Jock Stein didn’t get it all right in Lisbon 50 years ago. He told his players Inter’s weak point was their goalkeeper, Giuliano Sarti, who passed away within the last day, aged 83. How wrong could he be? Sarti played the game of his life, resisting Celtic for an hour, and then keeping his team in the game until the end.
Inter’s famed defensive structure was unable to adapt to Celtic’s ability to create space, but a combination of Sarti and the woodwork kept the scoring down. Twice the keeper benefited from the West German officials, once when he stretched behind to claw the ball out of the net, and once when he grabbed Willie Wallace legs inside the six-yard box.
Sarti was Inter keeper throughout the Grande Inter period, when they twice won the European Cup and Serie A title. He earlier won the league with Fiorentina, as well as the Cup Winners’ Cup.
Great, though he was, he was no King Canute, and could do nothing about Big Tam’s tidal wave, which changed the course of football.