Adrien Rabiot and Nicolo Fagioli fired Juventus to a huge 2-0 victory at home to Inter on Sunday night.
With The Old Lady behind Inter in the Serie A standings heading into the game and hampered by their own inconsistency, three points was a must and crucially catapulted them above the hosts and up to fifth.
A timid start to such a historic contest opened up after 20 minutes or so, with Inter coming close through Lautaro Martinez and Juve through an unlikely Gleison Bremer at the back post. It was Juve who continued to grow and fashion chances, but they couldn’t find a way ahead before half-time.
Juve were happy to sit back and counter after the break, which is ultimately how they pulled ahead and continued to threaten. Inter didn’t do enough with the ball throughout the bulk of the second half, rendering a late push for a goal useless.
It felt like the occasion of the Derby d’Italia had consumed both sides from the first whistle, with a distinct lack of quality in front of goal and among passing rather evident. Proceedings perked up, though, and boiled to an end-to-end 45 minutes where Inter spurned the most obvious chances to score.
Lautaro Martinez had fired wide after just five minutes, and after surviving a flurry from Juventus that saw them almost pull ahead through Bremer after 20 minutes, Inter finished the half strong. Nicolo Barella might have been trying to score himself from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s pass after 42 minutes, but his effort fell into the path of an unmarked Denzel Dumfries, who spurned a shot from point-blank to ensure the half ended goalless.
It took the hosts just seven minutes to draw ahead after the break, though, just as Inter were trying to ramp up the pressure. Filip Kostic peeled away down the left flank and crossed low for Rabiot to open up his foot and slot home for 1-0.
Suddenly, the game was falling out of Inter’s grasp and they were two down after an hour when Danilo converted incredibly from Kostic’s corner. Their blushes were spared, though, as VAR ruled out the goal for handball.
Andre Onana was called into action to spectacularly tip an effort from Kostic onto the post in the closing stages. A save like that should’ve spurred Simone Inzaghi’s side on to find the all-important equaliser, but they instead found themselves 2-0 down and resigned to defeat when Fagioli fired in on his first Serie A start.
GK: Wojciech Szczesny – 8/10 – Excellent save to deny Martinez with his feet; kept his side ahead following a lapse in concentration in doing so.
CB: Danilo – 7/10 – Pulled out a finish that you’d expect from a striker, which was harshly – but correctly – chalked off.
CB: Gleison Bremer – 7/10 – Back into the side after a four game injury layoff and shrugged off an awkward landing to keep Inter at bay.
CB: Alex Sandro – 6/10 – Playing in a more reserved, central role really suits the Brazilian.
RWB: Juan Cuadrado – 7/10 – Less effective than his colleague on the other flank, but started the game brightly.
CM: Nicolo Fagioli – 8/10 – A brilliant and brave run into the box late into the game to bag his first Serie A goal and seal the win in a huge game.
CM: Manuel Locatelli – 6/10 – You’d still like to see more from the exciting Italian in games as big as this one, but it was clear his role was a defensive one and he did it well enough. He’s improving.
CM: Adrien Rabiot – 7/10 – Another goal for the suddenly prolific Frenchman and what an exceptional finish it was. Incredibly cool.
LWB: Filip Kostic – 8/10 – Aggressive, sharp and front-footed. Kostic was at his best, driving Juve forward as quickly as he could. Absolute wand of a left foot, too.
CF: Fabio Miretti – 6/10 – The game got lost on him somewhat.
ST: Arkadiusz Milik – 5/10 – Swallowed up completely by Inter’s defence.
SUB: Federico Chiesa (73′ for Milik) – 5/10 – Showed his ring rust by spurning a one vs one at the death.
SUB: Angel Di Maria (81′ for Miretti) – N/A
Manager: Massimiliano Allegri – 8/10 – Picked his team sensibly by not rushing his stars back from injury, and managed the game well. A very impressive display with lots to build on as the stars return from injury.
GK: Andre Onana – 7/10 – Could do nothing to stop Rabiot or even the ruled out Danilo effort. Can hold his head high.
CB: Milan Skriniar – 4/10 – Struggled tremendously to contain Kostic.
CB: Stefan de Vrij – 5/10 – Not much to report with Juve playing on the break and Inter dominating possession.
CB: Francesco Acerbi – 6/10 – Dealt better with Cuadrado then Skriniar did with Kostic.
RWB: Denzel Dumfries – 6/10 – Got into advanced positions more than once, but had to score from Barella’s square ball early on – then it’s a different game.
CM: Nicolo Barella – 4/10 – Faded as the game grew on and lacked quality in possession.
CM: Hakan Calhanoglu – 5/10 – Seemed to get lost trying to make an impact from deeper, but also wasn’t helped by his forwards.
CM: Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6/10 – Perhaps Inter’s most creative midfield outlet; a concern considering that midfield trio on paper is blessed with creativity.
LWB: Federico Dimarco – 7/10 – Continues to grow in importance for his boyhood club.
ST: Edin Dzeko – 4/10 – Never really got into the game and was dealt with comfortably by Juventus defenders. Gave the ball away for the second goal.
ST: Lautaro Martinez – 5/10 – A victim of Inter’s inconsistent passing game.
SUB: Robin Gosens (74′ for Dimarco) – 5/10
SUB: Joaquin Correa (74′ for Calhanoglu) – 5/10
SUB: Marcelo Brozovic (81′ for Mkhitaryan) – N/A
SUB: Matteo Darmian (81′ for Skriniar) – N/A
SUB: Raoul Bellanova (81′ for Dumfries) – N/A
Manager: Simone Inzaghi – 5/10 – Let down by his side in front of goal, but it was clear to see how the game was developing into Juve’s favour in the early stages of the second half. Should’ve made the changes sooner.