The excitement from qualifying for the UCL quarterfinals didn’t last long. Just four days after the Nerazzurri survived a Porto siege, Inter reminded us all of what a flawed side this is from the top to the bottom. Simone Inzaghi’s men barely showed up for the second Derby D’Italia of the season, completely disappearing for good after Flilip Kostic’s 23rd minute.
In fact, the most (and any) fight and emotion anyone on Inter showed all night came after the final whistle in a scuffle with Juve’s Leandro Paredes. Other than that one flare up, it was hard to discern whether Inter even cared about avoiding a 9th (!) loss of the season. It was that kind of game and it’s been that type of season.
Inzaghi made 3 changes from Porto, bringing in Marcelo Brozovic, Stefan de Vrij, and Romelu Lukaku. Alessandro Bastoni and Milan Skriniar were not even fit for the bench, so Acerbi, de Vrij, and Darmian formed a makeshift backline. Juve lined up in a 3-5-2 with Dusan Vlahovic and 19-year-old Matias Soule leading the line.
Inter began proceedings with heavy possession and created its best chance of not only the half, but as we would, unfortunately, discover later on, the game in its entirety, in the 18th minute. Nicolo Barella and Lukaku played a slick one-two that infiltrated the former in behind Juve’s backline, but he could only volley right at Wojciech Szczęsny’s chest as the chance fizzled out. That proved to be a costly miss as Juve would find the opener only five minutes later through Kostic after some shabby defense by Darmian and Dumfries. The Serbian sent a low blast into the far post from the top corner of the box, leaving Andre Onana completely frozen and in no man’s land at the near post. The ball sureeeee seemed to hit Adrien Rabiot’s arm in the build-up, but despite a lengthy VAR review, the goal stodd.
After a VAR check, Filip Kostić's goal stands!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) March 19, 2023
Juventus strike first in the Derby d'Italia. pic.twitter.com/hmdhNNGNE0
Inter managed just one shot the rest of the half, ending the first 45 with 69% of possession and 5 efforts, 2 on target, versus Juve’s 2 total shots and just one on target.
The Nerazzurri remained out of ideas and lacking intensity after the interval. Juve was far from adventurous before Kostic’s goal, but now Allegri’s side had no intentions whatsoever of attacking. Inter reverted to constant crossing (36 in total by the time all was said in done) and shockingly, it did not work. Of Inter’s 18 shots and dominant possession numbers, just 3 were on target - the same tally as Juve’s, except the Bianconeri did so with just 7 total and 30% of possession. Game, set, and match.
Onana - 5.5: Did not cover himself in glory on Juve’s goal. Yes, his view was blocked by Dumfries and Darmian, but it felt like Handanovic was back in goal watching Kostic’s shot fly into a completely empty far post. Only made 2 saves the rest of the night.
Acerbi - 6.5: Didn’t have much to do defensively, but was a constant in Inter’s possession play. Acerbi managed the 3rd most touches on Inter (95), a 93% passing rate, and 8 accurate long balls.
de Vrij - 6: Fared very similarly to Acerbi minus the on-the-ball action - de Vrij totaled 66 touches for context.
Darmian - 5: Was far too slow to close down Kostic on the goal, and never got much of a chance to right his wrong thanks to Juve’s attacking embargo.
Dimarco - 5.5: Not much of anything from Dimarco on either side of the ball, somewhat surprisingly given how Inter’s crossing palooza played right into his game.
Calhanoglu - 5: Really struggled on the left of Inter’s midfield three, with Brozovic starting in his usual role. Led the team with 26 giveaways and completed just 1 cross despite tallying 12 attempts.
Brozovic - 6.5: An improved showing from Brozovic compared to recent weeks. Led Inter in touches (103), won 5 duels, had 2 key passes, and went 5/5 on long balls.
Barella - 6: Had that one early chance but that was it, as his impact faded as the game wore on before an early exit on the hour mark. He did manage 4 key passes but this was far from a vintage Barella performance.
Dumfries - 5: Was covering no man’s land on Kostic’s goal and inadvertently blocked Onana’s sightline. Things didn’t get much better from there as he again struggled mightily with any sort of end product, managing just one cross attempt and 15 giveaways.
Lautaro - 5: Channeled his inner Mr. Invisible, ending the night with a sole shot and only 34 touches.
Lukaku - 5: Fared almost identical to his strike partner, with just 1 shot, 1 key pass, and even fewer touches.
Inzaghi - 5.5: Didn’t have much of a choice with the backline with so many injuries and it made sense to rotate the veteran duo of Mkhitaryan and Dzeko. His inability to change anything in-game was glaring, however, as it turns out spamming the cross button does not, in fact, lead to scoring goals.
Inter falls to 3rd on 50 points after Lazio’s (52 pts) win vs Roma (47 pts), while Milan lurks behind on 48. Next up is the international break before a home clash against Fiorentina on April 1st to begin a month of 9 games in 30 days, including the Coppa Italia semifinal against Juve and the Champions League quarterfinal vs Benfica.