After a Champions League loss that did not mean too much in the grand scheme of things, Inter had a chance to make a needed statement in Serie A against hated rivals Juventus in Turin. Despite a first half full of chances for the Nerazzurri, they ultimately fell flat when it mattered for another league loss when Simone Inzaghi’s side cannot afford to drop many more points in what may now be a race simply for the top four.
Juventus have a laundry list of injuries on the season but returned Federico Chiesa to the bench and Bremer to the back line. Mex Allegri matched Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 with a 3-5-1-1, a formation that gets the best out of Bremer and allowed Fabio Miretti to cause problems in the midfield as a support striker. A typical Allegri ploy to nullify Inter, and one that worked perfectly for the maligned manager.
Inzaghi chose what was as close to his strongest lineup as possible. Alessandro Bastoni started on the bench due to an illness over the week but Marcelo Brozovic returned to the bench. Romelu Lukaku continues to be a non-factor as he cannot stay healthy to save his life. The Belgian did not even make the bench.
JUVENTUS (3-5-1-1): Szczesny; Danilo, Bremer, Sandro; Cuadrado, Fagioli, Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Miretti; Milik.
INTER (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, de Vrij, Acerbi; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Dzeko, Lautaro.
Inter spent the first half creating all kinds of chances. However, the control Inter had of the match and the chances created resulted in little. The visitors managed seven shots in the opening half of the match, but only two of them hit the target.
The best chance of the half perhaps came just four minutes from the halftime interval through Denzel Dumfries, who poked the ball over the crossbar after a great passage of play. Inter’s buildup was immaculate, but their finishing let them down as it did much of last season. Besides the missed chances, the first half offered little to write home about but seemed to indicate Inter had a grip on the match.
For all the good work done by Inter in the first half, it all came to nothing when Adrien Rabiot poked home the first goal of the match seven minutes into the second stanza. A break from Filip Kostic allowed the Serbian wingback to provide a good ball that Rabiot poked home from an awkward angle.
The goal seemed to deflate Inter, who did not threaten any in the second half. Danilo nearly doubles the lead five minutes later from a corner, but the goal was disallowed for a handball as the Juventus defender deflected his attempt with his hand before it careened past Andre Onana.
Not the be denied a second assist on the match, Kostic provided another for Nicolo Fagioli six minutes from full time for a goal that completely sank Inter after a lifeless second half. The urgency of the first half completely disappeared as Inter worryingly cannot seem to beat anyone in the top seven of Serie A and have their work cut out for themselves in their final matches before the World Cup break.
Onana - 6: Made a couple of respectable saves, including one on a great shot from Kostic, but has let in a fair share of goals as Inter’s primary goalkeeper. Many are not his fault, but it is something that is becoming concerning.
Skriniar - 5.5: Undone by Rabiot and Kostic. Not his best night. The team also seemed rudderless in leadership, which comes down to the captain more often than not.
de Vrij - 6: Held his own against Arkadiusz Milik, but was still part of a backline that gave up multiple goals in somewhat simple fashion.
Acerbi - 6: Standing in for Bastoni, but definitely not him. Doing his best though. His best position is at the center of the back three.
Dumfries - 5: Lost hope in himself after the miss in the first half. Struggled to impose himself in any way on the match.
Barella - 5.5: Lost his man on the counter that led to the first Juventus goal. Did not show up much beyond that.
Calhanoglu - 6: Tried to keep things moving in the heart of the pitch, but his teammates could not find their usual quality. Inter’s best player on the night.
Mkhitaryan - 5.5: Seemed overpowered by the Juventus overload in midfield. Not able to make a mark.
Dimarco - 6: Played some good balls in the first half, but fell off a cliff like everyone else in the second.
Dzeko - 5: Clunky. He needs a rest but with his teammates letting him down in the fitness department, he is stuck grinding through every minute of every match at an age where he should most definitely not be.
Lautaro - 4: When he’s great, he’s great. When he’s not, the entire team suffers. Missed his chances and seemed to be unable to control the ball at any moment.
Correa - 6: Created a chance when he came on but nothing came of it. Not a terrible cameo.
Gosens - 5: Did very little but have the ball deflect off of himself for the second goal. Such a shame to see him wasted in this way. Maybe a move to Germany would be best for all parties involved.
Brozovic/Darmian/Bellanova - N/A
Inzaghi - 5.5: The finishing quality of his players let him down, but his hesitancy to do anything to affect the match before it is too late came back to plague him again after he seemed to be over it. Continues to lose big Serie A clashes. In the plainest terms possible, he needs to grow a pair when it matters.
With two matches left before the World Cup leads us into 2023, Inter need all six points to prime themselves for a redemption run in the second phase of the season. First up will be Bologna at home. Inter have a chance to exorcise some demons from the Radu debacle last season. A win on Wednesday would be a great tonic to this season’s Serie A woes. Plus, this team seems to like to win on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so maybe that can be a good omen.