Finally some positive news for Serie A and Italian football in general, this midweek, while some sides played in the Coppa Italia, Inter Milan, AC Milan, and Roma played and won in the Champions League. It was the penultimate matchday of the group stages, and although Roma haven’t mathematically qualified yet, AC Milan have mathematically qualified in second place (behind Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid), and Inter Milan have mathematically qualified, and they have a chance to fight for first place in the group with Tottenham Hotspur. All we can hope for now is that Roma manage to qualify for the knockout round, Inter qualify in first place, and that the Italian teams in the Europa League do just as well.
Roma defeated Bayern Munich at the Stadio Olimpico 3-2, in a fantastic comeback. The giallorossi went two down after some defensive mistakes, allowing Gomez to net a double in the first half, but they picked it up in the second half. Borriello clinically finished from the ground to give Roma some hope, and then De Rossi netted a goal to tie up the score at 2-2. Then in the 84th minute Roma were awarded a penalty, and the legendary captain Francesco stepped up and put it barely past Kraft’s fingertips, for an epic winner.
But Ranieri’s side hasn’t qualified yet, next matchday they’ll travel to Romania and face CFR Cluj while Bayern Munich faces FC Basel at home. All that Roma need to do to qualify is either get a draw or a win against Cluj, and that way they’ve mathematically qualified along with Bayern to the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
AC Milan on the other hand have mathematically qualified after their 2-0 win away against Auxerre. Zlatan Ibrahimovic who provided another wonderful goal, a first time rocket which flew into the back of the French side’s net. Ronaldinho scored the second in the final minutes of the match, the Brazilian waltzed through the penalty box before he finally slipped a curling ball onto the far post and in.
With this win AC Milan have qualified for the next round, and the result of their next fixture against Ajax doesn’t really matter. It’s just a shame that Allegri’s side was unable to challenge Real Madrid for first place in the group, but as long as they do well in the knockout stages, I’m sure rossoneri fans won’t mind that much.
The match which took place today was at the San Siro, Inter Milan vs. Twente. It ended 1-0 for Rafa Benitez’s side which finally seems to have played some decent attacking football. Inter still had to play a relatively weakened side due to the injuries which have been plaguing the side for quite some time now, but they pressed Twente high up the field and created many opportunities to score. It was Esteban Cambiasso who scored the goal, Sneijder had a free kick deflected, and the ball fell perfectly for the Argentine to volley into the back of the net. This performance certainly showed signs of revival from a side which looked lifeless these past few weeks in the Serie A. We’ll just have to see if Benitez can continue to get this motivation from his players this weekend against Parma.
Right now Inter Milan and Tottenham are tied at the top of the group with 10 points, and it’s the English side which is ahead with a goal difference of +7, while Inter’s is just +4. Both Inter and Tottenham are travelling away next Champions League matchday, Inter will face Werder Bremen while Tottenham face Twente, and it seems like Inter have an easier match to win against the German team which only has two points and is at the bottom of the group table. So can Benitez inspire his men again enough to get a win, and hopefully steal the first place from Tottenham? I don’t think so, and in my opinion Inter will finish second, but make sure to share your thoughts by commenting below!
A great display from all three Italian sides, and hopefully this season not only will we have three teams in the knockout stages, but maybe more than just one of them will progress! What are your thoughts regarding the Champions League games? Comment below!