Monday November 5 2012
Scudetto battle blown wide open

Juventus had to be beaten eventually and it was Inter who did the damage. Giancarlo Rinaldi wraps up a weekend when the Nerazzurri underlined their title credentials.

The ends, perhaps, justified the means. Amid all the officiating errors and inconsistencies, the better side on the night emerged victorious. And in the process Italian football’s answer to the Berlin Wall – Juve’s unbeaten record – came tumbling to the ground.

It was maybe inevitable that it would be Inter who would demolish that impressive edifice. The vitriol between their two sets of fans has carried the explosive power of gelignite in recent years. On Saturday night, it blew up in the Bianconeri’s faces.

It was the kind of game which had more talking points than a month of back-to-back chat shows. A controversial goal in the opening 20 seconds can do that to a match. By the end it was hard to work out just how much the match officials had influenced the final outcome of the game.

Let’s try to tackle all those issues in order. Juve’s opener through Arturo Vidal should have been ruled out for an offside earlier in the move, although it was possible to see how it could be missed. What was harder to excuse was the failure to send off Stephan Lichtsteiner for a pretty evident yellow-card foul after he had already been booked. His swift substitution by Martin Caceres had the air of an admission of guilt. No wonder the Nerazzurri felt miffed at half time.

But the second half had the feeling that the match officials were desperately trying to right those wrongs. Inter’s penalty was clear cut, but there were a string of free-kicks and bookings against Juventus players which had a hint of compensation about them. All it did was compound the sensation that the match officials had lost their grip on the game.

None of that, however, should diminish the Nerazzurri’s achievements. They seized the initiative after they slipped behind and managed to take a win away from the Juventus Stadium. In the process, to the delight of Interisti and neutrals, they ensured Serie A remained a contest for some time to come.

Angelo Alessio was right to point out that although a battle had been lost there was still the war to win. Only a fool would hit the panic button after one defeat in half a century of League matches. Nonetheless, the words “top player”, which haunted the club’s summer, were quick to resurface.

The loss of Mirko Vucinic to injury and his replacement by Nicklas Bendtner combined with an ineffectual performance by Sebastian Giovinco only made the queries more insistent. What could this Juve side achieve with a 20-goal a season striker? Although that question in itself ignores all that the club has managed to do so far without that kind of scoring machine.

As for Inter, they came out of the game in fully-fledged revival mode. Andrea Stramaccioni saw his bold move to pitch three forwards into the match – Antonio Cassano, Diego Milito and Rodrigo Palacio – pay off in style. He was not slow to voice his feelings of vindication after the final whistle.

The result should have allowed Napoli to breathe new life back into their title challenge but it proved beyond them. Even the goalscoring return of Edinson Cavani was not enough for them to get past a Torino side still undefeated away from home. Walter Mazzarri has been cursing his luck, but his team has struggled to find its old scintillating form of late and had to settle for a draw.

Lazio were also unable to narrow the gap at the top as their miserable run of results continued away to an impressive Catania side. Instead, it was up to Fiorentina to come out of the pack and stride past the Biancocelesti into fourth place. Just a couple of points off the Champions League places, the Viola sparkled against in-form Cagliari.

At one point during that game, the Tuscan side had just one player on the pitch – Romulo – who was in their squad last year. That underlines the scale of the revolution which has been undertaken at the Artemio Franchi. It will undergo a further test next weekend against Milan in the San Siro.

Fans of the Rossoneri will be hoping that game can continue the mini-revival enjoyed with a 5-1 thumping of Chievo. The result gave some credence to Max Allegri’s belief that his team has not enjoyed the results its play has deserved of late. Although that must be tempered by the fact that the boys from the Bentegodi are the worst travellers in the Division with five defeats out of five away from home so far this season.

Another side without a victory outside their own ground this year are Palermo and they took a thumping from Roma in Sunday’s night game. Zdenek Zeman’s side were almost on course for a clean sheet until Josip Ilicic got his first Serie A goal in nearly a year to deliver a late consolation. The impressive nature of the Giallorossi’s win – apart from a foolish red card earned by Mattia Destro for his goal celebrations – sets up a Rome derby which could actually see them overhaul Lazio in the table.

