I begin my morning feeling very disappointed. I wish I could just sleep this day away or just bury myself in the wilderness and let these days pass by with abandon. It’s been very long since I felt this disappointed by any of the teams I support.
Inter had to better the result Tottenham Hotspur would get away at already qualified Barcelona to qualify for the next round of the Champions League. Destiny was not in the hands of Inter after they ceded it to Tottenham in their previous Champions League match. All Inter had to do was to concentrate on their game and ensure that they get the best possible result and hope the result elsewhere go in their favor.
What really disappointed me was that Inter had 2 opportunities to seal progression into the next round of the Champions League and squandered them both. At Wembley, all Inter had to do was to draw against Tottenham. They held on pretty well until the 80th minute. The approach to that match was also timid because it took them until they conceded to actually start attacking the opposition. It was a risk to play for a draw, a risk that was going well until the last 10 minutes of the match.
Early this morning, Inter got off to a bright start but were sucker punched when PSV robbed Kwado Asamoah of the ball just outside the Inter penalty area, counterattacked and scored. Inter spent the rest of the match chasing down the lead. They eventually found the equalizer with 17 minutes remaining. With the score at Barcelona in Inter’s favor, Inter took their foot off the pedal content at the result which at that time would work in Inter’s favor.
Tottenham got a late equalizer and it took some time for Inter to find the momentum and impetus again to press and attack. It was a little too late though as Tottenham matched Inter’s result and qualified at the expense of Inter by virtue of having scored one away goal when the two teams met at San Siro at the start of their Champions League campaign.
This was Inter’s first excursion to the Champions League after 6 seasons and as a result was not in a favorable spot in the draw. They found themselves in a tough group with the Spanish champions Barcelona, Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven and the experienced but youthful side in Tottenham. This was not the Inter of old, the star-studded Inter, the Inter of experience from playing in the Champions League every season. This was an inexperienced Inter side. Many in the team were experiencing the Champions League for the first time in their career.
All that considered, it was a good experience for Inter with good performances and results. Inter lost once to one of the favorites to win the Champions League, Barcelona. The matches against Tottenham showed that they are at the same level as the English team as both teams won once against each other. Inter beat the Dutch champions, PSV once and then had the misfortune of drawing against them last night. To have been eliminated due to an away goal despite finishing level on points with the second placed team is unfortunate and reflective of a good showing for an inexperienced team.
However, the feeling of disappointment and regret lingers strongly at full time against PSV. Inter grabbed the first win against Tottenham due to an amazing fighting spirit from the belief the team got through a late equalizer by Mauro Icardi. They had to battle hard to beat PSV at Eindhoven. Once again the fighting spirit and resilience was on show as Inter got an equalizer against Barcelona at San Siro.
The regret is that had Inter showed the same fighting spirit from first minute and courage, they might have got more from their match against Tottenham at Wembley. Luck favors the brave and gone are the days of sitting back and playing for a draw. Inter did try getting more into the game but the lack of experience and composure of managing such an important game in an important stadium showed and proved to be the difference.
This morning again had Inter not given up after the equalizer and listened to the other result, Inter might have created more chances and might have at least scored once more. Inter had more attempts on goals, crosses and had more possession but made nothing out of it except to score one goal. In Europe, any team can punish you for a mistake as Inter found that out against PSV. Any team can score a goal at any moment as they found out playing against Tottenham at Wembley and from Tottenham’s late equalizer at Nou Camp. Inter were punished not only for their mistake but for their profligacy and naivety. The quality was also lacking as they were found wanting with the final ball or cross.
It is a hard lesson for Inter to take but there are positives to build on and they should embrace the experience in the Europa League wholeheartedly. There is no time for self-pity and regret as they need to focus on the next match and get back to winning ways. Inter needs to learn not to collapse as they did last season. Inter should make it back into the Champions League next season through their league position if they don’t mess things up and suffer from a blackout. They need to gain experience in Europe so a good run in the Europa League is needed for the good of the team.