TURIN - It was a bitter return to action for Inter on Sunday, as they lost 2-0 to Juventus at the Allianz Stadium. It was a disappointing defeat for the Nerazzurri, who failed to capitalise on a strong first-half performance. Two goals after the interval ultimately proved decisive, with Ramsey and Dybala both getting on the scoresheet.
After 10 days of preparation following Inter’s 2-1 win over Ludogorets, it was a tricky affair for all involved - largely due to the match being played behind closed doors. However, the game’s significance was clear, as the two teams battled it out for top spot. Juventus’ tactics were largely reliant on width, as Cuadrado and Alex Sandro supported an attacking trio of Douglas Costa, Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo. Meanwhile, Inter started the match with an aggressive and determined attitude, demonstrated by Vecino’s early chance after just 40 seconds. Candreva was also heavily involved early on, while the away side were first tested through a De Ligt header in the eighth minute. This was saved by Handanovic, who made his return to the team after a hand injury. The Nerazzurri captain also kept out Matuidi seven minutes later.
The match grew increasingly open as Ronaldo and Douglas Costa became more involved, while Brozovic, Barella and Candreva maintained Inter’s high pressure. As the half-time whistle approached, the Biaconeri’s chances were largely limited to set-pieces, with Bonucci and De Ligt both threatening from corners. Inter, on the other hand, sought to press down the right through Candreva, although failed to conduct any precise link-up play in the box. Brozovic did have a couple of chances from just outside the area, however, Szczesny was on hand to make the save.
After a first half full of promise which saw both sides well in the game, Inter started the second in the worst way possible as Juventus opened the scoring after just nine minutes of play. Neither Vecino nor Skriniar could stop Matuidi’s driving run down the left, and it was Ramsey who poked home after a mix-up following the Frenchman’s ball into the middle, the ball taking a deflection off de Vrij on its way into the net. That moment changed the game, and Inter’s confidence in getting a result took a real hit with the Nerazzurri now chasing the game. Juventus began to dominate possession, upping their press and really seizing control of the game without dropping off their own tempo. Their second seemed almost inevitable, even if it was a fantastic finish from Dybala. The Argentinian played a quick one-two with Ramsey on the edge, skipped past Young and slotted the ball past Handanovic in the 67th minute to double the home side’s lead.
This was the knockout blow for the Nerazzurri, and even after Conte’s changes we simply couldn’t find a way back into the game. Eriksen had a good chance in the 78th minute, but his effort flew just over the bar, and no one else could really test Szczesny as the game drew to a close. Despite their best efforts, the Nerazzurri simply didn’t have what it took to mount a comeback, and the last two chances of the game fell to the Bianconeri with Handanovic twice keeping Ronaldo from extending the scoreline.
The full-time whistle blew and it ended 2-0 to Juventus, who climb back into first place on 63 points, just one ahead of Lazio. Inter, with a game in hand, sit in third on 54. But it’s not over yet, and we’re certainly not done fighting. Keep going boys, Forza Inter forever!
JUVENTUS 2-0 INTER
JUVENTUS (4-3-3): 1 Szczesny; 16 Cuadrado, 4 De Ligt, 19 Bonucci, 12 Alex Sandro (2 De Sciglio 78'); 8 Ramsey, 30 Bentancur, 14 Matuidi; 11 Douglas Costa (10 Dybala 59'), 21 Higuain (33 Bernardeschi 80'), 7 Cristiano Ronaldo.
Bench: 31 Pinsoglio, 77 Buffon, 3 Chiellini, 5 Pjanic, 6 Khedira, 13 Danilo, 24 Rugani, 25 Rabiot.
Coach: Maurizio Sarri.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 87 Candreva (5 Gagliardini 74'), 8 Vecino, 77 Brozovic, 23 Barella (24 Eriksen 54'), 15 Young; 9 Lukaku (7 Sanchez 77'), 10 Lautaro.
Bench: 27 Padelli, 46 Berni, 2 Godin, 13 Ranocchia, 18 Asamoah, 20 Borja Valero, 30 Esposito, 33 D'Ambrosio, 34 Biraghi.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
Scorers: 54' Ramsey (J), 67' Dybala (J)
Bookings: Skriniar (I), Vecino (I), Brozovic (I), Cristiano Ronaldo (J)
Red cards: 79' Padelli (I) (from the bench)
Added time: -, 4'.
Assistants: Meli, Carbone.
Fourth Official: Maresca.
VAR and VAR Assistant: Mazzoleni, Paganessi.