Once again Inter turned to the Coppa Italia as a respite from Serie A action. Mancini and his men traveled to Turin in order to take on heated rivals Juventus in the first leg semifinal hoping that once again the cup could provide some smiles after more dropped points in the league. The home side came into the match in incredible form though and were more than confident that they could pile more misery on the Nerazzurri in their own efforts to retain the Coppa Italia.
Mancini opted to use the 433 formation in this game. Handanovic stayed in goal and was protected by D'Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, and Nagatomo. The midfield three was a physical combination of Melo, Medel, and Kondogbia, while the front three comprised of Biabiany, Jovetic, and Ljajic.
The game started in a fashion expected of a rival matchup, a lot of clashes on and off the ball and play constantly being broken up due to fouls. The first real controversy of the match occurred in the 14th minute when a Cuadrado free kick hit Medel's arm. It was a pretty clear penalty but somehow the referee did not call it. Inter began to get more possession in the match but were unable to do anything with it. In what has become typical in the last few matches the midfielders were unable to really push forward and link up with the forwards. The problem was made worse since Jovetic dropping deep left nobody in the box to aim crosses at so Neto did not have to make any noteworthy saves in the first half.
Inter were lucky to get off without punishment for the Medel handball but they were penalized in the 35th minute. Cuadrado managed to get into the box and was brought down by Murillo before he could shoot. The defender received a yellow card for his troubles and had to watch Morata slam the penalty into the top corner to give the home side the lead. The only other important thing that happened before the break was that Miranda picked up a yellow card which meant he will be unavailable for the second leg of the tie.
The second half saw Juve start out looking to extend their lead putting some serious pressure on the Inter goal. Inter managing to survive the initial assaults and get back into the sterile possession routine, but Morata soon managed to get his second goal of the night. Evra got a cross in and the ball hit Melo and fell right to the Spaniard who spun and placed his shot into the corner of the net again. Inter tried to hit back as soon as possible but Neto was equal to D'Ambrosio's header from a Ljajic free kick.
The night would get worse for the Nerazzurri and their fans. In the 70th minute Cuadrado intercepted a pass meant for Nagatomo and tore down the field. The Japanese international couldn't stop him, Medel couldn't stop him, and eventually Murillo had to take him down earning a second yellow and leaving Inter with 10 men (and with both key centerbacks out for the second leg). At this point there was really no way back for the away side in the match, and even though Mancini eventually sent on chief Juve-tormentor Icardi, there would be no joy for the Argentine striker today. Instead it was another young Argentine striker who would kill off the match; Dybala hit a first-time strike from just outside the box that went through Handanovic's legs to all but secure Juve's spot in the Coppa Italia final.
Inter have started 2016 awfully. In the six matches played since that loss to Lazio Mancini's men have only won two of six matches in all competitions and have seen two possible trophies all but disappear from the realm of possibility. The previously rock solid defense has been less than stellar (conceding six in six matches), the midfield has been disjointed, and the attackers look like they've never seen each other before in their lives. Something needs to change and fast if the objective set at the start of the season will be met. Up next is the Derby Della Madonnina and Inter needs to bounce back from this loss in the best possible fashion.