Friday December 7 2018
A tale of two Croats

Marcelo Brozovic was the best player on the pitch in the Derby d’Italia, writes Gaby McKay, but, as ever, it was Mario Mandzukic who decided the big game.

Even with Mauro Icardi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch, somehow you always knew it had to be him. He may not be flashy or entertaining, but Mario Mandzukic always comes up trumps in the big matches.

Juventus had been on the ropes for at least the first half of the Derby d’Italia, with Inter spurning a number of presentable chances. That none of those fell to Icardi was largely thanks to the imperious Giorgio Chiellini, who never let the Argentinian out of his sight. The centre-back will never be adored in the way Franco Baresi, Fabio Cannavaro or Alessandro Nesta were, but he deserves his place among the pantheon of great Italian defenders.

Indeed, Chiellini would have had a claim to being the best player on the pitch, were it not for the presence of Marcelo Brozovic in the Nerazzurri midfield. The 26-year-old utterly dominated the midfield in the first half, snapping into challenges, starting attacks and hurling his body in the way of any Juve shots.

Rodrigo Bentancur shot for the corner, with Samir Handanovic beaten. Brozovic was there. Joao Cancelo laid one inside for Ronaldo. Brozovic was there. One half expected him to turn up in the studio at half-time to analyse his own first-half performance, so ever-present was the Nerazzurri midfielder.

Having weathered the Inter storm, Juventus began to take a foothold in the match, albeit partly due to an error by Nerazzurri Coach Luciano Spalletti.

The Tuscan withdrew Matteo Politano just before the hour mark, replacing him with Borja Valero. Perhaps the intention was to establish greater control over the midfield, but this was never a match for the Spaniard.

A game already being played at 100km/h completely passed him by, and without the threat of Politano on the right flank, Joao Cancelo had even more freedom to break forward. The Portuguese was playing on the wrong side and is hopelessly one-footed, but barely eight minutes after that fateful substitution he managed to shift the ball onto his right.

Cancelo sent a teasing ball to the far post, where Kwadwo Asamoah was on the wrong side of a mismatch with Mandzukic.

Strikers are often said to lurk at the back post, but the Juventus man operates in far less zoological terms. Mandzukic lies dormant at the back post, an immovable volcano who can spring to life at any moment and vaporise all before him. Inevitably he muscled his former teammate out of the way to head home the winner.

The 32-year-old may not be the most prolific striker on the planet, but he must be the most clutch. Just this summer he scored in the World Cup semi-final and final, while he has found the back of the net in each of his two Champions League finals. Mandzukic got two goals away at Real Madrid in the Champions League last season, and the winner against Valencia not two weeks ago. If it’s a big game, Mario will step up.

At the final whistle, the match could be neatly summed up in the performance of the two Croats. Brozovic and Inter had been bold, brave and could take plenty of positives going forward. Mandzukic and Juventus took their chance and tightened their grip on the Scudetto.

Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports.

Have your say...
LMAO... You're a bad liar. Wow! You're so pathetic. i wonder what would be your lame excuses when Juve overcome AM. I suggest you to start making up some excuses from now.
on the 19th December, 2018 at 6:17pm
Giancarlo The only thing you should be pitying is your abysmal spelling. No I don’t have an alter ego username, it was just another person that notices how daft you are and how you epically fail to construct any valid arguments. So what if Juve topped an easy group that’s like snatching candy from a child and calling it a proud success. You answered back to me, your boss, last time and you ended up eating your words when YB dominated Juve. You’ll kneel before me after AM own Juve.
on the 18th December, 2018 at 9:09pm
LMAO @BOSS... You are a pathetic troll. 50 Shades of Juventus is you, isn't?

I am asking you. Is Juventus on top of the group or not?

I feel pity for you. Your football knowledge is too shallow.
on the 17th December, 2018 at 11:55pm

You have a screw loose son, you need to accept defeat instead of continuing with more nonsense. How did you feel after mak8ng those comments and watching allegri and Juve lose to young boys? Must have hurt right. Told you he’s lame. Listen to your boss
on the 17th December, 2018 at 8:19pm
Look! who is here! A loser from Milan. How does it feel when PSV destroy your lame team's dream in your own turf? I am not surprised a hypocritical inter fan like you will come with a statement that underestimating CL after inter can't qualify to knockout stage.

