Juventus edged out Inter Milan on penalties in the first Derby d'Italia of the new season, giving Maurizio Sarri his first win as Juventus manager.
An early own-goal from record-signing Matthijs de Ligt gave the Nerazzurri an early lead, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s free-kick in the second-half forced the game into a penalty shootout.
Gianluigi Buffon emerged the hero by saving Andrea Ranocchia and Samuele Longo’s penalty, giving his side their first derby win over the arch-rivals to get three points on board in the International Champions Cup.
Story of the Match
The Bianconeri dominated much of the early possession, with Cristiano Ronaldo having a low shot saved by Samir Handanovic early on in the game. However, in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion, Inter took the lead when Stefano Sensi’s corner was flicked on by Roberto Gagliardini and put into his own net by De Ligt.
Juventus tried hard for the equalizer but struggled to break open the Inter defence with some sloppy final-balls. Antonio Conte’s men often stole the ball leading to multiple fast-breaks, but their own poor decision-making in the final third didn’t allow them to get the ball into the net.
Ivan Perisic hit the side netting, while Sensi’s shot was saved well by Wojciech Szczesny late into the first half. Federico Bernardeschi wiggled past multiple players and struck a powerful hit on added-time, but couldn’t find the equalizer.
Sarri made three changes in the second-half, bringing life to the Bianconeri’s attack. Ronaldo had another shot saved well by substitute goalkeeper Daniele Padelli after the break. Adrien Rabiot also had a thunderous attempt parried away well by the Italian later on.
However, Juventus finally found the equalizer in the 68th minute when Ronaldo’s free-kick took a deflection off the Inter wall and blazed into the net. The Portuguese sensation had the opportunity to win the game when Rabiot’s defence-splitting pass had him through on goal and despite going past Padelli, one-touch too many allowed Inter’s goalkeeper to rob the ball before he could put it into the net.
A flurry of substitutions followed with the intent to find a winner, but neither goalkeeper was beaten, resulting in these sides’ first derby to end in a stalemate.
Takeaways from the match
Matthijs de Ligt gets a reality check
Ever since sealing a €75 million move to Juventus earlier this month, all the eyes have been on teen sensation Matthijs de Ligt to prove his goods for the Old Lady. However, he didn’t really have the most eventful full debut in white and black, clumsily flicking the ball into his own net.
Even apart from that embarrassing own-goal, he didn’t look the emphatic leader he usually shows traits for being. De Ligt looked uneasy at various points, being susceptible aerially and being shaky against Inter’s mobile attack. Leonardo Bonucci had to bail him out at times and his nervy showing forced Sarri to substitute him after the first half.
Sarri-Ball is still a work in progress
Maurizio Sarri’s own style “Sarri-Ball” never really got clicking at Chelsea and by the looks of it, will take time to immerse into Juventus’ system as well. The Bianconeri were very sloppy in possession, often giving the ball away with stray passes and only recorded 47% possession the whole game.
Neither did Juventus beautifully work the ball into the box with a string of deft passes, but using their regular tactics of depending on electric individuals to create chances. While some midfielders looked comfortable with the ball, it’s still going to take some time for the Bianconeri to blend in as a whole unit into the sweet, passing-style Sarri wants to infuse into the side.
Antonio Conte needs strikers
After failing to impress against Manchester United, Inter Milan looked a much more dangerous side against arch-rivals Juventus. Rather than sitting back all day, they showcased fearlessness in intercepting possession and breaking in numbers to make things uncomfortable for the Italian champions. However, that final lethal finish was missing due to their lack of strikers. Ivan Perisic made a few decent runs forward, but never positioned himself in a prime goal-scoring position.
Sebastiano Esposito was isolated the whole time and the finishing touches just weren’t there. Antonio Conte desperately needs someone like Romelu Lukaku to finish off the chances for his plans to succeed. Maybe now the management will be forced to break Inter’s transfer record for the Belgian, who can compliment Conte’s system perfectly to laud in goals with his complete striker’s instincts.
Stefano Sensi was perhaps Inter’s brightest player on the night, acting as that lively spark in their midfield. The midfielder’s ability to steal possession and sprint forward in fast-breaks brought some electricity to their attack, as it was also his corner which set-up the goal and he almost set up Perisic late on with a delightful flick.
Federico Bernardeschi looks set to make this season his own, as his bombastic runs from the right caused nightmares for the Nerazzurri. The Italian got the fans off their seat with his crisp movement, while also linking up really well with Ronaldo. Bernardeschi also had a shot glaze just over the bar late in the first half and looked dangerous throughout the second period.
Ronaldo continued his impressive goal-scoring run with another fine finish, while Perisic’s bright performance could’ve won back Conte’s confidence in his ability.