Winning the Coppa Italia may not necessarily cause of a huge amount of celebration in Milan, but for Inter it was another marker on their way to a possible outstanding season.
The game winner was an outstanding strike of the foot of Diego Milito, and there was no player who deserved the goal more. His work rate is amazing, especially for a striker who is such a good predator in the box – he could just hang around and play the Inzaghi role but instead gives everything he has for the team. The finish was fantastic, driven hard into the side netting from the edge of the box, whilst Philippe Mexes was left to consider his latest lapse in defensive concentration.
It is impossible to talk about the match without mentioning the appalling foul by Francesco Totti on Mario Balotelli. Although it is possible to sympathise with the Roman – who hasn’t wanted to kick ‘Super Mario’? – what he did was shocking and has no place on the football field. Roma fans must be wondering, given Totti’s behaviour on Wednesday and after the Derby, if er Pupone is starting to regress to his old ways. Either way, Totti will surely get a lengthy ban which further hampers Roma’s slim Scudetto chances.
Worryingly, Wesley Sneijder once again had to be substituted due to injury. Jose Mourinho should really consider leaving the Dutchman out for as long as possible to ensure he is fit for the Champions League final. This is all the more important after Franck Ribery had his ban appeal rejected this week, meaning he will not play in the final, further improving Inter’s chances of victory. Mourinho needs to ensure that this advantage is not cancelled out by the loss of his side’s playmaker.
The main positive about the Coppa Italia being over is that Inter can now focus on the final two competitions of the season. The last two matches of the Serie A season are potential troubling for the reigning champions should they let their minds wander onto the Champions League final too early. The prospect of playing Chievo and Siena may not terrify the Nerazzurri, but it is very easy to fall into the ‘end of season’ mindset and try to win games with as little effort as possible. There are three games left in which Inter have to give their all, and then the players can relax for a few weeks until some of them go off to the World Cup.
On the subject of Mourinho, the ‘Special One’ has once again invited speculation about his future when he answered a question about next season at a press conference by saying: “No. In football you cannot be sure about anything.” Whether he is genuinely unsure about his future, or he just wants to keep people guessing – maybe to get an even better contract from Massimo Moratti? – we cannot know, the only certainty is that next season Jose will be getting an awful lot of money no matter which club he manages.
Happily, Marco Materazzi has reappeared, meaning that his place at the end of the club focus can be re-taken. This time, the former Italian international has been saying how much he wanted to win the Coppa Italia as he has participated in this competition more than the others. But it wouldn’t’ be the Marco we all know if that was all he said, and he has once again not disappointed by taking a shot at Philippe Mexes. The Inter man claims that Mexes attempted to punch him a couple of times, but sarcastically thanked the Frenchman after his poor defending that allowed Milito to score the winning goal: “I thank Mexes and have nothing else to say.” At 36, his body might be slowing down, but Materazzi’s capacity to entertain remains as strong as ever.