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Juventus 2-4 Inter: Match Recap

Inter rally from 2-1 down in an all time classic final

Juventus v FC Internazionale - Coppa Italia Final Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images

Four matches against Juventus in a season. It feels like deja-vu all over again. In a sense, it was. Winning 4-2 on a comeback over Empoli on the weekend while taking a dramatic late victory over Juventus in the Supercoppa Italiana earlier in the season combined in this match to give Interisti a reason to have a heart attack, blink twice, then celebrate a second trophy on the season.

Starting XIs

As expected in a final, both teams came out with full firepower on display. Max Allegri, chasing the record for most Coppa Italia final wins, started with Paulo Dybala and Dusan Vlahovic up top in his 4-4-2, referred to as a 4-2-3-1 by some outlets. Giorgio Chiellini and Matthijs de Ligt started together at the heart of thee Juventus defense while Mattia Perin curiously continued his run as starting goalkeeper in the Coppa for the nominal hosts in this match.

The infamous duo of Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez started in attack for Inter, while every other position on the pitch virtually picked itself, the exceptions being Matteo Darmian starting over Denzel Dumfries on the right and Danilo D’Ambrosio starting over Alessandro Bastoni as he continues to recover from some fitness issues.

JUVENTUS (4-2-3-1): Perin; Danilo, de Ligt, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Zakaria, Rabiot; Cuadrado, Dybala, Bernardeschi; Vlahovic.

INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, de Vrij, Skriniar; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Dzeko, Lautaro.

First Half

In the perfect start for Inter, Nicolo Barella threw down the gauntlet to Juventus with a sixth minute goal from long range. Cruising along the edge of the Juventus penalty box, the opposition anticipated that Barella would look for a pass to an onrushing striker or wingback. Because of this, their defense dropped back, making space for the Italian midfielder to curl one past Perin, who had no chance at his far post. Inter were off to a storybook start.

Immediately after the goal, Juventus looked shocked, sticking to their initial game plan of sitting back and being too compact for Inter to play through. Inter threatened to add a second, but Juventus began to respond and move higher up the pitch to press Inter in their own half. They found success in this approach, with Samir Handanovic having to make a great save on Vlahovic. Seeing something in the match, Allegri took off Danilo for another attacker, adding Alvaro Morata up top with five minutes left in the half. With their suffocating press, Juventus threatened, but inter went into the half a goal up.

Second Half

Whatever it was that Allegri saw in the match with his inclusion of Morata over Danilo, it worked to great effect in the early portions of the half. A deflection of an Alex Sandro shot by Morata seaked in off of the body of Handanovic before a Vlahovic fast break beat D’Ambrosio and Handanovic after the Serbian striker’s first attempt was lasered into the Inter keeper’s face added insult to injury to put Juventus 2-1 up in just a matter of minutes.

The Bianconeri bench streamed to the Juventino end of the stadium and Vlahovic held up the back of his shirt as if he had just won a Ballon d’Or while Inter looked shell shocked. The final had just been turned on its head in the most shocking 120 seconds possible.

Inter recovered minutes later and began to tilt the pitch towards the Juventus goal. Much like the latter portions of the Empoli match, shots began to rain in while the ball spent more and more time in the Juventus penalty box. This pressure paid off when de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci came together to foul Lautaro in the box, handing Inter the lifeline they were so desperate for.

Hakan Calhanoglu stepped up for the ensuing penalty and buried it in what could be debated as textbook-prefect fashion into the top right corner. Inter were back in the match against a Juventus side that had made subs strategically to protect a 2-1 lead.

With Juventus dropping back at 2-1, they had little firepower to go for a win in regular time, managing not a single shot for some 30 minutes to end the half. Inter looked to be in the ascendancy, they just had to find the winner in extra time before a dreaded penalty shootout.

Extra Time

For a second time this season, Inter and Juventus made their way out for extra time in a cup final. Inter, with the more attacking approach, instantly tilted the pitch their way. It was only a matter of time before de Ligt gave his second penalty away, fouling fellow Dutchman Stefan de Vrij in the box after another Dutchman, Dumfries, knocked a Perisic cross down with a header. The play went to VAR before being given as a penalty.

