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Italy - Serie A
March 25, 2012
• Juventus Stadium, Torino
Referee: A. De Marco
• Attendance: 40102
M. Cáceres 57'
A. Del Piero 71'
That's it from me. Many thanks for all your contributions, as always. Keep it goal.com, and we'll see you again soon.
The final whistle goes. Juventus are rewarded for a scintillating second-half display, and a lot of credit has to go to Antonio Conte for his switch to a 3-5-2 there. Totally transformed the game. As for Inter, how much worse can this season get? Presumably, the last insult would be not qualifying for Europe, a situation that is looking ever more likely.
90' + 1'
We're into three mintues of added time. Juventus are going within four points of Milan at the top of Serie A, and are about to wrap up a 29th consecutive league game without defeat. Record breakers.
Oh come on, Giorgio. Diego Milito runs across Chiellini chasing a hopeful ball forward, and the centre back throws himself down before protesting furiously to the referee. No need for that.
Good chance for 3-0, as Vidal plays in Quagliarella. However, his near-post shot is blocked by the foot of Julio Cesar. The amount of times Juve have been able to split the Inter defence in the second half has been unbelievable.
Almost! Although the effort comes from a Juventus defender. Giorgio Chiellini dives to head the ball to safety, but the ball is heading in to the bottom corner. Buffon catches well, and glares at his centre back. He doesn't want to spoil a fine performance tonight.
Barzagli heads Maicon's corner up and over the bar. Corner to Inter - chance of a consolation?
Super save! Andrea Pirlo whips in a doozy of a free-kick, and Chiellini rises highest to power a header down at goal. He is foiled by a flying Julio Cesar, who palms the ball over the bar with incredible agility. Inter's marking from set-pieces leaves a lot to be desired.
Oh dear Yuto. Nagatomo is woefully off target with a cross aimed for Pazzini, and Buffon catches the ball unchallenged. Nothing dangerous coming from these Inter attacks I'm afraid.
Some nice play from Quagliarella to spread the ball this way and that on the edge of the box. The ball almost drops for the substitute striker but Maicon wins the tussle and can clear. The home side are pouring forward at every opportunity, in search of a morale-boosting third goal.
Up the other end, Maicon still looks Inter's most creative outlet. However, his crosses are being gobbled up by a combination of Buffon and Chiellini. I don't fancy the Nerazzurri's chances of finding a breakthrough in these last ten minutes.
Off the line! Fantastic skill from centre-back Giorgio Chiellini, who drifts through three Inter players and is through on goal. Unselfishly, he slips the ball across to Quagliarella, but the striker's finish is kept out by a fantastic sliding block by Maicon. How did that not go in? How?
Another corner for Juventus, as Lucio stretches to knock the ball behind. Forlan blocks the ball behind and Pirlo has another chance...
Yellow CardPaolo De Ceglie
Paolo De Ceglie is booked as he brings down Javier Zanetti. Inter look shell-shocked here, and are struggling to get any kind of foothold in the game.
Vucinic hasn't quite got off the hook for that miss, however. He is substituted straight after that goal to be replaced by Fabio Quagliarella.
GoalAlessandro Del Piero
GOOOAAALLLL! Vucinic is off the hook straight away, as Juventus take a two goal lead. Artuto Vidal slips a superb pass in behind the Inter defence, and on the end of it is Alessandro Del Piero, who slips the ball calmly past Julio Cesar. Delightful pass, super goal.
Massive miss from Vucinic! The Montenegrin can't believe he is onside from Pirlo's pass, but has all the time in the world to beat Julio Cesar. He side-foots straight at the keeper. Terrible miss.
Diego Milito hasn't seen anything of the ball in this second half, but battles his way past three players to hit a low shot towards goal from the edge of the box. It rolls harmlessly wide of Julio Cesar's post, but full marks for the effort.
In fact, he makes two. Replacing Joel Obi and Andrea Poli are Giampaolo Pazzini and Colombian Fredy Guarin, who is on loan from Porto. Full of attacking purpose, that change.
The spark has gone from Inter I'm afraid. Guess that's what happens when a side with no confidence plays well and then goes behind. Ranieri will have to make a change soon.
Silky, silky play. Andrea Pirlo glides past two challenges, spreads the play to Vidal, who plays an instant ball through to Del Piero. It cries out to be hit first time, but the striker wants one more touch and is eventually crowded out. Delightful break all the same.
Alessandro Del Piero turns well inside the box but his cross is turned away by Lucio. Some real class shown by the 37 year-old there to spin away from two challenges. He's still got it.
What a difference a goal can make. Juventus Stadium is absolutely jubilant, and the home side is responding. Maybe it's the 3-5-2 formation, maybe it's the fortunate breakthrough of the goal, but Juve are suddenly making all of the running. They have another corner here...
GOOOOAAALLLL! From Pirlo's corner, Martin Caceres is totally unmarked inside the box, and plants an easy header into the net. Against the run of play, the Bianconeri are in front.
Close! A dipping strike from Marchisio is well tipped over from Julio Cesar. Corner...
So Juve have turned to their old talisman to find the breakthrough here. Can Del Piero provide the spark that his side need to reignite their title bid?
@Brian_alhwayek That would be 4 smart saves from Buffon so far.
Alessandro Del Piero
Here come said changes. Simone Pepe comes off to be replaced by Leonardo Bonucci, and Alessandro Del Piero replaces Matri in attack. Looks like Antonio Conte will be switching to a three-man defence, then. He will hope that adds a bit more pace to the attacks, as Inter have found the Old Lady's forward play fairly easy to deal with thus far.
Juventus are preparing a double substitution here...
A splendid ball from Vucinic switches the play from left to right, and Simone Pepe is away inside the area. However, the no.7 elects to shoot when Arturo Vidal was well placed, and Julio Cesar is able to make a simple block. Bit of a waste.
Twice, Paolo De Ceglie swings a left-foot cross into the box, and twice, Walter Samuel powers a header away from danger. The Argentine will eat those up all night long.
Nagatomo has the first shot of the second half. But from his 25-yard effort, Buffon makes a smart save. How many times have I written that sentence? Someone count...
Maicon is so frighteningly fast. The Brazilian marauds forward and nobody can get near him, but when the ball finds its way back to the Brazilian, his cross is too heavy for any striker to get near.
Some great comments coming in RE: Sneijder. Keep them coming, but we have a match to play - the teams have just kicked off at Juventus Stadium.
@Alshababomar - With Sneijder on the team Inter would have been losing right now...he must leave.
@th0tMasteR - Sneijder is leaving in summer. So good that Poli has been given more game time. He is Inter's future in midfield.
@a_osman12 - Best Inter performance since their derby win.
@pressthat - I think Sneijder is a good football player... but he's just not happy with Inter. It's not a stable environment. Affects his form.
@tibrai - Sneijder is not in the best of shapes at the moment and Inter's every attack is supposed to go through him.
Umm. Well the scrutiny on referees is incredibly high, so every slight mistake tends to get blown out of proportion. De Marco has performed reasonably well tonight, save the Chiellini tackle on Milito.
@pressthat - Good game, but the referee is very very poor in my opinion. Are we getting critical, or referee quality just going down ?
@saurabh_36 - No way! If Sneijder was playing then I'm sure inter would've scord. Sneijder is a fantastic player.
Thanks for all your tweets so far. Keep them coming to @woodstome. Here's a talking point for you. Inter are playing well; Wesley Sneijder is not in the team. Are the two linked?
th0tMasteR - The ref seems to be totally biased towards Juve. Milito was through on goal, Poli was fouled. Yet, no yellow card.
The half time whistle blows. Man of the match so far? Gianluigi Buffon. The Italy keeper has made several fine stops to prevent Inter from taking the lead here, while Juve have not tested Julio Cesar anything like as much. Could this long unbeaten league record be under threat? Join us in the second half to find out.
Yellow CardAndrea Poli
Andrea Poli swings Vucinic round by the neck, and throws the striker to the floor. Unsurprisingly, that's a booking for the Italian.
