When a last ditch effort by Burdisso on Del Piero in the 9th minute earned him a red card, I sunk in my chair. (As I was following it on inter.it via their "match centre. And if you want to know, yes, it did suck.) The Bianconeri barrage had begun. For a majority of the first half, Juventus tested Toldo with corner and free kicks. However, the 36 year-old held his own between the pipes. Juve's best chance came on a Iaquinta free kick, but Toldo made a terrific diving save. Despite Juve's offensive dominance in the first half, they had nothing to show for it and went into the locker room in a 0-0 deadlock.
The second half didn't belong to Juventus or Inter, it belonged to Vitor Hugo Gomes Passos (His nickname is Pele. That name would be a bitch for the person who puts the names on the backs of the jerseys. Damn.) Time and time again, he showed sparks of brilliance and the San Siro erupted. Then in the 8th minute, his perfectly placed pass (actually more of a chip) found Cruz's head, and he put it in the back of the old onion bag. Pele continued to dazzle, as Inter's play continued to get better, even with a man down.
Inter seemed to seal the win when a perfectly placed cross by César Aparecido Rodrigues (again, I feel very bad for the shirt man) found Cruz, who poked it home in the 29th minute for a 2-0 Nerazzuri lead. (FYI- That was Cruz's 14th goal of the season and 67th in 154 appearances for Inter.) However, this is the Derby d' Italia, so we needed some drama.
In the 34th minute the Juve surge began. A Trezeguet cross was volleyed in beautifully by Del Piero. Then disaster struck on a Palladino corner, as Boumsong towered over the Nerazzuri defense and planted one into the top corner of the net. Then in the final moments of the game Cruz's late bid for a hat trick grazed the upright.
Julio Ricardo Cruz (54)
Julio Ricardo Cruz (74)
Alessandro Del Piero (79)
Jean Alain Boumsong (85)
Julio Ricardo Cruz(54)(Y)
Javier Zanetti for Santiago Solari(57)
Esteban Cambiasso for Hernán Crespo(68)
Patrick Vieirafor Marco Materazzi(85)
David Trezeguet for Marco Marchionni(52)
Jean Alain Boumsong for Alessandro Birindelli(68)
We had the game right in our hands, but we let it slip away. It would of been great to get a win with a man down for most of the match. Maybe it was fatigue, or just loss of focus, but we let this one get away. I'm not saying it's a terrible result, I did predict a tie, but we should of won.
As predicted Inter came out with a "mixed" lineup of youngsters and the usuals. However I feel Mancini put out a bit of a weak midfield, with Solari, Maniche, Pelé, and Cesar lined up against Marchionni, Nocerino, C.Zanetti, and Palladino.
Cruz's continued terrific form is certainly a positive. With Ibra getting back on the score sheet the past few games, these two can be very deadly when their both "on". I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to see Balotelli, but Pele made up for that. He showed terrific poise in a relatively big match, and the San Siro loved him.
So, overall it wasn't a terrible performance, but it could of been better. Not being able to close out the game sort of scares me, especially with some big Champions League games coming up. Juventus now has the slight advantage, as the Nerazzuri will have to win in Turin. (Sorry about that. What can I say? I have flow.)
Since most people didn't get to see them, here are the goals.