With Calhanoglu taken off in the second half for Arturo Vidal, penalty duties fell to Ivan Perisic, who mirrored the Turkish midfielder’s earlier penalty with a perfect strike into the top left corner. Inter had the breakthrough, but on 99 minutes, still had to make it a full 120.

After capitulating a one goal lead earlier in the match, Perisic then made sure it was done and dusted with a majestic strike from distance to push Inter to a 4-2 lead, securing the Coppa Italia after a second massive roller coaster in as many matches and a second against Juventus in a cup final this season.

Perisic’s second extra time goal killed anything left in the match, and the two teams essentially just hoofed the ball from one end of the pitch to the other for the remaining 19 minutes. After 120 intense minutes, Inter had managed to take another piece of silverware away from Juventus, leaving them trophyless for the first time since 2011.

Juventus v FC Internazionale - Coppa Italia Final Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Player Ratings

Handanovic - 6.5: Started great with the save on Vlahovic, lost his head early in the second half, then regained it as Inter put the pressure all on the Juventus end of the pitch. He has now lifted all three major trophies in Italy as Inter’s captain. Not bad after all he’s been through at the club.

Skriniar - 7: Forced to start out of his normal position to accommodate for D’Ambrosio. Looked uncomfortable but serviceable before being moved to the right. Did great there.

de Vrij - 7: Looked up for this match in a way that he has not looked all season. Did a great job on Vlahovic for the majority of the match.

D’Ambrosio - 6: Started well, got sat down on Juve’s second, then subbed off for Dimarco as Inter chased. Not his best. All’s well that ends well though, right?

Perisic - 10 (MOTM): In the biggest individual cup final performance since Diego Milito in 2010, Perisic delivered the biggest brace of his career to guide Inter home. Definitively cemented his legendary status at the club.

Calhanoglu- 6.5: Was off the pace of the match from the start, but did what all good players do and managed to do the best he could without having his best stuff to give. Added to his Inter lore with that perfect penalty. What a story.

Brozovic - 6.5: Had to deal with the pressure of Denis Zakaria, but able to impose his composure on the Inter team. Vital to buildup as always.

Barella - 7: This was what Barella looked like when he has been at his best in the previous two seasons. Scored a great goal and never let play pass him by as he has in other situations this season.

Darmian - 6.5: Steady but not standout. There was a clear change of pace when he exited the match for Dumfiries.

Dzeko - 5: Who bought a lamp post to a cup final? Looked clunky the entire match and never managed to influence the attack.

Lautaro - 6: Marginally better than Dzeko. Got on the ball to move Inter forward but struggled when he needed support from his strike partner. Earned an all important penalty and added to his very successful past year for club and country.

Substitutes

Correa - 6: May be the only striker that actively avoids scoring. It’s an exaggeration, but he does manage to do everything right until he crosses into the opposition penalty area. Still more of a positive presence than Dzeko in this match, though.

Dumfries - 6.5: Added the pace Inter needed when chasing a goal. Also used his areal prowess to help draw a penalty. Very positive.

Vidal - 6.5: Thrown on to give Inter a tough and experienced midfield presence. He managed to do what was asked. Nothing special, but still important.

Alexis - 6: Did the least of the substitutes, but still helped bring the match to a close in a positive way.

Bastoni - N/A

Inzaghi - 7.5: There are very few people on Earth that know why he still starts Dzeko with Lautaro, but the rest of the team picked up that slack in the first half. The knives were drawn and ready for him in the second half when Juventus snatched the lead, but his substitution timing and selection helped turn the tides. Is he the anti-Juve? He very well may be.

Celebrate this, y’all. Drink it in. It really is a grind to follow this team, and every Interista deserves to enjoy some positivity for once. Ride the satisfaction of defeating Juventus in such a fashion for a third time this season. We will all convene on Sunday when Inter travel to Cagliari in Serie A. Until then, have some fun.

Forza Inter!