Monday, 18 May 2009

Inter Milan 3 - 0 Siena

Another unexpected match report after a weekend trip to Italy coincided with Jose Mourinho's Inter picking up the Scudetto - and we just happened to have tickets for the match at the San Siro.
The party atmosphere had begun the night before as AC Milan's defeat had made Inter champions by proxy, sparking celebrations at the Dumo - Milan's big cathedral square - and endless cars and mopeds beeping their horns and flying flags around the city. That included just outside our hotel room in the Garibaldi area. It reminded me of when I was staying in Gran Canaria when Real Madrid won the European Cup in 1998. No sleep that night thanks to taxi drivers and their car horns.
The next day and the party continued in Milan - blue and black graffiti adorning many public spaces. The San Siro (and the agonising walk from the tube to the ground) was bouncing - so much so there seemed to be more people than seats. This is mainly because there were!
Despite having to show our passports to get into the ground to prove that we were the people mentioned on our individual tickets, in the ground it was carnage remiscient to what I experienced in the away end during the Fulham v Man United league match. Basically we got to our seats and there was a bloke sitting there with his kid and he was not moving - our lack of Italian meant that it was a discussion of gestures with him suggesting it was a sit anywhere policy. We managed to find two seats free and sat down, only for 10 minutes into the game another bloke turn up and turf out most of the row because they were sitting in his seats and the seats of his 'bambinos'. Having children appears to cover a multitude of sins in Italy.
Anyway we found ourselves sat in the aisle - and we were in good company - each row had at least one extra person on it so we didn't really feel left out. As all this was going on, there was still a carnival atmosphere going on, which actually quietened down as the match got into the swing of things. One particularly striking aspect of the crowd was that ocassionally a single deep and resonant drum beat was played from an unseen instrument which cracked the air like a thunderstrike, which seemed to spark another chant from the far end of the ground where the Ultras appeared to be stationed. Incidentally, there was no hide nor hair of any Siena fans in the ground.
Their team though was there to make a game of it and Inter didn't get their own way, despite what the scoreline suggests. Inter's first goal, which relaxed the crowd and allowed them to enjoy the spectacle a bit more, was put in from a rebound and the second and third goals were more or less on the break. Siena also hit the post twice in the second half with good efforts.
Suffering from a day in the sun, and 8.30pm kick off and sitting on concrete stairs, we decided to hop off just before the end and therefore missed the lifting of the Serie A trophy. It seems a shame looking back, but at the time we felt so grim and grotty and had such a trek back to the hotel from the ground it seemed like the senisible solution at the time. I guess it's just a sign of getting old. Perhaps I'll stay a bit longer when Fulham meet AC in the UEFA Cup next year. Hell - it happened to Portsmouth!

EDIT - I've just discovered we were actually sitting in the away end! And still no Siena fans in sight. It was bonkers.

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