MILAN - Sharing the joy with the fans, that’s what provokes the most feeling. If we can find one single negative aspect of this splendid night for the Nerazzurri, it would be that it happened without the fans in the stands. But we all know that when there is this much passion on show, distance counts for nothing, absence counts for nothing. We were all there, celebrating the two occasions in which Szczesny’s net bulged. We pulled together and caused our boys to fly on the pitch at San Siro as they dominated the game from start to finish. A 2-0 win over Juve, 40 points in the league and a first victory against the Bianconeri in four years, in spite of the numerous chances spurned. Vidal and Barella left the biggest marks on this victory, but the names of the entire squad are written all over these three points. Concentration, passion, solidity, technique, it was all there. We are victorious, and deservedly so!
You need to be on top of your game in these matches. Clear-sighted, aware, reactive. Tough. The Nerazzurri took the right approach to this game from the outset. They were up for it but rational, with the right game plan and the necessary grit. Alarm bells were ringing in the 11th minute for the Nerazzurri after Ronaldo put the ball in the back of the Inter goal, though the linesman’s flag was raised for offside against Chiesa. It was a small scare that spurred the Nerazzurri on with all of the rampant, dynamic energy of a team brimming with confidence. It was time for Inter to get forward and for Barella to show the early signs of a truly masterful performance. The Italian dynamo sprinted into the half-space on the right - where he would cause the away side issues throughout the 90 - and put his cross on a plate for Vidal. The Chilean arrived late into the box, beat Danilo in the air and headed Inter in front, 1-0. It was the goal that Inter were looking for, and the almost stereotypical goal for an ex-player, which opened the game up even more for the home side.
Chances came one after the other. These had two consequences; the first was to leave Juve totally at the mercy of the Nerazzurri. The Bianconeri had no answers to Inter’s rampant forward moves. On the other hand, these spurned chances were the source of much frustration in the first half because Inter could have been out of sight at the break. Vidal and Brozovic took their shots, then it was Lautaro who missed a couple of big chances to double Inter’s lead. In the 23rd minute, he fired over with his left foot after Szczesny had saved Lukaku’s shot, while he then hit the ball wide following more great work by the Belgian with 32 minutes on the clock. The opportunities kept on coming: Lukaku failed to properly connect with the ball from twelve yards out, allowing Szczesny to save. Shortly afterwards, Barella had a pop from the edge of the box, but the sting was taken out of it by a deflection, as a result of which the Bianconeri goalkeeper was able to smother. The teams headed into the break with Inter leading 1-0, but the Nerazzurri deserved to be further in front.
But while the scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection, Inter were putting in an excellent performance. And the attitude displayed by Conte’s men didn’t change after the restart either: the Nerazzurri continued to push forward and look for space against a Juve side that were persisting with the same men who started the game. Then, in the 52nd minute, Bastoni lit up San Siro with a magnificent ball that landed at the feet of Barella, who was racing towards the Bianconeri goal at lightning speed. It all happened in an instant: the control, the touch and the shot that hit the roof of the net. A magnificent goal to make it 2-0.
The away side looked to respond, making three substitutions in an attempt to get back into the match. But Inter remained organised, barely giving anything away. And while the Nerazzurri’s tempo had dropped slightly, they were managing the game in excellent fashion. Juve were trying to up the pace and put pressure on Inter, but it was Conte’s men who continued to have the bigger opportunities. Lukaku put in another monstrous performance, drawing the Juve defence in and creating space for his teammates. Lautaro, meanwhile, came close to striking the knockout blow following a run from midfield, but he curled his effort wide.
A night that belonged to the Nerazzurri wasn’t about to be ruined, with Samir Handanovic also making a contribution. With 87 minutes on the clock, the Inter captain produced a magnificent save, beating away Chiesa’s rasping strike as Juve looked to mount a siege on the Nerazzurri goal. The visitors were delivering ball after ball into the box, but the Inter players were dealing with everything that was thrown at them. Their determination to not give anything away was there for all to see. The Nerazzurri comfortably saw out five minutes of added time, even coming close to adding a third through Hakimi on the break.
It didn’t matter, however: the 2-0 victory, three points and the magnificent performance full of desire and unity were far more significant.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 2 Hakimi, 23 Barella, 77 Brozovic, 22 Vidal (5 Gagliardini 77'), 15 Young (36 Darmian 72'); 9 Lukaku, 10 Lautaro (7 Sanchez 86').
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 97 Radu, 11 Kolarov, 12 Sensi, 13 Ranocchia, 14 Perisic, 24 Eriksen, 99 Pinamonti.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
JUVENTUS (3-5-2): 1 Szczesny; 13 Danilo, 19 Bonucci, 3 Chiellini; 22 Chiesa, 25 Rabiot (14 McKennie 58'), 30 Bentancur, 8 Ramsey (44 Kulusevski 58'), 38 Frabotta (33 Bernardeschi 58'); 9 Morata, 7 Ronaldo.
Substitutes: 31 Pinsoglio, 42 Garofani, 77 Buffon, 5 Arthur, 8 Demiral, 36 Di Pardo, 37 Dragusin, 41 Fagioli, 56 F. Ranocchia.
Coach: Andrea Pirlo.
Linesmen: Carbone, Peretti.
Fourth Official: Maresca.
VAR Assistant: Alassio.