The final word probably has to go to Giovanni Stroppa who saved his Pescara job – for the time being at least – with a win over Parma. The irony, lost on nobody, was that while the Adriatico boss was fighting to keep his post, his opposite number Roberto Donadoni was celebrating signing a new contract. What odds on that getting ripped up if he racks up a few more results like this weekend’s in the months to come?

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
@Mustafa : You are hilarious. Do you make an effort to be a joker or does it come naturally to you :-)

on the 6th November, 2012 at 7:31am
Mustafa, are you serious? That was the most stone cold penalty I have ever seen, penalry never been so clear.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 11:33pm
Juventus just need two great strikers and the rest of Serie A will have no chance. The new stadium give them the edge in years to come...
on the 5th November, 2012 at 9:41pm
This was Inter's game of the season. Inter wanted to win this even if it meant blood was spilt! Plus the harrasment by there players at half time in the tunnel clearly conditioned the ref in the 2nd half. 'CLEAR CUT PENALTY' LOL. Really? Clearly Rinaldi is another anti Juve writer on this pro Milan, Inter & Roma website. How you ever write on a website amazes me. Stop with this Juve bashing on here because this site is losing credibility with all your over the top anti Juve views!
on the 5th November, 2012 at 9:39pm
Many referees would NOT have given Lichtsteiner two yellow cards. It's called fingerspitzengefühl in Germany. The free kick was not harsh (no injury), nor was it in a dangerous position. Stop being melodramtic football-italia. A lot of calls go against Juventus but Moratti and journalists look they other way and Juventus DO NOT CRY.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 9:39pm
Seems like some juve fans have just as much integrity as there beloved team - and let me make this clear 'this is an insult'
on the 5th November, 2012 at 9:08pm
@Daniel firstly this blog is about the Scudetto so why bring Roma up!? Lol Secondly no, Cassano @ 30 is way better then Totti @ 35! Lamela is unproven inexperienced so Palacio (and his stats so far prove this) is more influential then skinny Eric, as for Milito and Osvaldo being the same.....HAHAHAHAHAHA only Ronaldo (R9) has been as good as Milito as a CF since turn of millenium, and maybe Sheva. Forza Inter!!
on the 5th November, 2012 at 8:59pm
Juve your fake invincible status is now gone and it was only fair that your arch-rivals Inter took you down. The only way you reach to those 49 games was due to the help of mediocre referees that did not saw Muntari's goal, that disallowed Catania's goal and so many more. Of course it was disgusting to see Vidal's goal when off side and Lichtsteiner just remain on the pitch. The Football Gods spoke and I hope you heard. From now on let's play some football and let the best team win
on the 5th November, 2012 at 6:30pm
Juventus could not fix the match against inter because they were outplayed. Offside goal was not enough so since the refree could not help them, some thing stupid can happen in the future, they are going to bring cane corso dogs to scare the goalkeepers so their strikes can score winning goal.haaa haa what else can you expect from thiefentus.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 6:29pm
Is it just me or have Juve not been playing as well since Alessio took over? I think Carrera was better because he was more like Conte on the bench but Alessio is too quiet and reserved. Thankfully Juve will have the man himself back in a months time but to be honest I thought not having Conte on the bench would have effected the team but it hasn't really.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 5:57pm
What a great result for inter .,how do u feel all u rubentini ha ha ha forza inter
on the 5th November, 2012 at 5:15pm
defenders like facing the play but they don't like being turned and facing their own goal and that's what happened when juve scored they was turned and was all over the place im fine with the 352 i think the wing backs do get forward but the ball doesn't come quick enough i personally would play pogba more he has a decent pass in hes game and he wants to go forward rather than sideways the annoying thing is conte doesn't see this slow build up play and pirlo doesn't seem to want to play the pass
on the 5th November, 2012 at 5:03pm
@ Daniel Giambrone
finally someone else sees this,as juve fans you have to ask yourself why the chances came to marchisio and not the forwards well its simple even though juve played with tempo the first 20 it was in front of inter the only ball that was on was the ball for marchisio and the run comes from deep its hard to pick that run up coming from deep,the forwards cant make this run when juve play infront of the back four because their space is gone.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 4:59pm
Juve will achieve true greatness when Conte returns to the bench and we sell the little lad. Conte was missed badly for that game. Fair play to Inter for their tactical assault, Conte would have made the necessary adjustments however. Poor Alessio made a dogs dinner of it.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 4:23pm
Apologies for my, (almost), duplicate post below! Good point Sadia! It will be fascinating to see how they react. Although I feel it will be more of a Rocky, than an Audley Harrison, (like Arsenal after their KO after 49). The sooner Micky, (Conte), comes back the better. His fire is missed from the touchline.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 4:04pm
The way Juve respond now will prove that they are a great team. It is a long season and a lot can still happen.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 2:25pm
I suppose it was a good thing that Juve finally lost otherwise there would have been all this talk of conspiracy. Having said that, did they have to lose to Inter?? That does sting any Juventino. This can have a good affect also, they don't have the added pressure of this unbeaten record to hold on to, they can start afresh. What worried me slight was the lack of cutting edge and also why bring Bendtner in on a game of this magnitude, he looked clunky on the ball.
This loss will spur Juve again.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 11:39am
Inter deserved the win no doubt Lichtsteiner should of gone the juve goal looked off in real time let alone in the replay. Juventus cause their own downfall the way they play 3 players in the team slow the game down almost at every junction, which is perplexing when you play with wing backs its set up for a switch in play and counter attacks until juventus play with tempo and counter faster instead of playing in front of teams they will struggle, they don't have the players to pick a defense
on the 5th November, 2012 at 11:26am
Inter deserved the win no doubt Lichtsteiner should of gone the juve goal looked off in real time let alone in the replay. Juventus cause their own downfall the way they play 3 players in the team slow the game down almost at every junction, which is perplexing when you play with wing backs its set up for a switch in play and counter attacks until juventus play with tempo and counter faster instead of playing in front of teams they will struggle, they don't have the players to pick a defense.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 11:25am
Yes, Inter won because of Ref`s mistakes.

