May 11th 2022

The Nerazzurri came from behind to beat Juventus 4-2 at the Stadio Olimpico after extra time

ROME – A frantic Coppa Italia final in Rome was kicked off in style by a brilliant Nicolo Barella goal to send Inter into an early lead before Alex Sandro levelled for Juve and Dusan Vlahovic put the Bianconeri ahead early in the second half. Hakan Calhanoglu stepped up from the penalty spot with 80 minutes on the clock to force extra time before another spot kick was converted by Ivan Perisic to put the Nerazzurri within touching distance of the trophy. The Croat stepped up again to smash a delightful shot into the corner from the edge of the box just three minutes later to give Simone Inzaghi’s side an unassailable 4-2 lead which they held on to before lifting an eighth Coppa Italia on an unforgettable night for the club.

We all know that it comes down to fine margins in football, which is why we study them and work on them in training. Such margins count double in a final that is also a Derby d’Italia. With over 70,000 fans in attendance and half of the Stadio Olimpico creating a unique atmosphere for the Nerazzurri, Inter went on the hunt for an eighth Coppa Italia and a first domestic cup success in 11 years, since the triumph over Palermo in 2011. In between the club and the trophy stood a Juventus side that Inter had already faced on three occasions this season, including the Italian Super Cup triumph in January.

The match had it all, with a prestigious trophy up for grabs as well as a feeling of revenge in the air. Inter wanted to prove their dominance throughout the course of the season once again and win a fixture that always packs a punch. A fast start was needed, which is just what Inzaghi’s side managed. Danilo D’Ambrosio was drafted into the defence, with Matteo Darmian at wing-back and Edin Dzeko given the nod up front alongside Lautaro Martinez.

The opening goal was not long in coming and it was certainly a special one. Nicolo Barella controlled the ball on 7 minutes, had time to take aim and send a stunning right-footed shot into the corner past Mattia Perin to give Inter a 1-0 lead.

The goal provided a release of adrenaline and also allowed Inter to control the match. Juve had to push on and had a string of dangerous moves around the 20th minute that ultimately led to nothing. Samir Handanovic kept out Paulo Dybala’s effort before denying Vlahovic with a stunning low save. Matthijs De Ligt and Dybala again went close to restoring parity as the half wore on.

Inter could see that sitting back was a dangerous game, with the team trying to hurt Juve on the break. Midfielders Marcelo Brozovic and Calhanoglu had efforts on goal before half time, while Danilo was forced off due to injury, and Alvaro Morata was sent on in his place.

The early throws of the second half certainly didn’t go to plan for Inter, as in the space of two minutes, the final was seemingly turned on its head. The ball was bouncing around in the box on 50 minutes when Alex Sandro managed to divert the ball in via a deflection off Morata past a helpless Handanovic. The celebrations were repeated under two minutes later when Inter poured forward and were left exposed at the back. Vlahovic ran into space, beat D’Ambrosio and saw his shot saved by Handanovic but then turned the rebound into the net on his left foot. The Nerazzurri were visibly shaken after unexpectedly falling behind.

Inzaghi’s side needed to regain composure and get back on track to prevent the cup from slipping through their grasp. Federico Dimarco, Joaquin Correa and Denzel Dumfries were all thrown on, but it was a struggle to carve out clear-cut opportunities, while Juventus looked dangerous on the counter.

Dimarco proved to be the weapon that shook things up and gave Juventus something to think about. The move that saw Inter spring back into life came from the left flank when the ball went to Lautaro, who was brought down in the box by Leonardo Bonucci as he lined up a shot. As he did in Turin, Calhanoglu stepped up to the spot in a bid to beat Perin. His right-footed penalty flew into the top corner, taking a nick off the post on the way in. It was a mixture of relief and joy in front of the Nerazzurri faithful as the team made it 2-2.

The fourth clash of the season between Inter and Juventus resulted in extra time for the second time. The showdown was in danger of boiling over as referee Paolo Valeri had to keep order in the two dugouts. Alexis Sanchez offered his usual unpredictability, but it was once again an incident in the Juve box that Inter were able to take advantage of. De Ligt brought down Stefan de Vrij, with the penalty eventually being awarded after an on-field review.

Calhanoglu had already been withdrawn by this point, allowing Perisic to step up on his right foot. A perfect shot sent Perin the wrong way and the Nerazzurri faithful into raptures as Inter regained the advantage. With 20 minutes still to play, there was little to celebrate for the time being, but unstoppable Ivan was determined to put the final to bed and so he did after a Dimarco assist. The Croat controlled the ball on his right foot and struck it goalwards with his left past Perin from the edge of the box to get the Olimpico rocking as Inter led 4-2. 

There was little more to report as the second half of extra time wore on, while levels of tension spilled over on the pitch and in the dugout. Inter held firm and fought for every ball. When Valeri brought the final to an end in the 122st minute, the Olimpico was effectively turned black and blue as the players and staff joyously celebrated an eighth Coppa Italia success.

Juventus 2-4 Inter (AET) (HT: 0-1)Scorers: Barella 7, Alex Sandro 50, Vlahovic 52, Calhanoglu 80 (p), Perisic 99 (p), Perisic 102.

JUVENTUS (4-2-3-1): 36 Perin; 6 Danilo (9 Morata, 41), 4 De Ligt, 3 Chiellini (5 Arthur, 84), 12 Alex Sandro (17 Pellegrini, 91); 28 Zakaria (27 Locatelli, 67), 25 Rabiot; 11 Cuadrado, 10 Dybala (18 Kean, 99), 20 Bernardeschi (19 Bonucci, 67); 7 Vlahovic.Subs not used: 1 Szczesny, 23 Pinsoglio, 24 Rugani, 38 Ake, 41 Nicolussi, 47 Miretti. Coach: Massimiliano Allegri.

INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio (32 Dimarco, 63; 95 Bastoni, 116), 6 De Vrij, 37 Skriniar; 36 Darmian (2 Dumfries, 63), 23 Barella, 77 Brozovic, 20 Calhanoglu (22 Vidal, 91), 14 Perisic; 9 Dzeko (19 Correa, 63), 10 Lautaro (7 Sanchez, 91).Subs not used: 21 Cordaz, 97 Radu, 5 Gagliardini, 13 Ranocchia, 18 Gosens, 88 Caicedo.  Coach: Simone Inzaghi.

Booked: Brozovic, Locatelli, Vidal.Sent off: Massimiliano Allegri.Added time: 2+3+2+2.

Referee: Valeri.Assistants: Giallatini, Preti.Fourth official: Sozza.VAR: Di Paolo.Assistant VAR: Abisso.Reserve assistant: Longo.

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COMO, ITALY - OCTOBER 06: Edin Dzeko of FC Internazionale in action during the FC Internazionale training session at the club's training ground Suning Training Center at Appiano Gentile on October 06, 2022 in Como, Italy. (Photo by Mattia Ozbot - Inter/Inter via Getty Images)



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