Rosenborg BK 2-2 Internazionale FC
Internazionale FC came from behind to snatch a draw in the first game of their UEFA Champions League Group D campaign. Two goals from Hernán Crespo earned a 2-2 draw for the Italian side from their game against Norwegian champions Rosenborg BK at the Lerkendal stadium.
Rosenborg can consider themselves unfortunate not to have taken maximum points from a surprisingly open game, which saw Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro sent off for two bookable offences in the space of five second-half minutes. As is so often the case, his team played better following his 69th-minute departure, and eleven minutes from time, Crespo struck his second goal of the evening, smashing a left-foot shot into the roof of the net following a free-kick from substitute Alvaro Recoba to level the scores.
The home team found themselves trailing to a 33rd-minute Crespo goal at half-time, the Argentinian striker having worked an opening on the right-hand side of the penalty area beafore beating Árni Arason in the home goal with a deflected shot. Rosenborg could justifiably rue their ill fortune, having had the majority of the possession and come close to scoring when Odd Inge Olsen’s header bounced on to the top of the Inter crossbar with Francesco Toldo helpless. However, Inter had chances of their own and Crespo should have found the net before his goal, bursting clear in the ninth minute only to fire his shot against Arason’s legs.
The remainder of the first period passed by in a blur of half-chances and goalmouth incidents, with the home side always dangerous but unable to create many clear-cut openings. However, they emerged from the interval with a new sense of purpose and tore into their opponents straight from the restart. Rosenborg deservedly equalised in the 52nd minute as Azar Karadas bundled the ball in at the far post following a corner which Crespo inadvertently flicked away from his own goalkeeper.
Inter rode their luck after conceding that goal, and Rosenborg passed up two presentable chances in the next few minutes. First, following an excellent passing move, the ball was worked through to Harald Brattbakk, who rolled his shot wide of Toldo but also just past the far post. Italy’s second-choice goalkeeper then had to get down smartly to a low Karadas shot, which he gathered at the second attempt.
Karadas did eventually get his reward after 65 minutes, thumping an unstoppable header past Toldo following good work from Olsen down the Rosenborg left. Rosenborg’s No20 gave Inter problems in the air all night and was unlucky not to claim a hat-trick, seeing another header fly narrowly wide and forcing Toldo to stretch to reach another effort.