When FC Internazionale Milano became the sixth club to win a domestic league, cup and European Champion Clubs' Cup treble in May 2010, Novara Calcio were celebrating promotion to Serie B. Sixteen months and another promotion later, no end is in sight to the Piedmont side's party, after they defeated the FIFA Club World Cup holders 3-1 on Tuesday, leading to the departure of Gian Piero Gasperini.
In their first Serie A home game since 1956, Novara took a first-half lead through Riccardo Meggiorini, and six minutes from time, Internazionale defender Andrea Ranocchia was sent off for fouling Takayuki Morimoto in the box. Marco Rigoni converted the resulting penalty, and while Esteban Cambiasso halved the deficit for the Nerazzurri, Rigoni scored again in added time for Attilio Tesser's team.
"The last game we played in this stadium last season [the promotion play-off victory over Padova Calcio] was a historic one for us," said 31-year-old midfielder Rigoni. "Now, in the first match of the new season, we have made history again by beating a club of the stature of Inter. We prepared for the game very well with our coach. We all knew what to do when we got on the pitch, and we did it perfectly."
Novara, beaten by Inter in the 1939 Coppa Italia final, spent eight campaigns in Serie A from 1948 to 1956, fielding the legendary Silvio Piola in six of them – the striker is the highest scorer in Serie A history, with Novara's stadium being renamed in his honour in 1997, the year after Piola's death.
Having netted his seventh Serie A goal against Inter, Meggiorini is 267 goals shy of Piola's record. "It's always nice to defeat great teams," said the 26-year-old, who started his career at Inter. "Scoring against big teams is always special but scoring against Inter is even more so for me. I will always be grateful to the club because I began my career there, but now I have only Novara on my mind.
"We deserved to win but now we must focus on the next game," Meggiorini continued. "After a match like this there is a temptation to relax a bit, but we have to understand that the most difficult games are the ones against the other sides battling to avoid relegation."
Coach Tesser, 53, agreed. "We are happy about the victory and our performance," he said. "But three points are just three points, regardless who you beat. We can get good results against any team if we play with this spirit." Still winless after three league outings this term, Inter know that all too well.
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