“Thuraaaaam! Thuraaaaam! Thuraaaaam!”
It starts when Theo Hernandez looks to pick out Olivier Giroud in the Inter box. We’re in the 38th minute of the first Derby della Madonnina of the season and although Internazionale are leading 1-0 thanks to a Henrikh Mkhitaryan goal early on, AC Milan have clawed their way back into it.
It’s tight and the air in the grand old stadium is thick with tension. Hernandez, who’s worked his way into midfield as is the norm these days with left backs who are good on the ball, sees his pass cut out by Francesco Acerbi quite easily. Acerbi’s agricultural hack of a clearance smacks into Rade Krunic but bounces back to an Inter shirt, in the form of Mkhitaryan.
At the edge of his own box, the goalscorer moves it onto Lautaro Martinez, who’s dropped deep into his own half. Without a moment’s hesitation, Martinez spins on the spot and rather remarkably sweeps the ball into space. Denzel Dumfries has a couple of yards on Hernandez, and he races forward into the Milan half chasing the pass.
At this moment, there are just five people in that half – Dumfries and teammate Marcus Thuram, Hernandez and teammates Malick Thiaw and goalkeeper Mike Maignan. Danger for the nominal away side. By the time Dumfries reaches the ball Hernandez has caught up and he knows he has to get off a pass first-time: which he does, but he curls it far too long, far too wide for Thuram to run onto it.
When the new Inter #9 is finally able to collect the ball, he’s outside the box, on the left flank. Milan have four men in to support their keeper and there are two more racing in. Danger defused. Or so they thought.
After squaring up Thiaw, Thuram takes three small, jittery steps, ball at his toe, forcing Thiaw back into the box. Once he also gets into the box, he takes a more forceful touch, pushing the ball wider before… head down, left foot planted next to the ball, he curls a thunderous hit into the far top corner. GOAL! It was as perfect a strike as you’d see all season.
Thiaw had done most things right here: he’d held him up, tightened the angle to an almost impossible one and support was on its way. Maignan had done most things right too. He’d have got to that ball if it had been placed anywhere other than the exact top corner of the net behind him. There was simply nothing either of them could do. 1-0 had become 2-0; and Inter were well on their way to a score that would eventually read 5-1.
The goal had dissipated the tension. As the ball smacked into the net, there came a brief pause. As everyone collected their jaws of the floor, there came the roar – the great stadium erupting in a wall of noise. When the San Siro is in full flow, there are few sights, or sounds, like it in world football. Saturday was a reminder of what Inter and Milan will miss out on if they do go through with their plans to move out and move on to more modern facilities.
It was also a throwback in a different way: the name Thuram has been chanted by fans in Italy, but in very different places, and for very different reasons. Lillian Thuram was one of the great defenders of the modern game and is a legend at Parma and Turin (Juventus), but now it’s his son’s turn to do some Serie A storytelling.
And what a story it is. In October 2020, Marcus Thuram had had to pull out Google to prove to security officials at the San Siro that he was who he said he was and that he should allowed into the stadium, because he had to go play up top for Borussia Monchengladbach vs Inter in the Champions League. Here we are in September 2023, that very San Siro ringing out with his name: “Thuraaaaam! Thuraaaaam! Thuraaaaam!”
Gladbach’s French attacker Marcus Thuram had to pull out Google to prove to officials that he should be allowed into the San Siro today ahead of the Champions’ League game vs Inter Milan. pic.twitter.com/bgGcP3VSe0
– Get French Football News (@GFFN) October 21, 2020
Curiously overlooked by many this summer, he had been signed on a free transfer by Inter after they realised Romelu Lukaku wasn’t going to be coming back. If he to prove who he was in 2020, he had much the same to do at the start of this season… and he’s shown Inter and the rest of the league just what he is capable of.
After Saturday’s exploits – ESPN’s moment of the weekend – no one’s going to be asking him to a prove a thing in Milan.