Juventus has gone in just one year from being the undisputed leader of Italian football to fighting tooth and nail to qualify for next season’s Champions League. After nine consecutive Scudettos, the Vecchia Signora He handed over the baton to Inter de Conte, who managed to win the title 10 years later. Precisely, the neroazzurri They seemed to be in charge of dealing the lethal blow to their historic rival with a duel at Juventus Stadium in which they could sentence Pirlo’s team to the Europa League. But the bianconeri They earned an extra life and got a long-suffering victory to momentarily place fourth in the Seria A. If Napoli beat Fiorentina this Sunday, Juve will arrive fifth on the last day, depending on a puncture from Gattuso’s.
Conte, the beginning and end of the golden age of Juventus, was aware that leaving his rival out of the Champions League would be a reason for celebration among his tiffosi after so many years in the shade. The troubles were this time on the opposite side, used to reaching the last days with everything resolved and not without depending on themselves. That need was instilled by Pirlo to his team so that they would come out to eat the field against the reigning champions, who had only lost one league game in 2021, in January against Sampdoria.
The match was divided into two halves for each team, with a persistent Juventus at the start, but which ended up locked in the area before the siege of Inter in the second half. Although, despite the multitude of stars on the green, the leading role was taken by the referee. The VAR did not have a break, with penalties, expulsions and goals annulled. A few hands from Darmian on 25 caused the first maximum penalty. Cristiano missed the shot, but took advantage of Handanovic’s weak clearance to score his 101st goal for Juventus. Inter had barely managed to get close to the goal bianconeri, and the first time they stepped into the area with danger, Lautaro was the most ready to provoke the demolition of De Ligt and give Lukaku the opportunity to tie the match from eleven meters. The Belgian did not fail and Pirlo again held his breath on the band.
When the tie seemed made at half-time, Cuadrado took a right hand from the front that just touched Eriksen to deceive the goalkeeper and put Juve in front again. Inter, who had only shot on goal with Lukaku’s penalty, pulled out their claws in the second half and took the ball. That superiority became even greater with the expulsion of Bentacour, for a second yellow card, much protested by Pirlo as soon as the second half began. With 10, Juve could not go beyond the center of the field, shrinking waters like the boat adrift that has been all season.
Morata came in instead of Cristiano and Conte thought that three centrals were excessive to cover the Spanish striker, and put more wood on the field. In the absence of 10 minutes, the referee annulled a goal to Lukaku for an alleged foul on Chiellini in the area, but the VAR called him to deny him and end up proclaiming the goal of the central defender at his own goal. Conte asked his team not to slow down to look for the third against an inoperative Juve in the second half. But the great protagonist of the match, referee Gianpaolo Calvarese, had not yet said his last word and signaled a Perisic penalty on Cuadrado that made Conte burst out laughing on the bench. The Colombian was in charge of converting the launch before a Handanovic who was like a statue, as if he still expected that they would cancel it. Brozovic earned the card for protesting and saw the second just four minutes later for dangerous play.
The victory leaves Juventus with 75 points, two above Napoli but with one more match. If Gattuso’s men beat Fiorentina this Sunday, at the Vecchia Signora He will only have the hope of winning his game against Bologna on the last day and that the Neapolitans fail to do so against Chievo.