No Massimiliano Allegri team is known for being pleasing to the eye, and not even the huge stakes of a Derby d’Italia between number 1 and 2 in the standings could prompt Juventus to change their ways. Inter didn’t do much to create a goal fest either, understandably happy with a point after Lautaro equalized towards the tail end of the first half to cancel out a Dusan Vlahovic opener in a 1-1 draw. By the time a second half with just one shot in all 45 minutes mercifully came to a close, the highlight of the game was a very pumped-up cameo from Juan Cuadrado amidst constant boos from the Allianz Stadium (one of the rare times Juve fans made their presence known), while neither team managed over 1.00 expected goals - 0.49xg for Juve and 0.85xg Inter. As those numbers might suggest, Inter did have a bit more of an impact in the final third with 8 shots (4 on target) from 66% possession compared to Juve’s 4 (1 on target), but at the end of the day, it was far from a footballing masterpiece from either side.
Simone Inzaghi was without three players at his disposal - Benjamin Pavard, Alessandro Bastoni, and Alexis Sanchez, so Stefan de Vrij and Matteo Darmian were called into the backline, while Francesco Acerbi slotted over to the left. Juventus, meanwhile, gave a first start of the season to youngster Hans Nicolussi Caviglia amidst a midfielder shortage while Federico Chiesa and Dusan Vlahovic led the charge up front in a mirror image of Inter’s 3-5-2.
As expected, it was a tense game from the word go. Inter had more possession but there was no shortage of final third action at both ends. Juve had the best look on goal of the opening stages early on in the 15th minute when a loose ball fell to Chiesa at the top of the box but the Italian missed the up corner by a narrow margin. Inter, on the other hand, had chances via a Lautaro header directly at Szczesny’s goal and a just wide long-range Hakan Calhanoglu effort, but those misses proved costly in the 27th minute. Dumfries committed an unprompted and inexplicable giveaway in midfield which sparked a Juve counter that ended with Vlahovic burying a Chiesa cut back from the center of the box.
Federico Chiesa ➡️ Dušan Vlahović— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 26, 2023
Juve's dynamic duo combine for the opener in Turin! pic.twitter.com/CWdkq4nZbt
The Nerazzurri weren’t deflated, however, and found an equalizer in the 33rd minute on a beautiful counter. The ball went from Sommer’s goal to Lautaro in just nine touches, with the Argentine capping off the team play with a lethal finish off Thuram’s cross.
Serie A's top scorer is at it again!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) November 26, 2023
Lautaro Martinez strikes in the Derby d'Italia. ⚫ pic.twitter.com/psv3NbAJVf
That was that for the first half, which ended deservedly level. Inter held more possession (66%) and out-shot Juve seven (3 on target) to 4 (1), but paid the price for Dumfries’ error, though it did do well to rebound immediately.
As for the second half, well, it certainly happened. What didn’t happen was any sort of push for a lead from either team. In fact, Thuram’s 50th-minute shot right at Szczesny was the last attempt on goal of the night, and outside of a few rough tackles and scruffles (mostly prompted by Cuadrado’s return to Turin and some satisfyingly rough greetings to his old teammates), there was little to write home about and the final whistle was merely confirmation of a result we had all known for some time.
Sommer - 6: Couldn’t do much on Vlahovic’s goal and wasn’t tested again, though he did quite well in possession with a 96% passing rate and 4/6 accurate long balls.
Acerbi - 6.5: Became the center of Inter’s possession for some reason, leading the team with a quite high touch total of 138 and 122 passes (94% accuracy), including 5 accurate long balls (also a team-high).
de Vrij - 6.5: Rock-solid at the back, tallying the second-most touches on Inter (110), going 101/103 on passes, including 3 accurate long balls, and making 3 clearances and 2 interceptions defensively.
Darmian - 6.5: Filled in admirably for Pavard, barely missing a beat with a 97% passing accuracy, 4 successful long balls, and 1 key pass.
Dimarco - 6: Not his best outing, losing possession 12 times and 6/10 duels, but made up for it with 2 key passes and 3 accurate long balls.
Mkhitaryan - 6.5: Had a few moments of quality standout from the monotonous nature of the game, completing 2 key passes, winning 3 duels, and making 2 interceptions.
Calhanoglu - 6: Had over 100 touches (105 to be exact) but didn’t do much with them, forced into the simple move more often than not, registering 0 key passes and 2 accurate long balls.
Barella - 6: Barely made a dent in the game, ending the night with a mediocre 82% passing rate, 0 key passes, 3 accurate long balls, and 3/6 duels won. Decidedly meh.
Dumfries - 5: Held the majority of the blame for the first goal with a disastrous chest control and then failing to track back and cover Vlahovic. Did manage one key pass but overall it was a night to forget for Dumfries.
Lautaro - 7.5: Continues to show a new level to his game this season with his first-ever open-play goal at the Allianz Stadium, made possible thanks to some stellar movement to throw off Rugani and an even cleaner finish.
Thuram - 6.5: His strike partnership with Lautaro has further blossomed, as seen as their perfect linkup on the goal, but the remainder of Thuram’s evening featured more battling than final third action with more duels won (3) than shots (2).
Inzaghi - 6: Had his hands tied with so many injuries to the backline but Acerbi, de Vrij, and Darmian did quite well to mask the absences of Bastoni and Pavard. Inzaghi’s subs were also solid, and though none of them managed to wake the game up, they all offered fresh legs in key spots.
Inter’s two-point lead atop Serie A remains intact thanks to a gutsy performance and comeback, although it will be heavily tested again next Sunday with a visit to Napoli. First, though, the Nerazzurri visit Benfica in a largely meaningless Champions League outing with qualification to the next round already locked up and first place to be decided on Matchday 6 against Sociedad. Rotating against Benfica to make sure the work that went into coming back and getting a result in Turin doesn’t go to waste next weekend should be the week’s plan.