After a shocking eighth place finish in the previous season, the Nerazzurri hit the reset button on the project and started the rebuilding process during 1992-93 Serie A campaign under the management of Osvaldo Bagnoli.
As part of this squad revamp, trio of German Internationals who were mainstay in Trapattoni’s successful squad in late 1980s, Lothar Matthaus, Jurgen Klinsmann and Andreas Brehme were sold back to the Bundesliga to finance moves for Igor Shalimov, Darko Pancev, Salvatore Schillaci and the eventual top scorer replacing Klinsmann, Ruben Sosa.
For round sixteen, the Nerazzurri were preparing to take on a resurgent Parma side under management of Nevio Scala, with their third consecutive season in Seria A, as the 1992-93 season would eventually go down in clubs’ history as one of the most successful ones.
Despite finishing third in the league behind Milanese giants AC Milan & Inter respectively, Parma went on to win the UEFA Cup after beating Royal Antwerp 3-1 in the final. The strong finish was a result of a tremendous finish to the season where they went on a stretch of fourteen games with only one loss.
However, first half of their season was an entirely different story and when they traveled to San Siro for round sixteen match, they had yet to find any sort of consistency, having only won one match out of previous four.
The Nerazzurri on the other hand were second in the league table with twenty-seven points after fifteen rounds, only behind rivals AC Milan who under the management of Fabio Capello were not only reigning champions but also had not lost a match in almost season and a half!
Going into the round sixteen match against Parma, two newcomers in the squad, Ruben Sosa and Igor Shalimov were in fine form, scoring four out of club’s previous seven goals in previous two matches. Shalimov in particular had a brace in his side’s away win at Foggia before facing Parma at home.
Starting eleven for Bagnoli’s home side were Walter Zenga, Giuseppe Bergomi, Luigi De Agostini, Nicola Berti, Riccardo Ferri, Sergio Battistini, Angelo Orlando, Antonio Manicone, Davide Fontolan, Igor Shalimov and Ruben Sosa.
For the visitors, starting the match were Marco Ballotta, Antonio Benarrivo, Alberto Di Chiara, Lorenzo Minotti, Luigi Apolloni, Georges Grun, Alessandro Melli, Daniele Zoratto, Fausto Pizzi, Gabriele Pin and Tomas Brolin.
Right from kick-off, the Nerazzurri were looking to take control of the game by retaining possession and dictating the tempo of the game. After scoring seven goals in last two matches while conceding only once, the home side was visibly more confident of the two sides.
Nicola Berti’s brilliant run inside the penalty box, beating the Parma highline, gave Inter a scoring opportunity with only keeper to beat, however Berti’s shot went over the bar.
Inter’s attack was able to create scoring opportunities through the middle of the field using quick passing sequence between midfielders and attackers to carve Parma defenses, while also sending in crosses from the both wings to find the open man inside the box however, Marco Ballotta managed to keep a clean sheet through the early stages of the game.
Despite being dominated on the other end, Parma cautiously maneuvered the ball through the Nerazzurri midfield and scored the first goal of the match as Walter Zenga bobbled Alessandro Melli’s long range strike in a rare mistake and let the ball trickle into the net.
Rejuvenated by the early goal, Parma reverted to playing compact defense, not giving any space away to the home side and seemed happy to defend the narrow lead with all men back in defense.
Despite being the more dominant of the two sides, Inter failed to score in first half. To make matters worse, Bagnoli was forced to make a substitution at half-time as Walter Zenga came off injured and was replaced by back-up goalkeeper, Beniamino Abate.
Nevio Scala didn’t change tactics as his side was had managed thus far to hold the narrow lead against an inform Nerazzurri side.
With the home side edging closer and closer to scoring with every scoring opportunity, it seemed only a matter of time before they finally tie the game up.
After a failed clearance and misplaced pass to jump-start a counter-attack opportunity, Inter stole the ball at center of the pitch and found a well-timed run of Nicola Berti on the right wing.
Berti’s pace gave the home side advantage against Parma defenders who were caught out-of-position. With Ruben Sosa making the run into the box in the far left post, Berti’s low-cross into the box gave Sosa an open-net scoring opportunity which he converted with ease.
With the game tied at 1-1, Inter were looking for the go-head goal against the nervous Parma side. With the game tied, Parma could no-longer stay in their half and defend deep.
Looking for the go-ahead goal themselves, Parma committed more men in attack to try and put back-up goalkeeper under pressure, however before they could capitalize on the the other end, they conceded another goal at seventy-two minute mark following a counter-attack opportunity led by their star man Ruben Sosa.
Completely unmarked on the right edge of the penalty box, Sosa crossed the ball to far-right post where Nicola Berti brilliantly headed the ball over the goal-keeper into the far left corner to give the home side a 2-1 lead.
As the game edged towards the finish, Parma started gaining momentum in the match and tested Abate a number of times in Nerazzurri defensive half, however the substitute goal-keeper was up to the challenge and kept the visitors off the score sheet, giving Inter a crucial win against top three side in Serie A.