MILAN, Italy, September 15 – Outsiders Trabzonspor stunned 2010 winners Inter Milan 1-0 in the Champions League at the San Siro here on Wednesday to heap more misery on the Italian side’s coach Gian Piero Gasperini.
Czech right-back Ondrej Celustka was the unlikely hero for the Turks, who are only playing in the Champions League on a wild card after Turkish champions Fenerbahce were kicked out over a match-fixing scandal.
Trabzonspor had actually already been knocked out in the third qualifying round by Benfica.
Despite their dream start, coach Senol Gunes wasn’t getting carried away.
“First of all it’s great because we weren’t very well known before but this will help us a lot,” he said.
“But it’s too early to talk positively, it’s a positive result but there are still many games to go.
“Obviously we expected something different from Inter but at the same time this is football.
“It’s not enough just to have great players like (Esteban) Cambiasso, (Giampaolo) Pazzini and (Wesley) Sneijder, anything can happen on the pitch.”
Although Inter enjoyed the greater number of chances, the visitors remained disciplined and organised and struck from their only real chance to gain a famous victory over their illustrious opponents.
After being vilified in the Italian press following Sunday’s 4-3 defeat at Palermo, Gasperini bowed to the pressure and abandoned his back three.
But he denied he had been forced to do so.
“No-one pushed me to pick one formation or another, that’s a total invention, all I did was try to correct the mistakes (from Sunday),” he said.
“Two defeats hurt, even if tonight’s was for different reasons.
“Sunday’s wasn’t a complete blow-out, in the second half we made a lot of mistakes.
“Our interpretation of the game wasn’t right as we conceded too many counters, maybe also due to our desire to win.
“We played differently today, we have many options and we can still do very well inthe league.”
But while the conventional back four may have offered him more solidity in defence, it didn’t help the spectacle at an embarrassingly empty San Siro.
The first chance came on 19 minutes as an Arkadiusz Glowacki mistake gave Mauro Zarate a chance but Didier Zokora got back to block his progress and then as Inter continued to press Giray Kacar tackled Zarate as he was about to pull the trigger.
Pazzini was then perhaps a touch lucky to stay on the pitch after catching Marek Cech with his elbow, although none of the officials seemed to notice.
Suddenly on the half hour mark came a flurry of chances for the hosts.
Zarate forced goalkeeper Tolga Zengin into a save at his near post and from the resulting corner, a Turkish mistake presented Pazzini with a chance from seven yards but on the turn he missed the ball completely.
Moments later Zengin rushed from his line to smother another Zarate effort.
Gasperini waited only 10 minutes into the second half to make a pair of changes, Argentines Diego Milito and Ricardo Alvarez replacing Pazzini and Nigerian Joel Obi.
Inter finally opened up the Turks defence when a lucky ricochet helped Cambiasso slip in Milito on the penalty spot with only Zengin to beat but the big goalkeeper spread himself well to prevent a goal.
Moments later Milito headed off target from Javier Zanetti’s cross.
The sucker punch came 14 minutes from time as Halil Altintop collected the ball at the back post and smacked a volley against the bar, with Celustka picking up the loose ball and firing across Julio Cesar from a tight angle.
The excellent Zengin came to his side’s rescue two minutes from time as he plunged to his right to beat away substitute Coutinho’s rasping drive.