Inter go through but where’s the champagne football?
There’s a big difference for reporters like me between covering AC Milan and Inter Milan at their shared San Siro stadium.
For Milan games in the Champions League, the press get a lovely buffet spread before kickoff. Hot pasta, salad, maybe even some nice chicken and good Chianti.
At Inter matches, it’s a few wholesome sandwiches.
On the field it’s pretty much the same from Jose Mourinho’s Inter — solid but no champagne football.
Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Rubin Kazan sent the Serie A leaders into the Champions League last 16 but yet again it was a nervy European affair for Inter.
A backheel from Mario Balotelli which set up Samuel Eto’o's opener and Balotelli’s 35-yard goal from a free kick were the highlights and showed that Inter can play good football if only sporadically.
Mourinho said every possible opponent in February’s first knockout round will be difficult and you have to think that despite their Serie A dominance, their fluency in the big games will have to improve if they are to avoid losing again like they did to Manchester United at the same stage last term.
By the way, the best press room food I ever had was at Chelsea. Would Mourinho fancy going back to Stamford Bridge in the last 16 or are they best avoided?
And would Carlo Ancelotti relish a meeting with ex-club AC Milan? I guess we’ll find out a week on Friday when the draw is made.
PHOTO: Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho controls the ball during the match against Rubin Kazan in their Champions League soccer match at San Siro stadium in Milan, December 9, 2009. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini