Inter Milan scrape past basement club Siena
Inter Milan 4 – 3 Siena
Siena travelled to the San Siro knowing that they would be facing an under-strength and out of sorts Inter Milan side.
For the visitors hailing from Tuscany, it proved an ideal opportunity to claim an historic victory and mount a string of results together which would ensure their elevation for 20th spot in Serie A.
The television cameras captured Jose Mourinho manager before the match commenced. ‘The special one’ looked a shadow of the man who led Chelsea to successive league titles.
Inter Milan have been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks and it has left Mourinho with little room to rotate after the midweek game at Chievo. Indeed Ricardo Quaresma reemerged from club exile to make only his second start of the season.
Neither side were able to settle into a rhythm in the early stages and both teams were guilty of wasting possession.
However after 17 minutes, Massimo Maccrone seized the initiative for the visitors. The former Middlesbrough striker waltzed into the Inter half unchallenged and he steadied himself before launching a ferocious rising shot past Julio Caesar.
Diego Milito struck back for the home side less then ten minutes later. A wonderful ball from Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder picked out the Argentine striker. Milito dummied to go on the outside of Siena defender Cribari before cutting inside and unleashing a low drive past Curci.
When Sneijder expertly steered a 35th minute free kick into the left corner of the net, it appeared the Nerazzuri would canter to a comfortable victory. But it simply wasn’t the case as Siena were intent on making the night as unbearable as possible for the defending champions.
The club sitting at the bottom of the Serie A table conjured up an equaliser within 30 seconds of the restart. Lacklustre defending allowed Albin Ekdal to steal in at the far post and poke the ball into the vacated net.
After half time matters got worse for the home side. Mourinho was already without Cristian Chivu, Samuel Eto’o, Mario Balotelli and Esteban Cambiasso. Subsequently the Portuguese manager became increasingly grim faced when Dejan Stankovic limped off early in the second half.
Inter lost their shape and the man central to their fortunes became largely anonymous. Indeed Sneijder saw little of the ball in the second half until he conjured up another wonderful free kick in the 88th minute to level affairs after Maccrone has put Siena into 3-2 lead in midway through the second half.
Mourinho sustained his impressive home record with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan extending his unbeaten run to 127 games. Matters got even better for ‘the special one’ four minutes later.
Deep into added time, Walter Samuel ventured into Siena’s penalty area and struck a sensational winner to send Inter Milan 11 points clear at the top of Serie A and ensure Siena remain rooted to the foot of the table.