Milito ends wait in double quick time
Internazionale 2 Bayern Munich 0: Special One reaches top of European club game for second time as Argentinian puts paid to Inter's 45 years of hurt
Sunday 23 May 2010
The Italian team without an Italian player in it became that country's 12th winners of the European Cup last night, eclipsing England and equalling Spain in the capital city where Jose Mourinho will take up employment after confirming last night that he is leaving
By the end, he looked a little red in the face. But on a sultry night there had been no great cause for concern, except when Bayern Munich briefly threatened reprisals to Diego Milito's opening goal. Once Milito bagged a second with 20 minutes left, Inter and their manager could sit back, the team in defence, the coach in a dug-out he had forsworn for most of a match that came alive in the second half.
In Milito and Wesley Sneijder, Inter had the best players on the pitch and their first triumph at this exalted level for 45 long years was well-deserved. They have now emulated Celtic, Manchester United and only three other teams in becoming champions of Europe in the same season as winning a domestic Double.
Mourinho joins Ottmar Hitzfeld and Ernst Happel as the only coaches to win European football's biggest club prize with two different ones, adding to the triumph with Porto that made his name. On that occasion, six years ago, he already knew he was destined for Chelsea, and this time Real Madrid seem certain to be the beneficiaries.
"I am not leaving Inter, I am leaving Italian football," he told the Italian television station RAI. "This group of players have given me great satisfaction and I will always have Inter inside of me. I have grown as a coach since I have been here." At the final whistle he embraced the beaten manager, Louis van Gaal, then madefor Sneijder before ending up with his son on his shoulder.
"Everybody knows that English football is my passion and I'll go back to England once," he said. "But I think every player, every coach if you don't play for Real Madrid or if you don't coach Real Madrid you have always a little space in your career. So if I decide to come to Real Madrid Ill be a very proud man."
Apart from replacing the suspended Thiago Motta with Cristian Chivu, Mourinho had selected the side that won so well at Stamford Bridge in the round of 16 and, as on that occasion, Sneijder was the player who made them tick; first a quiet, menacing tick and then, 11 minutes from half-time, an explosive tock.
Playing, just as at Chelsea, just behind Milito, he would lure Daniel van Buyten to mark him, then dart in behind. Two free-kicks from fully 30 yards demanded the first saves of the game from Jörg Butt, who could do nothing after his opposite number, the underemployed Julio Cesar, launched a long kick on to Milito's head. A deft flick to his left found Sneijder for a perfectly weighted return pass that the Argentinian slipped past the keeper just before Holger Badstuber could arrive from left-back to challenge.
For Bayern, Arjen Robben, who received a hug from Mourinho at one stage during the game, frequently cut in on his favoured left foot to threatening effect, but not for half an hour was Julio Cesar obliged to make a direct intervention, from Hamit Altintop's low cross. The referee Howard Webb turned down a shout for handball against Maicon from a corner and Mark van Bommel's drive just past the far post constituted the Germans' only real threat before the interval.
The German hordes behind the goal Bayern were attacking in the second half almost had an equaliser to cheer within 30 seconds of the resumption. Altintop fed Thomas Müller for a shot that Julio Cesar saved with his legs. Almost immediately Inter broke and Milito set up Goran Pandev for a fine shot that Butt did equally well to turn over the bar.
Bayern then enjoyed their best period of the game, throwing on Miroslav Klose as an extra attacker, even though it was hard on Altintop, a lively replacement for the suspended Franck Ribéry on the left of midfield, to be taken off. Inter were now forced to pull their wide men, Pandev and the hard-working Samuel Eto'o, deeper and rely on sharp breaks out to relieve the increasing pressure.
Altintop had hit the side-netting before his departure, and after it Müller's shot was headed away by Esteban Cambiasso. Then Robben came inside and sent a shot towards the top corner of the net that Julio Cesar managed to turn for a corner.
Yet it required only a short, sharp counter for Inter to score again. Eto'o, switching to the centre, found Milito, who was able to turn Van Buyten both ways before beating Butt emphatically. They finished with only 33 per cent of the possession but all of the goals.
So the occasion somehow survived without a Premier League club. England was represented mercifully not just by the host of ticket touts outside the ground, but by Webb, who had one of his better games, and groundsman Paul Burgess, who provided a pitch to make Wembley, er, green.
Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the match: Milito
Match rating: 7/10
Man for man marking: Inter
Julio Cesar 7/10
Seen by many as the best goalkeeper heading to the World Cup and was a safe pair of hands throughout for the Italians. Inspired confidence.
Fortunate not to give away a penalty after an early handball but was strong in defence and displayed clever footwork to maintain possession.
Third Brazilian in Inter's backline and familiarity shone through as he faced his former side. Cut out through ball on the half hour to deny Müller.
Walter Samuel 6/10
One of four Argentines in the Inter starting line up – four more than the number of Italians. Took out Robben after being beaten for pace but made a number of valuable clearances.
Cristian Chivu 6/10
Sported headcap as he stood in for the suspended Thiago Motta. Had hands full with Robben and was booked after a foul on the Dutchman.
Javier Zanetti 7/10
Inter captain was making his 700th appearance for the club and his influence was clear as he dictated matters. Probably the closest thing to an Italian in this supposedly Italian team - until the last minute.
Esteban Cambiasso 7/10
Holding midfielder did job perfectly alongside fellow deposed Argentine Zanetti. Diego Maradona has been lambasted for leaving the duo out of his World Cup squad and this display hardly backed up his judgement. Vital block from Müller on the hour.
Wesley Sneijder 8/10
Inspirational display from the Dutchman. Saw free-kick deflected over before firing straight at Butt. Linked up superbly with Milito for the opener and denied by Butt, again, from close range.
Samuel Eto'o 6/10
Wanted to become first player to score in three Champions' League finals but was often isolated on the right hand side of an attacking trio.
Diego Milito 8/10
Slipped when through early on but recovered to continue his record of scoring in every knockout round. Great one-two with Sneijder for the opener before a fine run for his, and Inter's, clinching second.
Goran Pandev 6/10
Chosen ahead of Mario Balotelli but struggled to make an impact. Shot in second half was tipped over by Butt.
Dejan Stankovic (for Chivu, 68) Brought on to shore things up and helped Inter secure a third European Cup 6/10. Sulley Muntari (for Pandev, 79) Composed. Marco Materazzi (for Milto, 90) Finally, an Italian makes it on to the field.
Man for man marking: Bayern
Hans-Jorg Butt 6/10
Punched well under pressure and pawed away Sneijder free-kick before blocking from same player. Not to blame for either of the goals.
Philipp Lahm 6/10
Versatile full-back overlapped well with Robben and got in some dangerous crosses, but was often found wanting defensively.
Daniel van Buyten 5/10
Quiet display from Belgian international and former Manchester City defender. Held ground well but may have done better with goals.
Martin Demichelis 6/10
Facing four of his countrymen, the imposing centre-back brought down one compatriot, the scorer Milito, to earn the first booking of the game.
Holger Badstuber 6/10
A stand-in at left back and it showed at times. Should have done better with run of Milito for Inter's opener.
Bastian Schweinsteiger 5/10
Has assumed the role of talisman for Germany following Michael Ballack's ankle injury but struggled to impose himself here.
Mark van Bommel 6/10
Captain stood firm against Inter attacks but found things hard-going all night. Effort before the break dribbled harmlessly wide.
Arjen Robben 7/10
Began with intent on his return to the Bernabeu and was 'player most likely to' for the German side. Most of Bayern's attacks went through the Dutchman as he looked to prove a point against his former manager but came in for some rough treatment and tough tackling. Shot over before and after Inter's opener.
Hamit Altintop 5/10
Only playing in the absence of the suspended Franck Ribéry and hardly troubled Inter. Almost deflected a Sneijder free-kick past his own goalkeeper and wasted a chance at 1-0.
Thomas Muller 5/10
Fairly anonymous performance up front, appeared willing to let Robben and Olic shoulder attacking burden. Wasted one fine chance, shooting over after good work from Robben.
Ivica Olic 6/10
Came into the final off the back of a fine hat-trick in the semi against Lyon and one strike behind the competition's leading scorer, Lionel Messi (8). Held ball up well but did not receive much in way of support. Juggled ball into box before Robben shot over.
Miroslav Klose (for Altintop, 63) Quiet and ineffective display from the German forward. 5/10. Mario Gomez (for Olic, 74) Toiled but unable to influence matters 5/10.
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