Inter Milan’s Leonardo said his side’s near-miss in their 3-2 victory over Palermo got his heart pounding in the Serie A on Sunday.
The European and Italian champions trailed at the San Siro 2-0, before debutant Giampaolo Pazzini got Inter’s first goal in the second half.
They were spared another life when J Pastore had a penalty saved by goalkeeper Julio Cesar, before Pazzini equalised and striker Samuel Eto’o finished off the comeback with a 76th-minute penalty.
The Brazilian boss admitted he was in panic mode at half-time, but praised the performance of the visitors, who left empty-handed.
“It’ll take a little more time for my heart rate to get over this match,” Leonardo said.
“That was a spectacular game. If it had been another result, then nobody could’ve said Palermo didn’t deserve it. They are a great side and created a good nine or 10 scoring opportunities in the first half alone.”
“After the break my team needed courage and character. Julio Cesar passed a late fitness test to start, Pazzini scored twice on his debut and Douglas Maicon had an extraordinary performance.”
“There are so many positives from this match. We can try the trident attack, as there are many alternatives. The work Samuel Eto’o did in the second half was crazy.”
Palermo boss Delio Rossi said his side underestimated Inter Milan’s fighting abilities to recover from a two-goal deficit.
“It was such a great performance against a world-class squad, but we were na?ve, because we had the game in our hands,” he said.
“We had the chances to seal it, but those we wasted also must make us understand that at a certain level we’ve got to do better. We threw away a huge opportunity.”
“We must improve in our efficiency, as it’s not enough to just play beautiful football. We have progressed, though clearly we lack experience.”