SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 34 - 27 Apr 2019 (19.30 UK)
Inter 1 - 1 Juventus
Nainggolan 7 (I), Ronaldo 62 (J)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

The Derby d’Italia was a game of two spectacular goals, as Radja Nainggolan’s rocket of a volley was cancelled out by Cristiano Ronaldo’s daisy-cutter.

The Bianconeri had already won the Scudetto and came to San Siro missing numerous players, including Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, Rodrigo Bentancur, Douglas Costa and Sami Khedira, but Giorgio Chiellini returned from a calf injury. The Nerazzurri wanted to consolidate third place and possibly chase Napoli down in second. Mauro Icardi got back into the starting XI at the expense of Lautaro Martinez, with Marcelo Brozovic returning from injury.

Inter have not beaten Juve since a 2-1 home result in September 2016, now managing only two draws and three defeats. They took the opportunity to openly mock the Bianconeri for their quarter-final exit to Ajax, as the entire Curva Nord was a huge choreography depicting the Champions League trophy with the words: ‘Game Over.’

It was the perfect start for the hosts, because just seven minutes in a corner came out to 25-30 metres for the most extraordinary Nainggolan right-foot volley that swerved viciously in the air, so that when Wojciech Szczesny did get an arm to it, the ball bounced back off it and into the net.

Inter kept pushing, as Szczesny palmed an Icardi strike over from a tight angle, then on the resulting corner blocked Stefan de Vrij’s header on the line.

Federico Bernardeschi’s ferocious effort skimmed the bar with Samir Handanovic stranded, while Blaise Matuidi used his body to charge down an Icardi effort from point-blank range on a corner.

Cristiano Ronaldo also fired just over from distance, but Juve barely made an impact in a dismal first half performance.

Perisic’s daisy-cutter shaved a coat of paint off the base of the near post, but Juventus woke up when Moise Kean replaced Blaise Matuidi.

First Ronaldo’s strike from close range was charged down by De Vrij, almost without the defender’s knowledge, then moments later CR7 completed a give-and-go with Miralem Pjanic’s back-heel flick to hit a left-foot daisy-cutter into the near bottom corner from the edge of the box. It was unstoppable and got Juventus back on level terms.

Kwadwo Asamoah risked an own goal with his chest back to Handanovic, while Perisic seemed as if he had to score, but blasted from close range and Szczesny got his fingertips to it.

Juve increasingly pinned Inter back and Handanovic did well to keep a Pjanic volley under control, as it went through a sea of legs. Emre Can then smashed his strike inches over the crossbar, while substitute Joao Mario stung Szczesny’s gloves within a minute of coming off the bench.

Matheus Pereira made his Serie A debut and almost scored the winner in the final minute, as Ronaldo’s cross went over after a double ricochet in the six-yard box.

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Inter: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic; Politano (Joao Mario 79), Nainggolan (Borja Valero 74), Perisic; Icardi (Lautaro Martinez 82)
Juventus: Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro (Spinazzola 49); Emre Can, Pjanic, Matuidi (Kean 60); Cuadrado, Ronaldo, Bernardeschi (Matheus Pereira 86)
Ref: Banti