Inter breathed fresh life into their bid to retain their Serie A crown as Hakan Calhanoglu’s first half penalty delivered a 1-0 victory over Juventus in the Derby d’Italia.
Juventus almost had the ball in the net in the 8th minute through fortuitous circumstances. Juan Cuadrado’s cross looped into the air and Samir Handanovic failed to collect. Giorgio Chiellini stabbed the ball goalward from point blank range, but his effort ricocheted off the crossbar.Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata were combining at will for the hosts, and the combination almost bore fruit in the 15th minute. The former arrowed a delicious floated cross towards the far post, but the angle was tight for the Spaniard and he could only send his header wide.
Juve were very much in the ascendancy in the opening period – Morata’s effort from a Cuadrado pull-back was thwarted by Milan Skriniar – but it was Inter who went into the interval ahead in contenious fashion.
Their cries for a spot-kick were waved away initially when Denzel Dumfries went down in the area, although referee Massimiliano Irrati was advised to look at the pitchside monitor. He spotted an infringement from Morata and pointed to the spot much to the dismay of the Juve players.
Hakan Calhanoglu was denied by Wojciech Szczesny before the Nerazzurri bundled the ball over the goalline from the rebound. Play was initially pulled back for a foul by the Inter midfielder, but the Turkish international was ordered to retake his penalty after encroachment from Matthijs de Ligt. He made no mistake with his second opportunity, rifling into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Juve emerged from the interval with a renewed sense of energy. Paulo Dybala combined neatly on the edge of the penalty area with Morata and Denis Zakaria, but the Argentine couldn’t take the ball in his stride after weaving his way through the Inter danger area.
Vlahovic then produced a wonderful turn on the edge of the penalty area to leave Skriniar in his wake, although the Serbian could only prod his effort past his post on his weaker side.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side continued to pour forward, and they very nearly got their just rewards when Zakaria broke forward from midfield. The midfielder unleashed at goal where Handanovic was on hand to push his effort agonisingly onto the post.
Dybala tested Handanovic from distance late on, but Inter stood tall to seal a precious three points.
JUVENTUS: Szczesny 7, Chiellini 7, De Ligt 6, Danilo 6, Alex Sandro 7, Cuadrado 7, Rabiot 6, Locatelli 5, Vlahovic 6, Morata 5, Dybala 7
Subs: Kean 5, Bernardeschi N/A, Zakaria 6, De Sciglio 5, Arthur N/A
Wojciech Szczesny (GK) – 6/10 – Flew to his right to deny Calhanoglu initially, but could do little to prevent his second attempt.
Danilo (RB) – 6/10 – His aerial threat limited Inter’s ability to switch play out to Ivan Perisic.
Matthijs de Ligt (CB) – 5/10 – Offered Calhanoglu a second bite of the cherry from the spot when he encroached.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – 7/10 – Marshalled the threat of Dzeko in the air, putting himself about with real authority.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 6/10 – Played a quite reserved role, as the speed of Juventus in transition often prevented him from overlapping Morata.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – 9/10 – Dominated physically in midfield, producing the type of performance which has been so badly missing in his Juventus career.
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – N/A – Had his face cut open from a wild Martinez boot and received a yellow card for a stud to D’Ambrosio’s waist, before he was forced off with injury inside 32 minutes.
Paulo Dybala (AM) – 5/10 – Was at his best when combining on the edge of the area, but lacked the defining moment which has characterised his season.
Juan Cuadrado (RW) – 7/10 – His speed and ability to carry the ball made Juve such a threat in transition throughout.
Dusan Vlahovic (ST) – 5/10 – Lacked conviction in the final third, often lacking purchase on his shots.
Alvaro Morata (LW) – 8/10 – Linked extremely well with Vlahovic, with his ability to play forward quickly helping Juve in counter-attacking situations. Unfortunate to concede the penalty.
Denis Zakaria (CM) – 5/10 – Replaced the injured Locatelli in the first half and was a standout for Juve, rattling the post after a driving run.
Moise Kean (ST) – N/A
Mattia De Sciglio (LB) – N/A
Federico Bernardeschi (RW) – N/A
Arthur (CM) – N/A
INTER: Handanovic 8, D’Ambrosio 8, Skriniar 8, Bastoni 8, Dumfries 7, Barella 7, Brozovic 7, Calhanoglu 8, Perisic 7, Dzeko 6, Lautaro 6
Subs: Correa 6, Darmian 6, Vidal 5, Gagliardini 5, Gosens N/A
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 5/10 – Endured a hairy moment inside the opening ten minutes, often putting Inter under pressure unnecessarily. However, he produced a huge stop to tip Zakaria’s effort onto the post late in the second half.
Danilo D’Ambrosio (CB) – 6/10 – Strong defensively and was alert to Juve’s many cut-back opportunities.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 7/10 – Made a vital stop inside the six-yard box from a Morata effort in the first half, which typified his hunger to preserve Inter’s lead.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 5/10 – Struggled to contain Cuadrado in the first half, but he recovered strongly after the interval.
Denzel Dumfries (RWB) – 6/10 – Inter really struggled to construct attacks which exploited the Dutchman’s aerial ability at the far post, but he did well to win the penalty in the first half.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 4/10 – Another slightly subdued display from the Italian, constantly missing his intended target with searching passes.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 8/10 – Just as good with the ball as without it, covering ground in midfield with a swagger.
Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) – 5/10 – Largely anonymous in open play, requiring two bites of the cherry to put Inter ahead.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 5/10 – Endured one of his quieter evenings, with Inter concentrating their attacks down the opposite flank.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 2/10 – Booked inside two minutes and was flying into challenges from the outset.
Edin Dzeko (ST) – 4/10 – Struggled to get involved in the game, often dropping into deeper areas for a feel of the ball.
Matteo Darmian (RWB) – 5/10 – Shored up the right flank for Inter as Juventus continued to probe in the second half.
Joaquin Correa (ST) – 6/10 – Offered Inter an effective outlet to relieve pressure.
Roberto Gagliardini (CM) – N/A
Arturo Vidal (CM) – N/A
Robin Gosens (LWB) – N/A