The Day After Breakdown: Coppa Italia Semi-Final First Leg – Inter vs Juventus
Torino, February 3rd, 2021 – On Tuesday night against Inter, Juventus did not squander the opportunity to bounce back from their previous meeting. Since the new year, the Bianconeri seem to have hit their stride. Aside from the league loss to Inter mid-way through January, Juve have managed to win every game in their schedule this month.
Mister Pirlo continues to learn
In just his first season as a head coach, Andrea Pirlo has already shown a great deal of improvement, and seems to be learning, and getting even better with each passing game. Although many managerial decisions early on in the season had been attributed to ‘experimentation’ with tactics and players respectively, Mister Pirlo and Juventus have found continuity. Not only that, it is evident that Pirlo seems to have found his strongest starting XI – perhaps Pirlo's early season experiments have paid off.
The match last night was another stepping stone for Pirlo. Not only was it seen that he made adjustments based on the previous match against Inter, he also showed great intention of putting the team first by simply substituting Ronaldo. Given the congested schedule (not to mention, filled with important matches), Pirlo was absolutely right to substitute Ronaldo to ensure he doesn’t get injured for the upcoming match against Roma. Mister Pirlo is showing great promise, and it appears that he has confidence in himself. Our maestro seems to be on the right path.
Buffon and his sons
Leading the Bianconeri from the back against Inter was the centre-back pairing of Merih Demiral (22), Matthijs de Ligt (21), and behind them was our legend, Gianluigi Buffon (43). The fact that the combined age of our starting centre backs is Buffon’s age, absolutely blows my mind. 43 years old, and still performing at the highest level – not to mention his show stopping save on Matteo Darmian, who, surprisingly enough, did quite well to get himself in such a position. Not too fast there, Matteo – as we have our very own superhero between the posts. On multiple occasions throughout the match, Buffon could be heard through your speakers – yelling, directing, and encouraging his teammates. Grande Gigi.
Yet again, De Ligt’s presence adds such great value to this Juventus side. First to the ball on numerous occasions, Mat is an absolute nightmare for strikers. De Ligt's intelligence, positioning, and ability to cut out any threats worked very well in combination with the talents of our Turkish boy, Merih Demiral. Against Inter, Merih showed his importance to this team. While his stand-out moment was saving Juventus' game by blocking the shot on Alexis Sanchez on a wide open goal (which he seemed to not know much about, in all honesty), Demiral proved he can be reliable when called upon. The future is bright in Torino.
Cristiano Ronaldo doppietta
Ronaldo. Despite being quiet in the Coppa Italia tournament thus far, the beast inside Cristiano was surely stirred yesterday evening. Cristiano begun his double with a penalty kick, which was blastied past Samir Handanović in vintage fashion. Just ten minutes later, Ronaldo doubled down with a second goal, coming as a result of intelligently applying pressure Inter’s Alessandro Bastoni. There seemed to be miscommunication of sorts between the young Italian and Handanović – a situation that was swiftly taken advantage of by Ronaldo, who did very well to slot his second goal home from a difficult angle.
There are many things that are inevitable in life – one of those being, a Cristiano goal.