MILAN – Inter added an Italian Super Cup to the trophy cabinet with Alexis Sanchez sealing a 2-1 win over Juventus in the very last second of extra time.
It was a throughly deserved result for the Nerazzurri, who dominated for long spells of the game but found themselves trailing to Weston McKennie's first-half header before Lautaro Martinez restored parity with a penalty.
After 120 minutes and with a penalty shootout looming, Matteo Darmian got a decisive touch in the box offering Sanchez the chance to steer past Mattia Perin from close range and secure a sixth Super Cup for Inter.
Inter and Juventus were facing off for a trophy in a one-off match at San Siro for the first time. Simone Inzaghi's side came into the game on a roll having won eight consecutive matches in Serie A, while Massimiliano Allegri had to make do without Juan Cuadrado, Matthijs de Ligt and Federico Chiesa. But as everyone knows, form counts for little when it comes to the Derby d'Italia.
Nonetheless, Inter quickly settled into their usual flowing game and looked keen to land an early blow. Edin Dzeko sent a header over before Lautaro found himself in a good position twice in the space of a minute but wasn't able to find the target.
In the 12th minute Nicolo Barella was brought down in the area by Giorgio Chiellini but the ref chose to ignore it and VAR did not intervene. The Nerazzurri began to get a bit worked up and lose their focus.
Milan Skriniar blocked an effort by McKennie, who was causing problems with his probing runs, while Dejan Kulusevski was roaming around with no fixed position.
Almost out of the blue, Juventus took the lead. Alvaro Morata's cross from the left took a deflection and went to McKennie, who all alone in the six-yard box was left with the simplest of tasks to head home.
It didn't knock Inter out of their stride, though, and Inzaghi's men soon got back to bossing proceedings and putting together quality attacking moves.
On 34 minutes Dzeko was brought down by Mattia De Sciglio after a clever backheel by Ivan Perisic, and this time Daniele Doveri had no choice but to award a penalty. Lautaro stepped up to the spot – the same one from which he scored against the Bianconeri in the league – and sent Perin the wrong way.
The Nerazzurri set about adding a second in the final minutes before the break but headed in with the scores at 1-1.
While Inter hoped to make a fast start to the second half, it was Juve who headed out with a full head of steam after the interval, playing on the front foot and showing real aggression. The pressure lasted for around ten minutes, during which Federico Bernardeschi had two chances to put the Bianconeri ahead, one of which was gilt-edged.
Inter soon sprung back into life, carving out three decent openings between the 59th and 72nd minutes that Perin dealt with well. He knocked a Denzel Dumfries header onto the bar before keeping out Lautaro’s header and Perisic’s right-footed shot from inside the box.
The tempo then slowed down, with Juve showing little attacking intent while sitting back and hoping for a moment of individual magic, particularly after Paulo Dybala entered the fray. Inzaghi changed his attacking pairing by sending on Sanchez and Joaquin Correa for Dzeko and Lautaro, but the contest reached the 90th minute with nerves on display rather than particularly high-quality football.
Tiredness and tension were constant features of extra time. Juve continued to show no attacking intent, while Inter finished the game with 63% possession. The only noteworthy moment in the first half was a Sanchez header from a Hakan Calhanoglu corner as the battle continued. Just as the penalty-takers were being carefully considered in stoppage time at the end of extra time, Alex Sandro failed to clear Federico Dimarco’s cross into the box and Sanchez beat Perin and clinched the trophy for Inter in dramatic circumstances.
That glorious moment marked the end of the game, bringing back memories of the ill-fated golden goal era. Bedlam descended upon the stadium with a pile of Nerazzurri players gathered in one corner amidst joyous celebrations, with match-winner Sanchez buried at the bottom. It was the sort of celebration that hadn’t been seen in a very long time, the type worthy of super champions!
It was even written on the players’ jerseys and never has it been truer than today: C’è Solo l’Inter.
Inter 2-1 Juventus AET (HT 1-1, FT 1-1)
Scorers: McKennie 25, Lautaro 35 (pen), Sanchez 120.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 De Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 2 Dumfries (36 Darmian, 89), 23 Barella (22 Vidal, 89), 77 Brozovic, 20 Calhanoglu, 14 Perisic (32 Dimarco, 100); 9 Dzeko (19 Correa, 75), 10 Lautaro (7 Sanchez, 75).
Subs not used: 97 Radu, 5 Gagliardini, 8 Vecino, 11 Kolarov, 12 Sensi, 13 Ranocchia, 33 D'Ambrosio.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
JUVENTUS (4-4-1-1): 36 Perin; 2 De Sciglio, 24 Rugani, 3 Chiellini, 12 Alex Sandro; 14 McKennie, 27 Locatelli (30 Bentancur, 90+1), 25 Rabiot, 20 Bernardeschi (5 Arthur, 79); 44 Kulusevski (10 Dybala 74); 9 Morata (18 Kean, 88).
Subs not used: 1 Szczesny, 23 Pinsoglio, 6 Danilo, 17 Pellegrini, 19 Bonucci, 21 Kaio Jorge, 38 Ake, 45 De Winter.
Coach: Massimiliano Allegri.
Assistants: Bindoni, Imperiali.
Fourth official: Fabbri.
Assistant VAR: Longo.
Booked: Bernardeschi (J), Dzeko (I), Dybala (J), Correa (I), Rugani (J), Vidal (I), Sanchez (I)
Added time: 1+4+1+0 minutes.