BARI – The question is this: if the Juventus keeper was the best player on the pitch and Castellazzi didn't even get his gloves dirty, what sort of a game can it have been? You can answer the question with the remarks made by the TV commentators (critical of the Nerazzurri) or by what was actually seen out on the field. The Bianconeri were faster and perhaps fitter, not having had to contend with an Italian Super Cup played in Beijing during their pre-season; this was a Juve side of rapid two-touch attacks on the counter, doing exactly what Antonio Conte wants from his 4-2-4 formation, channelling the ball down the flanks (especially the right) and getting 10 men behind the ball when not in possession. The Nerazzurri moved the ball around better, and at a slower pace, but still created a lot of attacking play and had more shots on goal, earning seven corner kicks but also making a few defensive mistakes with positioning.
That was Inter v Juventus, the opening match of the 2011 TIM Trophy. Goals from Vucinic and Ranocchia meant the game ended 1-1 after "normal" time (45 minutes per mini-match in this tournament) so the tie went to a penalty shoot-out, where Inter finally came out on top after a series of 14 penalties.
The match. The Stadio San Nicola was almost full for the pre-season triangular tournament: 50,000 spectators on a warm August evening in Bari. It was an unusual setting for a Derby of Italy but on the pitch the rivalry was no less felt than at any other time: 5 fouls in the first 5 minutes (and it didn't end there). Juve went close early on from a corner as Vucinic headed wide after 3 minutes. And it was the Montenegrin who broke the deadlock six minutes later: Pirlo's through ball set him free and the ex-Roma striker got away from Obi before beating Castellazzi with a near-post finish. 1-0. Inter responded in the 13th minute when a decent effort from Obi was neutralised by a fine save from Storari. Immediately afterwards Krasic had a chance but dragged his effort wide. It was turning into a pulsating encounter with end-to-end action.
On 16 minutes, after Zanetti had replaced Chivu (bruising), the Nerazzurri had their second corner of the match and Ranocchia was presented with his second chance on goal: this time the centre-back beat Bonucci to the ball and powered his header into the back of the net. 1-1 after a quarter of an hour and a glut of chances already.
Sneijder soon had another but his well-struck free kick finished wide of the post. Del Piero then beat Samuel at pace to get a shot in: off target. Inter were working the ball around more, Juve breaking quickly when in possession.
The Nerazzurri had a penalty claim in the 22nd minute as Thiago Motta was held back the box - nothing doing, though spot-kicks have been awarded for much less (it was a similar story after 28 minutes, following a push by Bonucci). From out of the blue Stankovic tried his luck with a 25-yarder, and a fine effort it was too, but Storari got down to push behind for a corner. Despite what was being said on TV, Inter soon had another chance with Pazzini (27 minutes), saved by Storari again. Meanwhile Krasic replied for Juve by blasting a shot into the stands. In the 34th minute, a nicely worked move enabled Stankovic to have another crack from the edge of the box, which came to nothing. Sneijder followed suit with an ambitious effort of his own from distance, but it was too central and too weak. In the 45th minute Ranocchia had the chance to snatch it with his third opportunity of the game from a corner: wide.
So the match went to a penalties, where after 14 spot-kicks and a perfectly even shoot-out Barzagli stepped up and blasted his kick onto the bar, giving Gian Piero Gasperini's team a 7-6 victory worth two points. Inter will now face AC Milan after the second match of the tournament between the Rossoneri and Juventus.
Inter 1-1 Juventus (7-6 after penalties)
Scorers: Vucinic 9, Ranocchia 16.
Penalties: Pazzini (scored, 2-1); Del Piero (scored, 2-2); Thiago Motta (scored, 3-2); Pasquato (hit the bar, 3-2); Pandev (saved, 3-2); Bonucci (scored, 3-3); Sneijder (scored, 4-3); Vucinic (scored, 4-4); Stankovic (scored, 5-4); Pirlo (scored, 5-5); Ranocchia (scored, 6-5); Lichtsteiner (scored, 6-6); Samuel (scored, 7-6); Barzagli (hit the bar, 7-6).
Inter: 12 Castellazzi; 23 Ranocchia, 25 Samuel, 26 Chivu (4 Zanetti, 11); 42 Jonathan, 5 Stankovic, 8 Thiago Motta, 20 Obi; 10 Sneijder; 27 Pandev, 7 Pazzini.
Subs: 21 Orlandoni, 31 Cincilla, 6 Lucio, 11 Alvarez, 16 Caldirola, 19 Cambiasso, 22 Milito, 30 Castaignos, 37 Faraoni, 39 Santon, 44 Bianchetti, 48 Crisetig, 77 Muntari.
Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini.
Juventus: 30 Storari; 26 Lichtsteiner, 15 Barzagli, 19 Bonucci, 29 De Ceglie; 21 Pirlo, 8 Marchisio; 27 Krasic, 10 Del Piero, 14 Vucinic, 36 Pasquato.
Subs: 1 Buffon, 13 Manninger, 2 Motta, 5 Pazienza, 16 Ziegler, 23 Vidal, 32 Matri, 33 Sorensen, 34 Marrone, 38 Ruggiero, 39 Libertazzi, 40 Spinazzola.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
Referee: Damato (Barletta).
Corners: Inter 7-4 Juventus.
Booked: Del Piero and Obi.