Every week SempreInter.com editorialist, Richard Hall, takes a look back at the glorious history of Inter by highlighting a certain match, hero or any other event in Inter’s history worthy of being labelled Nerazzurri Classic’s. Ahead of Sunday’s away fixture against Napoli, Richard looks back at a fixture between the two teams where German poacher Karl-Heinz Rummenigge went head to head with the genius of Diego Armando Maradona.
The 1984/85 season was one of ‘so near but so far’ for the Nerazzurri. Third place in the league and semi-finalists in both the UEFA Cup and the Coppa Italia was a painful return for such an impressive season.
Inter had started the campaign under the stewardship of Ilario Castagner, he already had a strong team that included Giuseppe Baresi, Alessandro Altobelli, Liam Brady, a young Walter Zenga and Riccardo Ferri. The Milanese added to this by bringing in the hugely talented Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, starting an obsession with German imports in the 1980’s.
Napoli too, had started to strengthen substantially this year. A certain Argentinian by the name of Maradona had been purchased from Barcelona for a world record fee and expectations were high. This Napoli were the embryo of what would eventually become an all-conquering side in Serie A. Inter went into the match in mixed form. A defeat to Milan was followed up with a resounding 4-0 victory against Juventus and then a win at Udinese was followed by a draw in Florence. A victory at home to Napoli would turn the mixed run, into a good one.
Napoli on the other hand drawn two won one and lost one in the same period and had only scored two goals. They too needed to get there season up and running when the teams met in the San Siro.
The match kicked off with a cold but pleasant December afternoon, Napoli were making inroads from the off and it looked as though they were taking the game to Inter. The first chance of the game came to Domenico Penzo who hit the ball well on the half volley across the goal and was desperately unlucky not to score. As the game rolled on Rummenigge had a clear chance for Inter but put the ball wide, however it was the other expensive import who was leading the way. Maradona was turning Baresi and Bergomi inside out and his dominance soon proved decisive. Napoli scored straight after the interval sending shock waves around the San Siro. A diagonal ball was contested but not dealt with and when the ball bounced twelve yards out Luigi Caffarelli was on hand to volley home showcasing superb technique.
This kicked Inter into gear and the fight back started immediately. The tempo of the game increased and Liam Brady started to prove problematic for the Neapolitans. It was his dynamism on the right hand side that allowed him to skip past a defender and put the ball into the box. Once again the game saw a defender struggle to clear and Rummenigge smashed the ball home from close range.
Inter were now in the ascendance but despite heavy pressure Napoli were holding out. It was going to the wire but with two minutes left Brady produced an outstanding cross with the outside of his foot. This found an incoming Altobelli who dived forward to head home. It was the winning goal and the Milanese celebrated. Inter had many moments like this in a season that can be remembered fondly. They were perhaps only one or two players away however from being totally dominant. They would however, not have long to wait for a Scudetto.
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