Paolo De Ceglie is going a grand job against the double-headed attack of Javier Zanetti and Maicon. The Juve defence needs to hold firm at the minute, Inter are bang on top.
Buffon again! A Juve clearance falls to Dejan Stankovic 30 yards out, and the Serb fires a thumping volley straight back at goal. The Juve keeper is at full stretch to keep the ball out there. Would have been some goal had that gone in.
Andrea Pirlo gives the ball away and Inter are almost in. Nagatomo's cross is well blocked by Caceres, but the pivotal midfielder went to sleep there.
Good effort from Vucinic, who fires a shot through a crowd of bodies on the edge of the box. Julio Cesar makes the save. Real end to end stuff here.
That has to be a foul! Excellent link up play between Milito and Forlan, and Giorgio Chiellini's challenge on the Argentine looks totally unfair. Nothing given, and Inter are furious. Milito would have been through on goal.
Absolute thunderbolt from Joel Obi, who cuts inside before blasting an effort towards goal from 30 yards. Again, Buffon is well behind the ball and beats the ball away.
Yellow CardYuto Nagatomo
@saurabh_36 - the first 35mins has realy just flown by... Know what you mean. I haven't caught my breath yet.
What a first touch from Milito. The Argentine forward kills a long ball stone dead with his outstretched boot, and fires a volley that a diving Buffon beats away. His next touch, however, is not so heavenly, as he blasts the loose ball over the bar and into the stands. Inter have really threatened in patches here.
Vucinic has, apparently, barged Maicon to the floor there. I'm not sure that's physically possible. Free-kick to Inter all the same.
Maicon wins a corner from Paolo De Ceglie, and from the resulting kick Diego Forlan's header almost gives the away side the lead. The Uruguayan's header is expertly blocked by Buffon, who stayed alert on his goal line. Another fine save from the Italian stopper.
Marchisio and those pink boots have really woken up. The midfielder bursts forward yet again and feeds Pepe out wide. His cross is flicked on by Caceres and Vucinic is inches away from connecting. How many of these chances are Juve going to pass up?
@tibrai - Milito is a player you wouldn't want one on one with your keeper. Still a class finisher so Juve should be careful with him.
Inter are almost the architects of their own downfall there. Stankovic inexplicably passes the ball straight to Marchisio, who just misses Pepe with his cross. An example of how not to defend.
Vidal drives in a shot from 25 yards, which bounces just in front of Julio Cesar, but the keeper is still able to save comfortably. Definitely worth a go though.
Vucinic may be a man in form, but he's just taken the ball off his own player who was well placed to shoot. Marchisio had broken into space on the left hand side of the box, but the Montenegrin came steaming in to flick over a cross to nobody. A few quizzical glances are thrown the striker's way.
@moonbyte - as a Milan fan,i can't support Inter,so another of those many draws Juve have played this season should suffice.
Ah, what a shame. Juventus break at speed and Andrea Pirlo looks to have played Claudio Marchisio into space. However, he can't control the ball as it skips off the turf, and the chance is gone. Not enough grip in those pink boots, maybe.
Tight game so far, fiercely competitive in midfield and somewhat lightweight in defence. This promises goals you know...
Clear header for Matri! Straight at Julio Cesar! The no.32 is totally unmarked to meet Martin Caceres' cross, but can't direct his effort either side of the Brazilian keeper. Big chance, big miss.
Chance. Maicon's through ball finds Milito, who takes a touch inside the area before poking a shot towards goal. Buffon is down quickly to push the ball behind. Good save.
Nice play from Obi again over on the left wing. The young Nigerian shows Martin Caceres a clean set of heels but his cross can't find Milito.
From Maicon's kick, Giorgio Chiellini goes down rather theatrically under pressure from Walter Samuel. Neither player exactly shies away from an aerial challenge do they.
A nice overlap from Maicon leads to a driven cross, a clearance, and Inter's first corner of the game...
That's a little better. Obi and Yuto Nagatomo combine down the left wing, and the latter pulls a cross over to Andrea Poli, who can't get any meaningful contact on the ball under pressure from his marker.
