Saturday, 13 January 2007

Inter enter the record books

Runaway Serie A leaders and favourites to clinch this season's Scudetto, Internazionale went down in history tonight with an unprecedented 12th consecutive victory.

Roberto Mancini's charges entered uncharted territory thanks to a 3-1 triumph away to Torino, thus dethroning Luciano Spaletti's Roma, who must surely have expected their record run of 11 wins to stand a little longer.

Interestingly, it was Inter who brought the capital outfit's sequence of results to a halt last term, picking up a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico on 5 March 2006.

With 19 matches played in the current campaign, the Nerazzurri boast a total of 16 victories and just three stalemates. Even more impressively, with the Coppa Italia thrown into the equation they have found the back of the net at least once in their last 18 encounters, for an average of over two strikes per game (39 goals overall).

The last team to hold them at bay were Udinese as far back as 22 October, the mid-table side's 0-0 home draw looking more of an achievement with every passing week.

Still in the realm of statistics, Inter have enjoyed success in 22 of their 28 competitive fixtures since the season began, being held to four draws and suffering a mere two defeats. As a result they average a staggering 2.5 points per game.

Their last setback, a 2-0 loss at home to German champions Bayern Munich, did nothing to stop their march into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League.

Ever the pragmatist, Roberto Mancini refuses to get carried away with his team's groundbreaking feat. "Records don't interest me in the least," he explained. "What matters is the league table at the end of the season, and this record will be totally irrelevant if we don't finish as champions."

Indeed, having been granted the title by default last term after the penalties incurred by Juventus and AC Milan, it has become a point of pride at Inter to claim the Serie A crown out on the pitch. Up until now, only Roma have been able to keep any sort of pace with Mancini's men, but even they find themselves a daunting ten points adrift.

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