Listen up! I never say Allegri is one of the best coaches in the world. But mentioning him as an idiot or average is just stupid. But if you are still blind and can't see his quality, i suggest you to check your brain.
on the 14th December, 2018 at 10:03pm
Giancarlo You make some odd comments. Boss has owned you. I agree Allegri is a joke and he proved that in the Young Boys game. The hardest league in the world? If it is such a difficult league why does the same club keep winning it? Why are only two of your teams in the CL KO stages? Why did you not make the world cup. You need a brain check.
on the 14th December, 2018 at 3:49pm
Boss, if you really have watched many many matches in Champions League and if you really have a deep insight of football, then you should know : there is no club who doesn't struggle to grab a victory in CL (including the MIGHTY CLUBS FROM ENGLAND). This is the toughest league in the world but I don't think you know that.

The way you change your view on Allegri (from idiotic to average now) clearly shows me you are unstable emotionally.
on the 13th December, 2018 at 5:52pm
Giancarlo When you learn to play football instead of just reading commentary in a match, then try and post a comment with a reasoned opinion. You’re rhetoric is simply to say Allegri is good. I’m a Juve supporter for a start so why would I hate them winning. My point was that they have no competition in Serie a which is why they win so easily. But in Europe they go life and death in nearly enough every match and then get eliminated because they suck. Allegri is average.
on the 12th December, 2018 at 7:53pm
Boss, as a person have said before me... You're completely lost!

I didn't speak about other italian teams. I spoke about ALLEGRI and Juventus. But here you are speaking nonsense about BT subscription, lame Napoli, lame Inter, blah blah blah. These two lame teams have nothing to do with Juventus and Allegri.

So like i said before: SHUT UP FAKE FAN! I know you're in pain watching Juventus keep on winning.
on the 12th December, 2018 at 7:21am
Povorsky, over the top, giancarlo

I thought I’d save my post pending the outcome of watching Italian teams punished once again in Europe at the expense of Italian teams. Now I know you clowns don’t watch or play football and instead read bias Italian websites but if you could afford a BT subscription you’d have seen Liverpool literally wipe their boots on the Napoli players faces. Taught a lesson but no surprise. Inter also out whilst another English team Tottenham go through.
on the 11th December, 2018 at 10:55pm
ummm really are lost!

Italian soccer is the most tactical of all the major leagues. If its boring to you then you really don't have an aptitude for this game. I'm not Italian, I'm Croatian and I can tell you that Allegri and Jeve are doing a fantastic job!
on the 10th December, 2018 at 10:48pm
BOSS you've dissapeared down the rabbit hole of your own navel. All your gripes are grossly exaggerated you cherry picking mad hatter.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 11:00pm

You clearly don't know much about football when you said a good and proven coach like Allegri is an idiot. And yes, I am a boring person to ppl like you who think he knows football but actually he doesn't. So, like i said before: shut up! you're not a Juventus fan because you sound like a salty fan of Inter or Milan.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 10:54pm
Well i wonder how many cl finals man city has played in lolol. Also see juve vs mancity a couple yrs ago should give you pretty good idea of what will happen even now. Ammm epl is lame buddy. 0 tactics and 0 good teams atm. Dont be fooled. Man city is lame and liverpool is lame. Napoli beating liverpool proves this hahahah. Ok ok sorry napoli fans you are the anti juve and you play great football lol. Anyways just wait and see what happens in the jan transfer window. Juve may suprise you
on the 9th December, 2018 at 10:38pm
Last season Serie A was the only league that went down to the wire. Teams have money but when Inter can't sign Cancello for 40mil and Roma sell Sallah for 40 as well to ballance the books while ManCity fudge the books by sponsoring themselve 200mil then it goes beyond available money.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 9:47pm