Thank you for the laughter Rinaldi. ha ha haa.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 11:23am
R.I.P cheating Rubentus..haa ha ha
on the 5th November, 2012 at 10:40am
I have to agree with @Paul when he questions the lack of goals from Juve's forwards. Sure, they haven't been great, but has their supply been great?! Every time, I watch Juve play, I notice that the midfielders & wing-backs have as many shots as the forwards. Like Paul says, the midfield can be too slow in getting the ball forward. By which time, their opponents have many back behind the ball, creating congestion for the front men. Maybe a switch to a 433 could remedy this?!
on the 5th November, 2012 at 10:37am
@Paul constantly brings up a good argument about Juve and their striker situation. I have to agree with him, when he places some of the blame at the midfield. Whenever I watch Juve play, I do not see the midfield & wing-backs creating numerous chances for the forwards. What I do see is the midfielders having most of the shots at goal. Like Paul says, the midfield can be too slow in getting the ball forward. Whilst the forwards haven't been great, I do not blame them 100% for their lack of goals
on the 5th November, 2012 at 10:25am
Destro was unfortunate! Did his shirt come off his body?
IMO, Roma have a better attacking trident than Inter. Totti is much better than Cassano, Lamela is also superior to Palacio. Whilst Milito vs Osvaldo is very close-this season. Blasphemy, but are Roma better without De Rossi? De Rossi doesn't really suit Zeman's tactics as he is very slow on the ball. Bradley was terrific yesterday. He was really dynamic, pacy, & not without skill. Zeman has a dilemma!
on the 5th November, 2012 at 10:15am
"Inter’s penalty was clear cut"

Excuse me sir, I think you had your eyes poked recently.

Alessio blew it. He gave the match to Inter. Juve only need Conte back.

on the 5th November, 2012 at 9:41am

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