captain javier zanetti has insisted fc internazionale milano are getting to grips with new coach rafael benítez's style as they bid to "qualify as soon as possible" in group a.
captain javier zanetti has said that he and his fc internazionale milano team-mates will "give our best and qualify as soon as possible" as they prepare to meet tottenham hotspur fc in group a.
the clubs are level on four points at the top of the section, with the european champions ahead by virtue of a better goal difference. after kicking off their title defence with a 2-2 draw against fc twente, inter beat sv werder bremen 4-0 at home, but tottenham have kept pace thus far and argentinian international zanetti reckons harry redknapp's side will be tough opponents.
"tottenham are a good team," said the 37-year-old. "they're good on the counterattack and dangerous from set pieces. our group is very even; bremen are a strong side too, and we have to stay vigilant because we also had a few problems against twente. we have to give our best in every game."
exactly how good inter's best is has been a topic of intense discussion in italy. zanetti returned from a four-week absence on sunday for his side's 1-0 win at cagliari calcio, but the cautious style of football they played did not impress some.
zanetti, inter's first signing under president massimo moratti back in 1995, made no apologies. "to be honest, we don't care about the critics," the versatile midfielder said. "it won't be easy for anybody at cagliari, but we managed to get the three points so we achieved our goal. we have to improve, that's for sure, but what counts is that we won."
benítez and his inter predecessor josé mourinho both put results first when it came to their coaching ethos, but the shift from one boss to the other has not been seamless. after beating as roma to win the italian super cup, the nerazzurri lost to club atlético de madrid in the uefa super cup and made a shaky start in the league, though they are still third, two points adrift of surprise leaders s.s. lazio.
"[mourinho and benítez] are different, but they also have something in common because they both want to win," zanetti explained. "we have to master benítez's philosophy as soon as possible. we were used to a different kind of football but i think we have already made a few steps forward since the start of the season."
1. fc internazionale milano...3...2...1...0...10...5...5...7 2. tottenham hotspur fc...3...1...1...1...9...7...2...4 3. sv werder bremen...3...0...2...1...3...7...-4...2 4. fc twente...3...0...2...1...4...7...-3...2
the holders scored three times in the first 14 minutes but, despite samuel eto'o's double, were left hanging on by gareth bale's fine hat-trick.
fc internazionale milano moved clear at the top of uefa champions league group a after surviving an unlikely late rally from ten-man tottenham hotspur fc.
the nerazzurri were in control from the outset, javier zanetti shooting them ahead in the second minute and samuel eto'o doubling the lead from the penalty spot after visiting goalkeeper heurelho gomes had been sent off. dejan stanković made it three on 14 minutes and tottenham looked set for a heavy defeat when eto'o further stretched the lead before the break. instead gareth bale's hat-trick made for an exciting finale, although inter held on to strengthen their grip on the section.
tottenham got off to the worst possible start when zanetti struck after barely a minute had passed. the inter captain began the move deep in his own half, picking out coutinho and haring onto eto'o's angled pass. making his 83rd uefa champions league appearance, the 37-year-old then curled past gomes to become the oldest scorer in the competition's history with only his second effort at this level.
six minutes later, matters worsened for the visitors when jonathan biabiany was put clear by wesley sneijder's sweeping pass from deep. the frenchman was too quick for the advancing gomes who felled the winger, earning himself a red card and conceding a penalty that eto'o stroked past carlo cudicini.
the substitute could do little about the third goal that soon followed either as a rampant inter ruthlessly exploited their shell-shocked opponents' defence. stanković played a deft one-two with eto'o before firing in from the edge of the area.
the goalkeeper did deny stanković and made a fine double save from maicon, while tottenham's only noteworthy first-half chance was a free header for peter crouch that cleared the crossbar. eto'o was not so profligate and, when coutinho played him in down the left, he slipped his sixth goal of the group stage under cudicini.
the travelling fans were finally rewarded for their raucous support by bale's superb individual goal on 52 minutes. the welshman raced forward from midway inside his own half and rifled a low shot across júlio césar.
though they were largely concerned with damage limitation, cudicini saving well from davide santon, there was a sting in tottenham's tail. with 90 minutes played, bale surged down the left again to beat césar with a near copy of his first goal. virtually from the kick-off, aaron lennon skipped through before squaring for the 21-year-old to complete a remarkable hat-trick that may not have been enough on the night but gives his side heart for the return on matchday 4.
milano'da nefesleri kesen maçta, ilk 14 dakikada 3 gol birden bulan ınter 10 kişi kalan rakibi karşısında korkulu rüyalar görse de sahadan 4-3'lük zaferle ayrıldı. tottenham'da gareth bale hattrick yaparak maça damga vurdu.
70,520 kişinin doldurduğu giuseppe meazza stadı'nda oynanan karşılaşmada, henüz 2. dakikada javier zanetti ile başlayan atakta, samuel eto'o'nun koşusuna devam eden kaptan zanetti'ye verdiği pasta arjantin'li futbolcu da soğukkanlı plase vuruşla gol perdesini açtı. 1-0
1995 yılından beri ınter kulübünde hizmet veren ve italyan ekipte 700'ün üstünde maça çıkarak bu alanda giuseppe bergomi'nin ardından 2. sırada bulunan 37 yaşındaki futbolcu, böylelikle kariyerindeki 83. şampiyonlar ligi maçında 2. golünü kaydetti ve turnuva tarihinde gol atmayı başaran en yaşlı futbolcu oldu.
arjantin'li futbolcu, aynı zamanda 2008 şubat'ta roma ağlarını havalandırdıktan sonra 2.5 yılı aşkın süredir devam eden gol hasretine de nokta koydu.
inter'in tottenham'ı 4-3 yendiği maçta takımın ilk golünü atan ınter'li javier zanetti şampiyonlar ligi tarihine geçti. 37 yaşındaki arjantinli futbolcu, şampiyonlar ligi tarihinde gol atan en yaşlı futbolcu unvanını ele geçirdi.