Oh really? So how would Juve have approached it? Bringing on the dinosaur barzagli is a common allegri substituion whenever Juve go a goal up. Allegri is an idiot that only ever plays to win by a goal and then he shuts up shop. You can get away with that in an easy league against doormat teams like Roma, Napoli, inter and Milan. But in Europe that doesn’t work which is why we keep getting eliminated in the CL. Juve don’t have much character. Lack fighting spirit. Psychological weaknes
on the 9th December, 2018 at 7:56pm
Michelleo If you enjoy winning a league year after year with no challenge then that says a lot about your character. You’ve probably never played football in your life and just watch it from off the couch. You’re a boring man/woman Giancarlo you clearly live a very dull existence. No wonder why you love a non competitive league so much. Poborsky Stop playing the FFP card. Serie a has spent loads.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 7:52pm
it takes a real genius like our BOSS here to assume that Juventus would approach that ManUtd match the same way if it was in a ko round of CL and not in an already won group.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 12:50pm
Sorry boss but i have to agree with micholo here. Also i dont think liverpool or man city could beat juve lol. Manu was never going to win that game if it was in a knock out round.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 11:21am
As a Juve fan I am not 100% happy with Allegri and Juve play so far but since it is still the 1st 1/2 of the season then as long as they improve I'll be happy. Over entitled ignoramuses can take Serie A or leave it. When FFP isn't applied equally across the leagues the Serie A suffers. Not as simple as BOSS makes out.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 11:01am
"As a Juve supporter I’m sick of this..."

Shut up, @BOSS! You're not a Juventus fan.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 10:50am
@BOSS, being 'bored' from winning? Wow, you're an entitled one aren't you? It was hardly over a decade ago that Juventus were in the SLUMS and pas a real Juventus fan, I'll be happy if they win another 10 Scudetto straight. You just sound like a spoiled late blooming fan.
on the 9th December, 2018 at 6:19am
As for Juve, they are so limited. The only danger they present is from a cross. Look how Barca absolutely dominated the hell out of inter. That’s how Juve should be playing.

Juve don’t have a hope in hell in the champions league. Barca would thrash them. Madrid would thrash them. Man City and Liverpool would pulverise them. And had Man U Juve been a knockout tie, Juve would be out on the away goal rule and Man U aren’t even a credible threat in the PL.

Serie a needs serious help.
on the 8th December, 2018 at 4:33pm
God damn this league is so borrrrrrring. As a Juve supporter I’m sick of this. Winning isn’t even fun anymore in Serie a as it’s snatching candy off a baby. I don’t get off on challengeless victories. We’ve won Serie a this year and we’ve won it next year as well.

I’ll be cancelling eleven sports as it’s so boring watching Juve beat every team by 1-0 and the goal only ever comes by some boring cross because Allegri is so trash he can’t win a match by more than 1-0 with so many attackers.
on the 8th December, 2018 at 4:30pm
What would Marrota in Inter be like without his super power: FABIO PARATICI?

The answer is: MEDIOCRITY.
on the 8th December, 2018 at 3:31pm
Good analysis. I was happy when Spalletti took Politano out, strange sub.

Though I thought the best player yesterday was Bentancur.

@ micholo

Well said. Chiellini will be sorely missed once he leaves. He lives to defend. It will be really hard to replace him both at Juve and the NT.
on the 8th December, 2018 at 12:39pm
@ade be careful what you wish for. Marotta made some good signings and took advantage of some situations. But for every good signing there were very bad ones as well.
on the 8th December, 2018 at 12:16pm
Haha, I thought this is an article to blame the out-of-form-for-too-long-but-keep-starting Perišić......

Disappointed me, but no one can do that more than Spalletti the bald idiot.
on the 8th December, 2018 at 11:44am
I have always said when mentioning Italian coaches of class SPALLETTI would be relegated to oblivion....what a stupid and life sapping sub that was made...all the more kill the life out of the game.... Despite the array of world class players at his disposal, INTER can only be compared to Man city with the calibers of players at his disposal still he couldn't just give what hw doesn't have ( ingenuity)... As things stand Eusebio di Francesco may be better suited to inter...Marotta pls identify another coach just as you sought out Allegri for juventus....Luciano spalletti is an Idiot.
on the 8th December, 2018 at 8:49am
MADE IN ITALY won against MADE IN CHINA, here comes the whinger ... Must be the ref eh?
on the 8th December, 2018 at 5:48am

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