Home Exclusive Flashback Friday: Back in the Champions League!

Flashback Friday: Back in the Champions League!

Vecino scores winner sending Inter into Champions League!

Today we will be revisiting the final match of the 2017/18 season against Lazio. Who remembers that Vecino header for a 3-2 Inter victory???

Before the recent Scudetto win, this was one of the best moments for the previous 9 years. Every year, since Inter finished 2nd back in 2010/11, we hadn’t qualified for the Champions League.

Every year just as disappointing as the next, until this point where a special last matchday appeared for Inter. The season itself was a lucky one too, as Italy got it’s 4th spot back for Champions League qualification prior to the season starting.

There was some magic working for Inter in 2017/18, as all Lazio needed from the final three games was one win. Especially since Inter lost to Sassuolo on Matchday 37, which we all thought cost us a chance at getting that fourth spot. Luckily Walter Zenga’s Crotone forced a draw from Lazio to give Inter a chance on Matchday 38.

Let’s get into the match itself as it’s definitely one to remember!

Slow start and luckiest of own goals!

The match started well for Lazio, as Inter took a bit of time to adjust to the occasion. A shot from distance which flashed wide from Candreva was all Inter had for the first few minutes, then it was all Lazio who dominated.

The chances just start piling up for Lazio as they were really taking command of the match.

The first from Marusic who made a great run but watched his shot take a deflection for a corner. A point blank header from Milinkovic-Savic forced a fantastic save from Handanovic as he parried out of danger. Another shot on the edge of the 6-yard box from Luiz Felipe who smashed his shot way over the crossbar.

Finally, Lazio would take the lead from one of the unluckiest own goals you’ll ever see. The shot from Marusic was going well wide and high, but unfortunately Perisic got hit in the face with the ball as it deflected into the bottom corner.

Heart in mouth moments –

Inter were down 1-0, and a freekick from Milinkovic-Savic almost made it a 2-0 advantage. Luckily the ball hit the post, and Miranda was able to clear from in front of goal. Handanovic was glued to the spot and if the shot was on target, he was no chance of getting to it.

A few minutes later, Inter would equalize but not without controversy surrounding the goal from D’Ambrosio. A fantastic corner from Brozovic made it’s way right across goal, for D’Ambrosio to meet the ball at the back post. His first header was saved, but the follow up volley made it’s way into the back net.

It would then take 4-5 minutes for the 4th official to inspect the goal and ensure there was no foul play. Finally after much delay, the goal was awarded as Inter were back level at 1-1.

Disappointment just before the break –

Inter would go behind just before the break, as a counter attack would lead to a beautiful finish from Felipe Anderson. Handanovic again was glued to the floor as he didn’t make any attempt to save. In all fairness though, the shot would’ve been too good for 99% of keepers out there.

A half of football from Inter which they just had no control over. All the best opportunities from the first half went to Lazio and it just didn’t seem like Spaletti’s men had any answers for Lazio’s speed and dominance.

Luckily the score was only 2-1, and there was still 45 minutes left in the match to turn things around.

Five minutes of madness –

The second half started as the first half finished, with Lazio again seeming to have the better opportunities out of the two teams. For the first 30 minutes, I would say it was pretty close to even with possession and opportunities.

A few crucial moments at 2-1 would turn the tide into Inter’s favour in 5 minutes of madness. The first being Inzaghi’s decision to take off Immobile in the 75th minute, as that really took all the attacking momentum away from Lazio.

The second being a clumsy challenge from De Vrij (who was a Lazio player at the time) in the box on Icardi which granted Inter a penalty. Icardi would step up and make no mistake from the spot. Inter back on level terms again at 2-2 with less than 15 minutes to play.

Not even a minute later, Lazio would be down to 10 men as Lulic would get a second yellow card for a dumb challenge on Brozovic. This is the point where I felt an Inter victory was the only result which would come from the match.

Less than two minutes later, the final nail in the coffin inserted as Matias Vecino would write his name into Inter’s history forever. A sublime header from a pinpoint Brozovic corner, as the score became 3-2 in Inter’s favour.

The small section of the Nerazzurri supporters in the stadium would lose their marbles, as the whole Inter team ran up to celebrate with them. The commentator yelling “THIS IS SENSATIONAL!” and all Inter fans around the world screaming their heads off.

What does this moment mean?

I still get goosebumps when I see that Vecino goal. It truly is a moment I love watching on repeat as an Inter fan. I think even football fans would appreciate how special that was. A moment which definitely changed Inter forever!

I truly believe without this moment in history, the 19th Scudetto would not have come so soon. The money which Champions League football provides, really set us up well for the following couple of years.

Catch us next week as we cover another brilliant moment in Inter’s history, and take another walk down memory lane.

As always, Forza Inter!