
Well guys, let’s say that number three began and I was stringing together words in a way that I didn’t think was humanly possible. It increased ten-fold when the replays showed Busquets peaking to see what was going on while rolling on the floor. Pathetic to say the least. At this point I’m almost in tears as I know we now have to play 2/3 of the game with ten men against the “best” side in the world. I could tell you one thing, I don’t think I have ever been so happy to hear a whistle for offside or a freekick in our favour. The rest of the half had me on edge as time was passing so slowly. I just hoped to God that we reached half time without conceding. Thankfully, we did.
During the break I think I smoked four cigarettes. For a non smoker that’s a lot. I was so nervy it was unbelievable. My friend was outside with me and he looked me dead in my eyes and said: “Do you think we could do this?”. All I could say was “Boy… in Jose we trust”.
The second half began and it was more of the same. Barca just kept coming and coming and we just kept repelling them. At this point, Eto’o I noticed dropped back and was playing in the wing-back spot. Diego was trying to run down as much as possible, while Sneijder was being a little energizer bunny, chased everyone who came within striking distance. This gave me hope as I knew that these boys weren’t going to give up without a fight. The minutes began to feel like hours. After every minute passed I would just say how much time we have left. Every five minutes felt like a tiny battle won.
We’re now somewhere in the 80-something minute. Bojan came on for someone. I knew this kid could be trouble as his pace and finishing ability is amazing. Somehow, someway, he got in behind our defence and flashed a header just wide.
That was a close one
86th minute. I’m now starting to relax a little bit thinking that it’s almost over and we’ve done it. Guess who shows up to rain on my parade: Gerard “I want you to hate football” Pique. He expertly slotted home his goal (Zlatan must have been looking on in envy from the bench). The next four minutes passed and then I found myself asking franticly how much extra time. In all my years of watching football I have NEVER left a room during a match because I couldn’t watch. When I heard that there was to be four minutes of extra time I left my TV room and knelt down outside the door. I counted each second of those four minutes. It was literally the most nerve wrecking four minutes of my life.
I reached 4 minutes and 13 second (hey, I was a bit anxious. Don’t judge my fast counting) when I heard my friend scream out “YES!”. I ran back inside and started celebrating as I knew it was over. Thank Jesus Almighty in Heaven that it was over as I don’t think I could have withstood another minute of that torture. Tears of joy began to roll down my face as I saw the celebrations on TV. Oh how football can do a number on you. First you’re on the verge of tears of pain, and then you’re bawling your eyes out in happiness. Crazy times.
In Jose we trust… FORZA INTER!!!!!!!