I’m getting ready to leave the office and the clock shows 4pm as I head outside. The weather is perfect: it’s not too cold, so I can wear my black-and-blue jersey with pride. Tonight is THE night. We need to win. Barcelona will probably take first place in the group so we have to leave our rivals Dortmund behind us.
As I approach the stadium, my anxiety is growing fast – and so is my hunger. I always have two companions on my adventures to the San Siro and I ask if they are hungry too. Various restaurants around the ground serve typical Italian food, ranging from affordable to elegant, and after a fabulous dish of pasta carbonara, the time has come. It’s time to enter La Scala del Calcio.
Inter fans are famous for their loyalty, and tonight there will be more than 70,000 of us for a special occasion, and an astonishing atmosphere no matter the result. My place is in the second tier – the red tier, to be exact – but I find myself next to some Dortmund fans who couldn’t find their seats in the away section. As it turns out, we’re about the same age and get on well, so I take their phone numbers and plan to write to them about the return game in Dortmund. Maybe they’ll send me photos too.
After the magical Champions League anthem, the moment arrives and Inter start the match. Antonio Conte’s team are on fire and soon create the most dangerous attacks. With 22 minutes gone, Lautaro is there to take a perfectly balanced long pass from De Vrij, with Bürki helpless. After a short VAR review, the decision is made: it’s 1-0.
Borussia seem frightened, and 17-year-old Esposito wins a penalty after coming on for Lukaku. Lautaro fails to put it away and Pazza Inter (Crazy Inter) tremble. The match is in a precarious balance. But a cold-blooded Candreva then finishes a perfect counterattack to make it 2-0. Inter are second in the group and the Camp Nou awaits.