Serie A Week 21 - 1 Feb 2012 (19.45 UK)
Inter 4 - 4
Mantovani 16 (P), Milito 22, pen 55, 61, 69 (I), Miccoli 52, 66, 85 (P)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

One of the most incredible Serie A games of all time ended 4-4 between Inter and Palermo, as Diego Milito scored four and Fabrizio Miccoli got a hat-trick!

The Nerazzurri had a difficult week, as they were knocked out of the Coppa Italia and saw their run of seven consecutive Serie A victories ended by a shock 1-0 defeat at Lecce. Thiago Motta also left for PSG, while Wesley Sneijder was finding it difficult to fit into the 4-4-2 system that had developed during his injury lay-off. Dejan Stankovic, Diego Forlan and Marco Davide Faraoni were out, while Palermo missed Abel Hernandez and Armin Bacinovic. Emiliano Viviano is co-owned by Inter and moved to the Rosanero in January.

It was snowing in Milan and the lines had to be painted red. Sneijder nodded just wide in the opening minute and Fabrizio Miccoli tested Julio Cesar.

Palermo had a very bright start, as Andrea Ranocchia had to deflect an Igor Budan counter over the bar. From that corner – their fifth of the game – the visitors took the lead with Andrea Mantovani totally unmarked at the back post to tap in at full stretch. Julio Cesar was furious with his defence for letting the cross through.

The Nerazzurri repeatedly risked being caught on the counter, but Matias Silvestre handed Inter the equaliser with a poor headed clearance straight at Diego Milito. The Argentine did not hesitate and smashed the angled drive across Viviano.

Inter were struggling, so after half an hour Claudio Ranieri urged his men to switch to a 4-4-2 with Sneijder wide left, which did seem to improve their performance. Giampaolo Pazzini’s header was too weak to trouble Viviano, then he just failed to make contact with another Javier Zanetti cross.

Milito had the ball in the net, but was clearly offside after redirecting a wayward Sneijder shot.

Inter somehow failed to score with the last kick of the first half! Sneijder completed a one-two with Milito and rolled into the six-yard box for Esteban Cambiasso, but the midfielder couldn’t quite squeeze the ball in amid a pile-up of Viviano, Federico Balzaretti and Mantovani.

Miccoli restored Palermo’s advantage after the restart. He held off Ranocchia and placed a snooker shot across Julio Cesar into the far corner with the Inter goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

The Nerazzurri almost equalised moments later, but Milito pounced on a Munoz error to flash his effort wide.

Munoz made another mistake 30 seconds later, clearly hauling back Yuto Nagatomo. Milito beat Viviano with a powerful penalty into the bottom corner, sending Viviano the wrong way.

Cambiasso’s looping header took a corner just past Milito at the back post, but Milito did score to make it 3-2 for Inter. El Principe appeared to be offside when Cambiasso’s pass slipped between defenders, but he kept his cool to waltz round Viviano and complete his hat-trick.

It was a bizarre equaliser from Palermo, as Balzaretti whipped in the cross for a Miccoli diving header. It’s very rare that the ‘Pocket Striker’ scores with his head.

The game was very exciting for fans and neutrals alike, but even more so for Milito, who got four goals! Zanetti pulled back for a wayward Pazzini half-volley that turned into an accidental assist for Milito to tap in from six yards.

Angelo Palombo made his Inter debut just a day after completing the transfer from Sampdoria, while Milito had the ball in the net for a fifth time, but the ball had already gone out of play.

It still wasn’t over in a crazy night at San Siro! Miccoli burst through the middle past Lucio and put a perfect angled drive under Julio Cesar into the far bottom corner! He completed his hat-trick and pulled it back to 4-4 under the snow.

In stoppages, Miccoli’s free kick skimmed the crossbar. 

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Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Ranocchia, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Poli (Palombo 63); Sneijder (Obi 68); Pazzini, Milito (Zarate 89)
: Viviano; Munoz (Pisano 62), Mantovani, Silvestre, Balzaretti; Bertolo, Donati, Barreto; Zahavi (Ilicic 62); Budan (Vazquez 75), Miccoli
Ref: Guida