Sunday March 8 2020
Silence is golden for Juventus

Playing behind closed doors can neutralise home advantage, but it was Inter who folded at the empty Juventus Stadium, writes Giancarlo Rinaldi.

It felt, in the end, like eating a plate of pasta without the sauce. After the usual bungling of the Italian football authorities, the Serie A season - and its showpiece Derby d’Italia - could go ahead, but behind closed doors. Desperate times call for desperate and drastic measures, we can all agree, but from a pure spectacle point of view we were denied an appetising element of one of Calcio’s key encounters.

Some may have enjoyed hearing the howls of Antonio Conte with greater clarity. Others might have savoured Cristiano Ronaldo’s yelps of pain every time anyone came within close enough range to attempt a tackle. However, the echoing shouts in the Allianz Stadium had a hollow ring to this observer. To pinch a phrase from Robert Frost, it all felt a bit like playing tennis with the net down.

There is an argument, eloquently made by others, that the lack of fans does not diminish the effort of players and that seemed true throughout this clash. Nonetheless, it still had the air of a glorified training game at times for all the intensity of their endeavours. All the same, it would appear Serie A is still a league where you can play with or without supporters, but in the end Juventus keep on winning.

These are usually games that we pundits handle with the delicacy of a scientist tinkering about in a nuclear reactor. One misplaced word and you risk producing a mushroom cloud of social media controversy from one camp or another. At least, this time around, it would appear there was no incident to ignite the ire of conspiracy theorists everywhere. Perhaps it had all burned out in the furore over when and how this game should be played.

For followers of the Bianconeri, of course, the empty seat audience will have mattered not one jot. They suffered in spells during the first half, but a sharp finish by Aaron Ramsey and some exquisite footwork from Paulo Dybala - freshly freed from his prison on the Juve bench - unlocked Inter in style. In the process, the Nerazzurri’s Scudetto challenge was all but snuffed out - leaving Lazio the last man standing in attempts to stop La Vecchia Signora taking title number 212 in a row or whatever we have reached now.

Conte will have been pulling his hair out at how meekly his team folded in the later phases of this game. They have made huge progress under his stewardship - and that should not be forgotten - but they spluttered to an embarrassing halt in this key clash. They look to be on the right road, at last, but their journey back to challenging for the championship might be a little longer than their followers had hoped.

Would it have been any different in front of a packed stadium? Of course, we can never know. The drama would surely have had a better backdrop, but if these silent clashes help to save even one person from being claimed by Coronavirus, it will have been worthwhile. At times of genuine trouble, sport can be a nice distraction, but its controversies do get put into a bit of perspective. It is not, really, the matter of life and death we sometimes convince ourselves it might be.

Perhaps we will get used to these eerie encounters over the next month or more - we have no choice but to do so. Three points are three points, after all, no matter how many people witness them in person. From the outside looking in, these triumphs feel a little hollow, but you wouldn’t have known it from the celebrations of the Bianconeri’s players at full time.

It’s the same for everyone - well at least now it is - so there can be no real cause for complaint or the usual claims of a “falsified championship”. It is certainly an odd season and one which, without its normal sound-effects and choreography, feels a little empty to some of us. The players, pitches and performances might be the same, but it fails to stir the soul in quite the same manner without its other passionate protagonists.

Our hopes and prayers are all for a swift end to this public health crisis, of course, so we will have to witness many more matches in such subdued surroundings. If nothing else, we will get the chance to answer that ancient Zen-like question - what, exactly, is the sound of one fan clapping?

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Have your say...
"I miss Luciano Moggi at Juventus"


You always tease Juventini with LIVERPOOL
--A team constantly saved by refs in CL, that almost EVERY GAME plays with hand & still PKs are not given against them..!
Yellow & Red cards don't exist for them...
A team that last year should be out against Napoli (100% RED for Van Dijk on Mertens was not given...)

& NOW THEY CRASHED OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope their fans won't sleep today.
on the 11th March, 2020 at 11:57pm
Oh @willy we've been fed up with your over optimistic feeling over hopeless inter. You should change your name to fatal delusional willy. It fits your character.
on the 11th March, 2020 at 2:29pm
We need to relax in cool authority. Saying anything will go aginst Juve nobody else. We will win the title anyway as we are called "hopefulls". Ya i am sure 9 points gap will be filled by itty-gitty Juve and Intercoal will burn......
on the 11th March, 2020 at 8:55am
well that was easier than expected. Forza JUVE
on the 10th March, 2020 at 6:26pm
It is enormously pleasing to read the bitter ramblings of the Inter faithful. Honestly, it is much better than great literature. Thank you! Losing is deeply ingrained in Inter's culture. It is an essential component of the club's daily ritual and identity. Inter just relax and surrender to the knowledge that the money you spent in the calcio mercatto has bought you nothing of value. Inter did, does, and will forever suck. FORZA JUVE!
on the 10th March, 2020 at 5:26pm
@I miss Luciano Moggi at Juventus: Only Juventus lost a CL because they called a goal that was 3 feet offside - we also lost a CL in PK's but we were missing Football's player of the year on our squad......when was the last time liverpool was able to acquire a "player of the year" talent ?
on the 10th March, 2020 at 2:54pm
@ Hahaha - win something in Europe where Juvirus are losers and then speak. Why can Juvirus not do what Liverpool have done? They can only win in Italy, they have never won a CL without penalties or a dive way outside the box resulting in a penalty. Face it Milan will win the CL before juvirus.
on the 10th March, 2020 at 9:11am
@ Marco Branca - have you clean drawers in case Juvirus draw Liverpool in the CL (if Lyon dont beat them of course) run Forrest run!
on the 10th March, 2020 at 9:08am
Considering how much of a hypocritice, not to mention a troglodyte you are, viktor, I'm not surprised by your limited and nonsensical remark. Keep up the idiocy going.

