For Juventus, there is no other choice than to win the remaining matches. Otherwise, Andrea Pirlo and Cristiano Ronaldo’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo will be doomed. Juve’s fans will never welcome them playing in the Europa League after losing the Italian Serie A title battle, so the match against Inter in Turin was a do-or-die situation.
Inter may have won the championship, but no sign of complacency was expected from the Nerazzurri, whose nine-year Scudetto run was ended by Antonio Conte, the man who started it all. Despite having little to play for, his team hasn’t let complacency set in, beating Sampdoria 5-1 last week and thrashing Roma 3-1 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Juventus’ Champions League hopes were on the line, with Andrea Pirlo’s side needing to win each of their final two games to have a chance of qualifying for Europe’s top competition, as they trail Napoli by one point and Milan by three.
A comfortable 3-1 victory over Sassuolo in midweek boosted the team’s morale, but it did nothing to improve their league position, as the Rossoneri, Atalanta, and Napoli all won.
Inter last won in Serie A away from home versus Juventus in November 2012.
Inter seemed at ease while in possession, passing the ball from left to right and front to back with ease.
Conte’s five-man midfield formation was not allowing Juve any breathing room, as the centre of the park was crammed with bodies.
Danilo’s cross was met at the back post by Chiesa, who nodded it across the face of goal as Juve attempted to exploit the flank. Kulusevski was on hand to guide the ball towards the target, but Inter was alert and managed to avoid it.
Cuadrado’s corner kick caused havoc inside the Inter penalty area, with Chiellini being brought down by Darmian. Juve demanded a penalty, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
After a fantastic diving save from Handanovic, Cristiano Ronaldo missed the penalty spot, but the forward did well to follow the rebound and tuck it home at the second attempt.
Lautaro Martinez went down inside the penalty area off the ball after ten minutes, and after a VAR analysis, it appeared that De Ligt hit Martinez’s heel, sending him to the ground.
From the penalty spot, Romelu Lukaku equalised.
During the first half’s stoppage time, Kulusevski’s attempted pullback for Ronaldo received a slight deflection, landing on the edge of the penalty area for the full-back, who raced onto it and smashed a shot into the roof of the net.
Inter trailed 2-1 at the end of the first half.
The game became a whirlwind in the second half.
Both teams competed with zeal in order to win.
Martinez was found inside the penalty area by Christien Eriksen after the break, and the striker was able to take a touch to set before curling a wicked effort into the far corner between two defenders. It was a fantastic hit, but the goal was narrowly missed.
Bentacur was sent off only a few minutes later, reducing Juventus to ten players!
Pirlo made a substitution immediately, looking to solidify his midfield.
The guy who had to make room for McKennie was Kulusevski.
Pirlo was in a 4-4-1 formation at the time.
Pirlo was trying to inject some fresh legs into his side as he was down to ten players with 20 minutes to go. Ronaldo was replaced by Morata, who was brought on as a replacement.
Such a decision at such a crucial point in the game was nothing more than a gamble.
Pirlo may have been able to make the decision because of Morata’s stamina and defensive qualities.
Another move that pointed at Juve’s defensive sector being solidified was the injection of Demiral and the substitution of Chiesa.
With each passing minute, the game’s colour changed, and the ball moved from right to left and left to right, as if it were a basketball game.
Lukaku was locked in a duel with Chiellini in the six-yard box, and Chiellini turned the ball underneath Szczesny and into his own net!
The referee immediately blew his whistle for a foul on the Inter striker, but after a VAR interference, it was determined that Lukaku was not pulling his opponent’s jersey, and the goal was upheld.
For arguing with the referee, Chiellini received a yellow card.
Juventus was awarded another penalty four minutes later.
The Bianconeri received the kick-off and immediately advanced up the pitch, down the right side.
Cuadrado enters the penalty area and shows off his fast feet before succumbing to a sloppy Perisic tackle.
It was Cuadrado’s third spot-kick of the game, and he hit it perfectly to give Juve the lead and three points.
The first half saw three yellow cards and two penalties, but the second half saw six yellow cards, two sending-offs, a Chiellini own goal allowed after VAR interference, and then the late winner from the penalty spot.
Juventus triumphed in a tense match in Turin.