Inter vs. Roma: five things spotted in Mourinho’s Meazza return

Inter eliminated José Mourinho’s Roma from the Coppa Italia and Lorenzo Bettoni at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza highlights five things spotted in the Special One’s return to Milan.

It wasn’t Mourinho’s first match at San Siro since his return to Serie A. It wasn’t even his first game against the Nerazzurri this season. However, he had never returned to Milan to play against his ex club since he left in 2010 to join Real Madrid.

It was meant to be a special night for José Mourinho and, to some extent, it was a night he would never forget. However, his first game as an Inter opponent in Milan did not end as he wanted as his Roma side were eliminated from the competition. The disappointment was visible in his eyes while he walked inside the tunnel after the final whistle.

The Special One just raised his hand to once again say goodbye to Inter fans before disappearing quickly inside the dressing room. Nobody in the black and blue half of Milan has forgotten what the Special One achieved around here over ten years ago. Five trophies in two seasons, including a legendary treble in 2009-10 and so many emotions. On and off the pitch. Mourinho will never, ever, be forgotten by Inter fans who proved all their love for their ex-coach tonight.

Mourinho was welcomed with a banner unveiled by the ultras in the Curva Nord: ‘Welcome back home, Jose,’ it read. Mourinho hadn’t held a pre-match press conference on the eve of the match and did not follow the team’s warm-up from the pitch tonight. The first time Inter fans saw him ‘return home’ was when he emerged from the tunnel minutes before the beginning of the game.

Mourinho and Inzaghi followed their lads and shook hands on the touchline while Inter fans welcomed the Portuguese coach chanting his name. Simone had to wait for some good 30 minutes before hearing his name sung by the Curva Nord. Had a football neophyte started watching football tonight, he’d thought Mourinho was the Nerazzurri coach and Inzaghi was in charge of Roma, not the other way around. However, he’d have to change his stance by seeing Mourinho going toward the Giallorossi bench. Before he even sat down, the 59-year-old came out from his technical area, waving to Inter fans.

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His joy didn’t last long as former Roma striker Edin Dzeko broke the deadlock after barely two minutes, making the most of an Ivan Perisic assist from the left. His lads seemed shocked and confused and the same feeling was shared by Mourinho, who often turned back to talk to his assistant, mostly asking, ‘what are they doing?’

He could not recognize his team on the pitch and Roma failed to create any trouble in the first half. The second half was much different with the Giallorossi, who created a couple of good opportunities to level the score. Nevertheless, Alexis Sanchez put the game to bed with an absolute rocket from 20 meters into the far top corner. It signalled the end of Mourinho’s qualification hopes, but it also meant that Inter fans could resume their chants for the ex-coach, who quickly thanked them before making his way to the tunnel. Mourinho will return here for a Serie A fixture at the end of April and knows already that he will receive the same welcome. However, he’ll be hoping for a different result.