@Juulesy why can writers write pieces on actual on-field and resort to farcical wordpay, but readers not point out such tripe? Or is it too much to ask a writer to have a little editorial standard?

Lambast Conte or Sarri for their performances and results, not their looks or personal choices. Have a little class, idiot.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 8:36pm
Juve beating Inter has become more like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Some things never change. Forza Juve.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 8:04pm
@Luciano Moggi: So Inter spent 150 mill not to mention 11 mill for a coach and are destined to finish 3rd proud because that's the best finish Inter has had in the last 9 years! it's the ZERO group stage qualifications in CL that should be concerning afterall, If the real back and blue team AKA Atalanta can do it on their first try then how hard can it be ?? will inter have to spend 300 million more just to do that ?
on the 9th March, 2020 at 7:30pm
Juve played their best game of the season, since the last time they played Inter. This was classic Sarri ball, quick passes and movements. What changed you may say, well since you'll asking it was Pjanic on the bench with Bentacur in his place. Let see if Sarri has the stones to sit him the rest of the season.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 7:10pm
Finally some positive play and quick passing. this is what this team should be doing week in week out. Lautaro and Lukaku looked like a bunch of lost circus clowns!

Forza JUVE
on the 9th March, 2020 at 6:50pm
Well moderate performance from a moderate coach; not the team though. Playing against juve firepower should never stopped overpowerring. In that case you need certain characters to outplay juve. Ahh the likes of eriksen at the helm, barella at ease and a certain cheerfull an alexis sanchez and what no godin.. @ferban and ben yeah poor Inter will be fine one day but juve need more of that i think ; in future...ha ha
on the 9th March, 2020 at 4:04pm
@I Miss Luciano Moggi

And the reason why inter always bow down before Juve is because they simply are LOSERS along with their fans.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 3:45pm
Pinturicchio you are a sad lonely man. lul
on the 9th March, 2020 at 3:35pm
Calm down Juve fans. It's not like you won in Europe or anything...
on the 9th March, 2020 at 2:27pm
@Pinturicchio Are you alright mate? Isn't that a bit of an overreaction? I'm sure even Conte would see the lighthearted side of that remark
on the 9th March, 2020 at 2:13pm
Who is claiming falsified championship? Juventus have clearly been the best club in Italy for 8 years, but the reason is corrupt Platini's Farcical Fair Play. Thats wot done it, same as Man City cooking the books- they have an advantage, same as UEFAlona's influence over UEFA. Juventus were always easily going to win Seria A again. They have a player on EUR 40m PA, 50% paid by Jeep. What would be shock is if they didnt easily win. These are not excuses, these are reasons.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 1:39pm
Giancarlo himself has male-pattern baldness, yet chooses to resort to despicable under-the-belt comments like "tearing his hair out". Oh, the irony...

Not to mention, the hypocrites everywhere, both male and female... Everyone use filters on photos, Photoshop to enhance themselves, hair extensions, breast-augmentation, botox injections et al but feel high and mighty to rip on Conte's hair transplants. Have you really no standards, to judge a man's performance?

#FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve
on the 9th March, 2020 at 11:54am
Well I guess for a neutral observer it may have been silent but I can assure you it was far from silent at our place! Juve, storia di un grande amore Bianco che abbraccia il nero
Cor o che si alza davvero per te..............
on the 9th March, 2020 at 10:45am
Inter fans were pretty absent online after this game.

Conte has done a good job, and has turned other clubs around before, but he has his limitations too.

Here's a few things I took from the game:

Great goal by Dybala.
Lukaku is a flat-track bully.
Finally a good performance by Juve.
Juve need to play like this vs Lyon
Conte needs to trust talent over workhorses.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 10:07am
So a 3 horse race has become 2.What a shame.Serie A needs a thrilling season after so much dross.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 9:31am
the best Juventus have played in a long time, actually seemed comfortable at the back, against 2 inform strikers. Ramsey even seemed like he has potential to be useful, not great, but better. 2 best games so far this year have been against Inter. Still, Inter very much in the title challenge, Lazio doing very well too, keep pijanic on the bench for now
on the 9th March, 2020 at 9:07am
juve taught inter a football lesson. to hear how Zhang and marotta behaved this week was disgraceful. they came with their usually conspiracy theories. they got what they wanted with the derby d italia played behind close doors. they obviously felt it would give them some sort of advantage. all that happen was juve played them off the park. should have been 4-0. From a juve point of view. I lon stated that pjanic was the problem in midfield. he holds unto the ball too long for sarriball to work
on the 9th March, 2020 at 7:53am
Well said Ben. I did not stay up to watch, my interest in this season disappeared 2 weeks ago,it is just a matter of getting the season over and sorting the virus and looking forward to a health next season.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 6:05am
Juve didn't have an "off day"... --it was their PERFORMANCE OF THE SEASON!

People will say Inter wasn't good yesterday...
But that just takes away from Juve's game. I honestly think Inter was "usual Inte
r", but Juve FINALLY played in 3rd gear.
Now, how about you guys try to put it into fourth/ fifth in CL??
on the 9th March, 2020 at 3:55am
their fan said : another Calciopoli began?

decided with closed door, and just like before, Juve won the game and maybe even the tittle (i dont mine if juve lost title by Inzagis but win CL
on the 9th March, 2020 at 3:33am
their fan said : another Calciopoli began?

decided with closed door, and just like before, Juve won the game and maybe even the tittle (i dont mine if juve lost title by Inzagis but win CL
on the 9th March, 2020 at 3:29am
Inter fans are mostly bunch of hypocrite & losers who lack respect of Juve's great achievements. Coming from Milan fans.
on the 9th March, 2020 at 2:29am

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