The ball keeps coming back at Inter. Lucio is at full stretch there to head away a Caceres cross, and Diego Forlan can't control the ball - allowing Pirlo to take the ball straight back.
No time for Inter to settle here, as you might expect. The home side is all over them, snapping into every tackle with ferocity. Let's hope this tempo holds.
First real opening for the home side. Joel Obi's slip allows Arturo Vidal to skip past him and feed Pepe, who puts in a cross towards Matri. There are enough Inter bodies back to block the cross and keep the advancing Vucinic at bay. Lots of Juventus energy in these early stages.
Andrea Pirlo could not be calmer on the ball. That said, he almost gives the ball away to Diego Forlan by his own corner flag there. Needs to be a tad more careful.
Mirko Vucinic's first introduction to Maicon is to run straight into the Brazilian right-back, who stands firm to win the ball. That is going to be some tussle.
Here we go then. Hold on to your hats...
Just before kick-off, we will have a minute's silence in memory of an Italian soldier killed in Afghanistan yesterday. Impeccably observed.
I should also point out that the home fans have unfurled an enormous '29' banner here - referencing the amount of league titles they have won, INCLUDING those that were later stripped of them and awarded to Inter. Spicy stuff.
Here come the teams. Home colours all round – the famous black and white against the equally iconic blue and black. Your referee tonight is Andrea De Marco.
Claudio Ranieri’s side have Diego Forlan back in attack, where he will partner Diego Milito. Nigerian Joel Obi replaces the injured Wesley Sneijder in a midfield four alongside Javier Zanetti, Dejan Stankovic and Andrea Poli. Full lineup (4-4-2): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Stankovic; Poli, Obi; Forlan, Milito. Subs: Castellazzi, Ranocchia, Chivu, Faraoni, Cambiasso, Guarin, Pazzini.
Here are your teams for tonight’s match. For Juventus, Gianluigi Buffon is back in goal after being rested in midweek and Alessandro Matri replaces Alessandro Del Piero up front. Full lineup (4-3-3): Buffon, Caceres, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Pepe, Matri, Vucinic Subs: Storari, Bonucci, Marrone, Padoin, Del Piero, Quagliarella, Borriello.
I should add, of course, that in league terms, Juve are on a 28 match unbeaten run, which equals the record held by one Fabio Capello. Scudetto or not, this season has been a remarkable step forward for the Old Lady.
Another point of contention, while we’re at it. Are Juventus still unbeaten this season? You might think that this week’s thrilling Coppa Italia semi-final with Milan was the end of that incredible run, with the Rossoneri leading 2-1 after 90 minutes. Mirko Vucinic’s stunner earned a 2-2 draw in extra time, but of course those extra 30 minutes were only played by virtue of that ‘defeat’. Juve fans, I have braced myself for your response…
Inter fans, are your team about sweep all this controversy aide with victory over one of its oldest rivals? Keep your thoughts coming in to @woodstome on Twitter.
For Inter, some quarters are still claiming third place is attainable, but others will feel the end of this season cannot come soon enough. After one win in their last nine league games, and currently sitting eighth in the table, this is a side still very much in crisis. Club president Massimo Moratti walked out of last week’s 0-0 draw at home to Atalanta, and as far as I’m concerned, Diego Forlan definitely refused to come off the bench in the same game. Whatever the reality, it’s clear that some of the Nerazzurri’s high-profile stars are chronically struggling for form, and appear very disgruntled with how the club is presently being run.
Last season, it was the Nerazzurri that ran Milan closest in the Serie A title race, while Juventus were languishing outside of the European places. This time round, the roles are in reverse. Antonio Conte’s side are currently seven points adrift of Milan, but will still harbour ambitions of overturning that deficit.
I’m positively buzzing about bringing you the action tonight from Juventus Stadium. Got some thoughts on the game? Get them over to me on Twitter via @woodstome, and I’ll feature as many of your comments as possible.
Welcome to Goal.com for one of the tastiest fixtures in the world football calendar; Juventus versus Inter. The contrasting fortunes of these two giants of the game couldn’t be more striking at present, but nevertheless the outcome of this Derby d’Italia will have a huge impact on both clubs' respective seasons.
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