October 2001, Inter playing at home and favoured to win... but they had to deal with Superpippo. Let's relive that memorable night.
Managed by Hector Cuper, Inter were top of the table with 17 points in 7 matches. AC Milan, with Fatih Terim in the manager seat, were 4th with 12. It was 21 October and Inter were playing at home. The Rossoneri had made lots of changes in the summer transfer window and were a wild card in the new season. Terim's men were coming off a 1-1 home draw against Venezia, but in the match preceding the derby Inter had also taken home a point in a stalemate with the same score at Udinese.
JAVI MORENO STARTER?
The spark between Fatih Terim and Superpippo had yet to ignite. The Turkish manager held Javi Moreno in great esteem for his grit and determination. On the other hand, for Inzaghi it made no difference who the coach was, he only had one target: to play. On the Sunday before the derby, though, something had happened. It was the 74th minute of AC Milan v Venezia and the score was stuck on 1-1. Terim decides to replace Inzaghi and brings on, of all people, the former Deportivo Alaves striker. Not only this: the Danish centre-back Martin Laursen ended up playing centre-forward in the last minutes of the game... Did this mean Inzaghi was not meant to start in the derby?
FROM THE TUNNEL AT SAN SIRO... SUPERPIPPO!
During the whole week preceding the derby, the Rossoneri had been working on a starting XI that excluded Inzaghi. The attacking duo was meant to be Javi Moreno-Shevchenko. After all, Pippo hadn't found the back of the net in a month, after scoring three in the first four games of the season. But the almost impossible happened. Roque Junior did not recover in time... What has a defender got to do with all this? Well, for this reason, Terim had to shuffle the formation starting Paolo Maldini centre-back, Serginho on the left and to give more balance to his starting XI, Inzaghi found a starting berth alongside Shevchenko up front.
THE DERBY LOOKED LOST FROM THE START...
The Rossoneri looked disoriented after the many changes in the summer and those on the eve of the match, so much that Inter started off on the right foot and found the opener through Ventola. In a blink of an eye, the ref had blown for half-time. But it's in the second half that the Red and Blacks bounce back. 14 minutes into the second spell, Sheva scores followed by Cosmin Contra. Everyone was thinking: "Inter won't sit back and watch...". On the contrary, Pippo Inzaghi nets his debut goal in a Milan derby; precisely the man who was not meant to play.
In a span of six minutes, with Sheva in the 66', Contra in the 69' and Inzaghi in the 72nd, it was "game set and match" with the Rossoneri who went on to score another one - once again through Inzaghi. Final score: Inter 2-4 AC Milan.