Il Derby d'Italia is always an entertaining affair, Juventus' players don't even need outside motivation to play this match — they know how much it matters to the fans and for the institution as a whole.
And t was no surprise that the stadium was as loud as it gets for the full 90 minutes. Sunday night's derby lived up to all the expectations,
Juventus came out all guns blazing, Andrea Pirlo dictating the tempo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba dominating midfield, and Inter just taking it like they have been used to doing since 1908.
It all started about three minutes from the beginning with Tevez forcing a double save from Samir Handanovic. For the next few minutes, I noticed Pirlo started to play poorly, slipping and giving away passes. I foolishly thought, "Pirlo should've been on the bench and Claudio Marchisio on the field." Then, Pirlo silenced me and any of his critics with an impossible assist for Lichtsteiner, who clinically made it 1-0. During the celebration, the Swiss felt like he had to pay tribute to the Italian regista.
From then on, Juventus dominated for the remaining of the 45 minutes with Marco Storari mostly playing the role of another fan, only challenged during the last few minutes when Leonardo Bonucci's slip left Juve one man down at the back. Good thing Palacio's aim was off.
During the second half, Juve continued its dominance and doubled their lead at the beginning of the second half. King Giorgio took advantage of a poorly cleared corner and made it 2-0. Vidal put the game beyond any doubt 10 minutes after the restart of the half. Credit goes to Fernando Llorente on that goal. The Spaniard held the ball so well before letting Pogba take a shot. Handanovic parried the ball away but Vidal came looking for it and made it 3-0. Seventy minutes into the match, Rolando scored a consolation goal for Inter.
From then on, Inter had a few chances but nothing that really troubled Juventus. At the other end, Mirko Vucinic hit the post in what would have been the perfect opportunity for Juventus to rub the wound. Oh well.
Storari 6.5 - Had little to do all game, but missed a pass at the end of the first half.
Chiellini 7.5 - He was a rock at the back and offered options going forward — and then there was the goal. He almost assisted a Bonucci goal in the first half and had a decent effort parried away by Handanovic. He will never be Messi, but when he charges into the area the opposing defense has no idea how to deal with him. Loved his celebrations.
Bonucci 6.0 - Almost got Juve into a lot of trouble leaving the Juve defense in a 3v2 situation. Besides that, he had little to do.
Barzagli 7.0 - A rock at the back, what else is new? Let's hope his substitution is nothing serious.
Asamoah 7.0 - Terrorized the left hand side and had a few shots on goal blocked.
Pogba 6.5 - His talent was on display today, and what a talent that is. He was instrumental for the third goal but gets a 0.5 deduction for a reckless challenge on an Inter player and another 0.5 deduction for that dummy.
Pirlo 8.0 - As I said above, if there was any doubt of what Pirlo brings to the table, check out the first goal. He even contributed in defense a few times. He faded away in the second half showing he is not in his best shape yet. With that being said, it's nice to have Marchisio ready to step up.
Vidal 8.0 - Yes there was the goal but that was just the cherry on top. At some point in the first half he tackled Kovacic in Juve's box, and a few second later was sprinting on the right hand side like nothing. His goal was not a clinical shot, or a remarkable piece of individual talent; it was just that Vidal wanted to get to that ball more than any other Inter defender. That is grinta.
Lichtsteinter 7.5 - Ran like crazy, defended and attacked when needed, and scored the opening goal. Hard to ask more of him.
Tevez 7.0 - I feel like he hasn't scored a goal in ages. With that being said, he never stopped running and was a constant headache for Inter's defense.
Llorente 7.0 - Didn't score today but has instrumental on the third goal. His footwork is excellent and his strength makes it very hard for the opposition defense to deal with.
Conte 7.5 - Conte organized his team well and came on top against Mazarri for the umpteenth time. It is hard to criticize a coach that has done so well, but I wish he would replace players a few minutes before. Besides that, his choice of Pirlo over Marchisio was spot on.
Things I think I think
- I wanted a shootout, it's been a while, but it wasn't to be. It was nice to see Martin Caceres play again, but the defense looks shakier without Barzagli. I hope the Italian center back is okay.
- That Pogba dummy... it almost cost Juve a goal. Just like the Pagelle reflects, the kid is an immense talent, and the moment he can keep his focus for the full 90 minutes, he would be the best midfielder in the world.
- With the Roma match being cancelled, Juventus sit nine points ahead of the team from the capital. The pressure will be on them to win that game now.
- You know you have a good team when missing Gigi Buffon, and for that matter Barzagli (and Pirlo in the past) does not mean the team comes crumbling down.
- How epic would have been if Mirko scored that last attempt?
Juventus continue their unbeaten streak that started after the Florence debacle. It must be frustrating for other teams to see the Old Lady cross off opponents week-in and week-out. That's just how good this team is, I don't mind it one bit.