Inter clinch a thriller | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, October 30, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, October 30, 2009

Serie A

Inter clinch a thriller

Inter Milan striker Diego Milito (L) is chased by teammates as he celebrates his goal against Palermo during their Serie A encounter at San Siro on Thursday.Photo: AFP

Inter Milan ruined Walter Zenga's homecoming by beating Palermo 5-3 in an eight-goal thriller at the San Siro on Thursday.
Zenga had threatened to upset his former employers as his battling team fought back from a 4-0 half-time deficit to within a goal with a quarter of the game remaining before Diego Milito settled things late on.
Former Italy goalkeeper Zenga, who spent 12 years as an Inter player, was given a standing ovation when he arrived but his team was then ripped apart in a painful first 45 minutes, seemingly making a mockery of his pre-match claims that his side would challenge for the title.
And while the first goal was due to some horrible home-team refereeing, thereafter Palermo simply could not handle Inter's bristling attacking play as Samuel Eto'o and Mario Balotelli each bagged a brace.
The lead came on 7min when the referee laughably awarded the hosts a penalty after Balotelli tried to run through an inexistent gap between two defenders and fell over.
The teenager then tried to take the penalty off Eto'o only to be dragged away by captain Javier Zanetti and he threw a mini tantrum as Eto'o lashed home the spot-kick.
If that goal had been unfair on Palermo, the Sicilians could have no complaints about what happened in the rest of the half.
After Palermo goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who played very well, had tipped a deviation off defender Dorin Goian from Eto'o's cross onto the post, Esteban Cambiasso's driven centre came too quick for Balotelli who headed wide with his eyes closed.
Just past the hour mark Cambiasso lashed a close range shot over the bar but on 34min it was two as Balotelli rose above Australian Mark Bresciano to head home Maicon's corner.
Palermo collapsed just before the break as Sirigu and Simon Kjaer got in each other's way leaving Cambiasso free to head goalwards before Balotelli got the last touch on the line.
And two minutes before the break the 19-year-old teed up Eto'o to beat Sirigu at his near post.
At 4-0 at the break the game seemed over but Palermo came out after the restart in determined mood and showed just why Zenga has so much faith in them.
Miccoli started the comeback on 49min as he latched onto a long Simplicio through ball, held off Ivan Cordoba and chipped Julio Cesar.
But seven minutes from time a tired-looking Palermo defence wilted and Maicon teed up substitute Milito to tap home the eighth goal of the night from close range.

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