After struggling through his loan spell at Inter Milan, Lukas Podolski finally has his first Serie A goal. And it’s a sight to behold.
With Udinese down to just nine men after both Maurizio Domizzi and Emmanuel Badu earned themselves an early shower, Podolski wasted no time, giving Inter a 2-1 lead in the 65th minute that would hold until the final whistle.
The 29-year-old Arsenal loanee received a corner at the top of the box and ripped a low drive on net. It was blocked by the mess of bodies in the box, but rebounded directly at his feet, and he didn’t miss with his second opportunity. Unleashing a curler towards the far corner, Podolski hit his target Orestis Karzenis in the Udinese goal was powerless to stop it.
The goal is a big one for both player and club. On a collective level, it sends Inter past both Torino and Genoa into seventh place, just a point behind a sinking Fiorentina and two back of Sampdoria in what would be a phenomenal late-season push by Inter for a top position. Fourth and fifth place are Europa League positions in Italy, so European play is still attainable. Fiorentina has crumbled down the stretch, losing four straight while Sampdoria has also failed to win any of its last four. Inter, meanwhile, has gone unbeaten in five, winning three of those after today’s victory.
For Podolski on a more personal level, the goal validates what has otherwise been a struggle this season. Less than 24 hours earlier, Inter manager Roberto Mancini confirmed what many have speculated of late, that Podolski will return to Arsenal this summer. But Mancini kept the faith, and it paid off today. “Not everything can happen quickly,” Mancini said before the match. “Particularly when you are moving from one country to another or from one club to another. That also applies to Podolski, who I rate as a great player and a great professional.”
If the German can go on a run of form to end the year, it would not only increase his chances of finding playing time at the Emirates next season, but could also help Inter make a somewhat miraculous late charge for a place in Europe next season.