By David Rodich,
The new and improved Inter Milan trounced Bologna 4-1 this weekend to win their fourth straight since the coaching helm was handed from Benitez to the more attacking-minded Brazilian, Leonardo.
This round 20 Serie A match began with Bologna ambitiously pressing forward, but the momentum swiftly changed in the 5th minute with a near miss from Milito. This marked the start of an Inter barrage on goal, seeing the home side pushing players forward and serving crosses into the box. Nothing came of this onslaught, but just as Bologna began to feel safe, Eto’o intercepted a midfield pass, carried the ball downfield and spotted Stankovic streaking into the box, who finished in miles of space. Upon replay, the Serbian was in an offside position, but the goal stood. Ten minutes later, Inter got their second when Milito, after being picked out perfectly from Motta, scored a gorgeous goal off a left footed shot taken from a tight angle. The goalkeeper Castellazzi, although not challenged often, did his part, with an impressive save against Bologna talisman Di Vaio, to carry Inter’s 2-0 lead into halftime.
To Bologna’s credit, they started the second half with real menace but just couldn’t find the final pass to penetrate the well-organized Inter defense. The match was then sealed with a pair of goals from Eto’o – one stemming from a combination with Milito and the other from a free kick that was made to look effortless by the Cameroonian. Bologna sub Gimenez spoiled Inter’s clean sheet with a goal off a corner kick, but it was far too little, too late as Inter went on to a well-deserved victory. This impressive showing was made even sweeter for the Nerazzurri as it marked Javier Zanetti’s 519th appearance in the Serie A – tying the record of Inter great Beppe Bergomi.
Although the defending champs are still nine points behind their league leaders AC Milan, they are playing with the confidence and ease of a team running away with the title. There is still plenty of matches left, and, with two games in hand, no one is counting out this rejuvenated Inter team to make a serious run at a sixth straight league title.