That was one of the most chaotic and worst refereed games that I have ever seen, period. In a must-win game for Juve, fans were treated to a nailbiting finish and we live to fight another day. An interesting lineup selection, to begin with, gave Juventini much to question from their manager as Kulusevski started instead of Dybala/Morata. The players provided a lot, much effort and grit, in reality, a completely different performance to what we have become accustomed to. A win against the dreaded rival always gives much to cheer for and if we qualify for the Champions League, this game will be a big reason why. Why have we not seen this type of performance from this team earlier? They have it within them to pull it off. Juve came out hungry and despite the awful refereeing, are the deserved victors.
This was a different Juve, a big game delivered a team fit for the occasion. Yes, it was not pretty, but Juve’s positioning, tactics allowed the team to control the game until basically the red card. Juve created several chances early on that could have allowed them to score right at the start. Multiple chances created have not been a given this season given this season’s dismal play. Much of this was due to a high press that Juve put on Inter from the start, it started to fade after the 10th minute, but nevertheless, it allowed them to keep Inter on their heels. Juve pushed high and intensely, it almost felt like goals were almost unavoidable. This allowed for the penalty occasion to occur. The subsequent reaction to going up 1-0 up didn't really change much how the team played. Despite Inter tying the game rather quickly, Juve was clearly far superior in the first half. This meant going 2-1 up at half. This leads to one of my main takeaways, this team despite what we have seen from the player’s play and Pirlo’s coaching do have the ability to show up for a big occasion. We saw it today and we wish we would have seen it earlier this season. Yes, Inter were simply playing spoiler, but Juve came out like their life depended on the circumstances of this game, which it does. The team also did well to adjust following Bentancour’s red card. Mckennie and eventually Demiral came in and the team adjusted its shape to the situation. The second half was mostly about holding on, but players like De Ligt, Chiellini, and Cuadrado did what was necessary.
We must also speak about the most involved player in today's game, shockingly it was not for either team. The refereeing today was extremely involved in the result and was truly abysmal. In the end, though, I truly believe if I can say that the referee’s decisions actually canceled out. The basic point I am trying to make is that he was truly awful for both teams. Juve’s penalty was very 50/50 in my honest opinion, then we get a penalty on Lautaro that had to go to VAR, Bentancour was completely unjustly red carded and then Cuadrado gets in a tangle at the end for the winner. So many calls, so many bizarre things going on and I am not even getting into some of the extracurricular activities between Lautaro and De Ligt for example. Today was not a good showing for the FIGC, the refereeing in a big game should and must be better than what we saw.
Today’s game also allowed us to see a De Ligt and Cuadrado show. Cuadrado scoring on Inter time and time again will simply never get old. Yes, the ball takes a bit of a deflection but had the stands at the Allianz Stadium been full, the stadium would have erupted at the sight of a power shot from outside the box. Cuadrado was brilliant today, he was constantly causing havoc on the Inter fullbacks, was allowed to showcase his skill moves on many occasions, and obviously provided two important goals for this key victory. His defensive positioning was also great in the second half as Juve hunkered down with 10 men. His run at the end allowed the creation for the penalty chance which proved to be the deciding factor. Also at his finest today was De Ligt, although a bit of a topsy turvy first half especially in tripping up Lautaro for Inter’s penalty, De Ligt literally put his body on the line for this victory. He was constantly blocking every shot, cross, pass that came into the area all the way until the final whistle. Another simply underrated performance from him, coming out the victor in a tough battle against Lukaku and Lautaro. A lot of the attackers were relatively quiet today, but in reality, it was more of a defensive performance today. Heck, even Adrien Rabiot had a decent game, in my opinion, he had notable interceptions and clearances throughout the game. It was a return to basics of sorts for many of the players, once the red card happened everyone knew they had to hold on to the lead. This shifted quickly when Inter tied, but again the penalty that Cuadrado caused happened because Juve adapted well to every situation in this game. A tie was no good, even with 10 men it was worth it to go all-out attack to win.
In the end, an adaptive Juve adapted to every necessary situation the game required of them. Yes, we learned that the referee was way too involved in today’s outcome, but Juve also positively reacted to these adversities, scoring the penalty opportunities and knowing to shift to a compact defensive makeshift formation when going a man down. Juve for once won as a team and depended less on the individualities as seen in recent weeks. Here’s to hoping Fiorentina do us a favor vs Napoli.