STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – Following the lengthy verbal fight that took place in the press conference rooms in recent weeks, Inter proved their supremacy over Juventus on the pitch in a much clearer way than their tight 1-0 win in Matchday 23 of Serie A suggested.
Despite piling up an impressive number of chances through both halves, the Nerazzurri needed Federico Gatti‘s own goal after 37 minutes to claim a massive win that put them four points clear of the Bianconeri at the top of Serie A. Inter also have a game in hand, to be played against Atalanta at the end of the month.
More than that, Inter‘s focus and total dedication was simply staggering against a side that had their own sporadic chances to hurt them, but were eventually forced to bow to a better team in terms of both play and overall quality.
Inter’s first-half supremacy rewarded by Gatti’s own goal
Unsurprisingly, the game had a tense start, with a couple of tough tackles from the visitors triggering a chorus of boos from the home crowd.
After Marcus Thuram‘s cross caused the first scare early on, Inter tried to take hold of possession calmly beware of losing their balance against a Juventus side that kept their lines tight and patiently waited for the right moment to unleash their attacking players on the break.
Bremer‘s miraculous challenge on Thuram after 25 minutes was the equivalent of a goal as the Brazilian brilliantly slid in the path of the Inter striker to prevent him from easily turning home Federico Dimarco‘s cross from close range.
Although the hosts looked in control, Juventus went close to opening the deadlock as yet another attempted counter-attack almost paid off. Weston McKennie carried the ball through the Nerazzurri’s half and laid it off to Dusan Vlahovic, whose woeful first touch saw him waste a chance to fire home from an excellent position.
The Bianconeri ended up regretting their first missed chance in the space of minutes, as Inter eventually mounted a successful attack with the help of some luck.
Nicolò Barella‘s cross from the right was slightly flicked on by Benjamin Pavard‘s attempted bicycle kick, which was enough to send the ball in the path of Thuram and Gatti, with the latter inadvertently chesting into his own net.
Inter seal massive win despite wasteful second-half
Despite having fallen behind in the last stretch of the first half, Juventus initially seemed to lack the urgency required to put up a comeback.
Although always wary of leaving potential gaps, Inter kept piling pressure on the Bianconeri and created two more chances in the space of seconds through Dimarco‘s diagonal shot, almost met by Thuram, and Hakan Calhanoglu’s strike from outside the box which came off the outside of the post.
Nevertheless, there was still a sense that the Nerazzurri could have paid dearly for failing to capitalise on their opportunities and it was almost the case when Henrikh Mkhitaryan was forced to clear inches from the line a ball that Filip Kostic had sent across the face of the goal from the left.
The game now saw both sides going from end to end and Simone Inzaghi‘s men responded by incredibly wasting another massive opportunity with Thuram, but Vlahovic and Gatti gave the hosts two more scares with an overhead kick that flew over the bar and a thunderous shot from outside the box respectively.
Barella‘s volley on Dimarco‘s pinpoint cross was brilliantly denied by Wojciech Szczesny shortly after, but there was time for another huge thrill and subsequent disappointment for the Nerazzurri, as substitute Marko Arnautovic pounced on Denzel Dumfries‘ low cross only to shoot straight at the Juventus‘ goalkeeper from point-blank range.