If you have an Inter supporter in your life, be sure to give them a hug the next time you see them as being a fan of the Nerazzurri is never a simple thing. Just take Wednesday’s heart-stopping 3-1 victory over Slavia Prague as the latest example.
It started so well, just as every away match in the Champions League has this season. Lautaro Martinez equalled the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Christian Vieri and Hernan Crespo by netting in his fourth consecutive UCL match, proving once again that the Argentine is on his way to becoming a household name in world football.
However it’s also true that prior to Wednesday’s match the Nerazzurri had failed to win any away from home in Europe this season, letting excellent first halves against Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund go to waste en route to disappointing defeats.
It’s why Antonio Conte’s men headed to the Czech Republic in a bit of a predicament, aware that only three points would keep them in control of their Champions League destiny. That future looked doomed when Romelu Lukaku and Marcelo Brozovic saw great chances hit the crossbar, and with time ticking away, it looked as though Inter had once again complicated their lives for the worse.
In the end the script flipped when a Michal Frydrych slip allowed Lukaku to break through, round the goalkeeper, and walk the ball into the goal. Minutes later the Belgian turned provider and showed his passing prowess on Lautaro’s second of the night, though in-between Slavia nearly levelled the scoreline when the Inter backline inexplicably left Tomas Soucek unmarked from six-yards out – only for the Czech midfielder to fire wide.
Those mental lapses can’t happen on December 10 when the Nerazzurri welcome Barcelona to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, as only a victory will secure their spot in the next round.
The Blaugrana have already secured top spot in the group, but it’s hard to see a world in which they’ll take their foot off the gas and give Inter an easy pass meaning another monumental effort will be needed from Conte’s men.
If effort isn’t enough Nerazzurri fans will be hoping a little bit of the luck that helped them take down Slavia Prague manifests itself again, or even some of that Pazza Inter spirit we’ve become accustomed to over the years.
Conte has let it be known that he doesn’t want his side to revert back to its old ways, but given Inter haven’t reached the knockout stages since 2011/12, maybe a blast from the past is what his side needs to end 2019 on the right foot.