Twenty-two days after Romelu Lukaku’s decisive 95th-minute penalty equalizer and all of the drama that ensued, the second act of the Coppa Italia Derby d’Italia has arrived. The aggregate scoreline is level at one a-piece and with the abolishment of the away goals rule, there must be a winner on the night.
Juventus and Inter have fared quite similarly since leg one, albeit with the former receiving a 15-point boost in the standings after its point deduction appeal was successful. Though the Bianconeri edged Portuguese side Sporting CP 2-1 on aggregate, it has lost three straight in Serie A to Lazio, Sassuolo, and Napoli. Juventus is still 3rd on 59 points, but it’s only three points ahead of 5th place Milan and 5 clear of Inter. It hasn’t scored multiple goals in one game since a 2-0 victory over Freiburg on March 16th, tallying 6 goals in the proceeding 8 games, including back-to-back zeros in the last two Serie A games. Of course, this being a Massimiliano Allegri team, Juve has conceded just 6 in the same time frame and is about as fun to watch as, well, you know, Juventus.
Inter is (somehow) still in the running for all three competitions it began the season in, but Juve won’t make that an easy streak to keep alive. The possible revival of a Lukaku-Lautaro partnership is a positive sign, especially as the Belgian’s suspension from his red card in the first leg for “excessive celebration” (or in other words, getting racially abused) was finally lifted and he’ll be available for selection Wednesday. That’s not the case for Samir Handanovic and Juan Cuadrado, who will both be watching on from the stands.
Juve will make this a tight affair typical of Allegri sides, while the high stakes, bad blood from leg one, and closeness of the scoreline will only amp up the tension.
Predicted Starting XIs
Prediction: Inter Milan 2-1 (AET) Juventus
Both teams rotated heavily in their weekend outings after European play the week before, with 8 changes for Inter and 5 for Juve, so we can expect first-choice XIs from both managers. That will make for a very similar outing to last time, and the scoreboard will be level after regulation with goals from Lukaku and Federico Chiesa before Edin Dzeko makes his long-awaited return to the boxscore with an extra-time game-winner.