Inter certainly knocked on the door last night but Juventus held firm and shut out the champions allowing Lazio to go two points clear in the title race. The Derby d’Italia is always a tense affair and this seasons clash was no exception. The match kicked off with Inter fielding a familiar line up, Julio Cesar was in goal with a back four of Ivan Cordoba, Lucio, Maicon and Christian Chivu the holding midfielders were Esteban Cambiasso and Dejan Stankovic whilst Wesley Sneijder played behind a front three of Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Et’o and Jonathan Ludovic Biabiany.
Milos Krasic had the first chance of the game when he darted in from the right unleashing a shot that was only parried by Julio Cesar, luck however, was on the Brazilians side as the rebound just avoided the path of Vincenzo Iaquinta. The best chance of the half for the Nerazzurri came when substitute Diego Milito failed to connect at the far post from Et’o’s cross.
Milos Krasic is looking more and more like the complete midfielder and exactly what Juventus need, he showed his skill on 60 minutes when he dribbled round four players before unleashing a venomous strike that tested Cesar again. It was the Nerazzurri who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Wesley Sneijder’s perfectly weighted ball found Maicon who controlled it but was then denied by the excellent Marco Storari who needed to hold onto the ball and did so. Juventus looked to be running out of steam and as Fabio Quagliarella hit a shot straight into the arms of Julio Cesar. The writing seemed to be on the wall for the Bianconeri as Inter imposed themselves. As the game moved into the final 15 minutes Milito controlled Cambiasso’s through ball majestically and all he need to do now was slot the ball past Storari, instead El Principe could only side foot the ball past the post and the last glaring chance to win the game was gone.
Dejan Stankovic was interviewed after the game and said that “I’m glad we played football on the field and that is all, regardless of what was said in the newspapers. The referee did well and we also helped him to do well. It was a tactical game. We have to play every three days and now there’s international duty, so I already feel exhausted, It was to be expected that this would end with a 0-0 or a 1-1, something like that.” Both sides played entertaining but both sides top stars appear to be suffering from a World Cup hangover. Rafael Benitez was in full agreement with this when after the match he said “The team played very well on Wednesday and I had faith in that side, so I stuck with them,” although he indicated that the level of the games and their quick succession had an effect, even so he was pleased with Inters performance adding “I am satisfied as we played well against an excellent side and had our chances to win. We have some key players injured and when they are back, the strength in depth will be greater.”
Inter need the strength in depth more than ever at the moment as last nights game saw Ivan Cordoba and Jonathan Biabiany added to Inters already long injury list. Positives however are in abundance for the Nerazzurri as they continue to look like a force to be reckoned with. In particular the Inter faithful will be happy to have seen another solid performance from Philippe Coutinho, his manager said of him after the game that “Coutinho is a wonderful, young talent. He does not have a defensive bone in his body, and can make a difference in attack,” the young Brazilian keeps showing that he has a bright future in front of him.
Inter now have the International break and like most teams will have to deal with the wear and tear that that brings to most players, however, their strength in depth and level of performance should see them in good stead. An away game in Sardinia awaits them after the break and this could be the perfect spring board to see the Nerazzurri continue their assault in Serie A.