CBC Sports Online's soccer expert, John Molinaro, takes you inside the world of soccer and offers his insights about the action on the pitch and in the front office.
Another Super Sunday to remember
Tuesday, May 20, 2008 | 11:03 AM ET
Last Sunday I was parked on my couch, remote control in my hand, and furiously flipping between three games as the English Premiership drew to a dramatic close.
The soccer gods once again shone their indelible grace upon me and millions of fans around the world again this past Sunday, as the Serie A title came down to the final day of the season.
As I wrote in last week's blog, nothing puts soccer fans on edge more that a good old-fashioned title race that goes down to the wire - except maybe a relegation battle - and thankfully for Italian footie fans, they had both on Sunday.
Inter Milan was sitting on a slender one-point lead on AS Roma going into the final game of the season with the title hanging in the balance. If Roma managed to win on the road against Catania, who was fighting relegation, and Inter lost or tied away to Parma (who like Catania were trying to avoid being sent down to Serie B), then the Romans would win their first scudetto (league title) in seven years.
Things were looking pretty good for the Gialorossi when Montenegrin Mirko Vucinic scored in the 8th minute to give Roma a 1-0 lead in Sicily.
Meanwhile, in Parma, the Nerazzuri were struggling to find the back of the net and couldn't break down Parma's stingy defence.
Looking for a bit on inspiration, Inter coach Roberto Mancini threw on forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a substitute in the 51st minute. The super Swede, who was coming off a six-week injury layoff, scored a mere 11 minutes after stepping onto the field and netted his second goal of the game in the 79th minute to secure the title for Inter (Roma, after learning Inter were up 2-0 and realizing they had no hope, took their foot off the pedal and settled for a 1-1 draw with Catania, who managed to avoid relegation).
As a Juventus fan, it broke my heart to watch Inter win another championship, even more so because it was Ibrahimovic, a former Juve player, who scored the goals that secured Inter the scudetto.
But I have to admit, unlike a lot of anti-Inter fans who claim the Milan club only won the title because they benefited from some dubious calls from the referees this season, that the Nerazzuri deserved to win the championship.
And watching Sunday's game just confirmed for me that Ibrahimovic, aside from Cristiano Ronaldo, is the biggest impact player in the game today.
I mean, Inter couldn't buy a goal against Parma, and the second the Swede stepped onto the field, they started ripping open the defence. Within 20 minutes, they were sitting on a two-goal lead.
Say what you want about Ibrahimovic's temperamental attitude, his love of flicks when a simple pass will do and his propensity to over-elaborate sometimes - the guy is a money player and always comes to play in the big games.
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About the Author
John F. Molinaro is a reporter for CBC Sport Online whose chief love is international soccer. John served as senior editor of Sports Online's Euro 2004 website, which helped him win a CBC.ca Award of Excellence, and was the driving force behind our coverage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He holds an honours BA in sociology from York University and a print journalism diploma from Sheridan College, and is also the author of The Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of All Time (Stewart House, 2002).
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