With the way their last two games against Inter have gone and knowing they had a 3-0 aggregate lead in their back pocket, it's understandable that Juventus maybe didn't view this game with the usual bite and fervor as previous ones. Maybe take a little bit of the foot off the gas, know there's room for error, be a little more conservative than usual, that type of stuff we may not normally see from Max Allegri and Juventus.
By the time the full 90 minutes were gone, the same could be said for Juventus' aggregate lead.
One Inter goal. Then another one. Then another one. Inter knew they were coming into Wednesday's second leg playing with house money and nothing to lose, and they definitely showed it. The only situation that would have been more of a complete disaster was Inter finding a fourth in regular time and sending Juventus packing just when we thought they were going to see out this second leg and head off to face the red and black side of Milan in the Coppa Italia final in May.
If you thought Inter-Juventus was going to go to penalties, well, then you should probably go to your local corner store and buy yourself a lottery ticket or two.
The good thing in all of this? Juventus' 90 minutes of crap didn't totally come back to bite them. Juve went 5 for 5 from the penalty spot and saw Rodrigo Palacio clang one off the crossbar to salvage the win on the aggregate scoreline and advance to their second consecutive Coppa Italia final.
Just like we all thought would happen, right?
Let's not mess around or beat around the bush here: This was an awful Juventus performance. They had absolutely no business to even risk going to extra time, let alone see things decided by penalties. Allowing Inter to score one goal wasn't the problem, it was the fact that Juve completely let them back into the tie and had no kind of response at all. I mean, it wasn't even until the 53rd minute that Juve are had some semblance of an attack that caused problems for Inter's defense.
It was one of those games, for sure. And one of those games I really hope is just a simple by product of having such a huge aggregate lead more than anything else. Let's not forget Juve's got another aggregate scoreline to try and win in a couple of weeks. And I feel pretty safe in saying the team they'll be playing that day is a whole lot better than the one they faced at the San Siro on Wednesday night.
But hey, I guess Juve saw Inter rally all the way back only to eliminate them from the Coppa Italia on penalties. Just when they thought they were back, we pulled the okie-doke and ruined what would have been one of Juventus' worst losses in a pretty good while.
Never in doubt, right? (Don't answer that.)
Random thoughts and obserations
- To quote a friend of mine by the name of Jorid (you might know him): When it's Derby d'Italia day, but you're facing scrubs, so you sitting at home just chilling...
See you soon, Claudio. Miss you.
- On the docket for training on Thursday: Work on your distribution, Neto. Foul or no foul on Hernanes, that pass should have never been made with Gary Medel breathing down his neck.
- Juventus had no shots in the first half. Rumor has it Juventus actually had two strikers on the field during that time, too.
- It's the 95th minute and Neto makes a good save on Ivan Perisic. You're probably thinking to yourself, "But why is Perisic even on the field after choke slamming Juan Cuadrado a couple of minutes earlier?" Don't worry because just about everybody was thinking the same exact thing.
- It's hard to think of a Juventus player who played more than okay kind of game.
- Yep, same.
- Daniele Rugani will catch heat for causing the penalty that resulted in Inter going up 3-0 and tying the score on aggregate. And, hey, it was the right call from a referee who was an absolute hot mess then entire game start to finish. But even with Rugani's extraordinary talent, there's going to be mistakes. It's not like he's been playing a ton lately, so his sharpness won't be there like it would if he were a regular starter like he was at Empoli.
- It's a shame Leonardo Bonucci will be missing the Coppa Italia final due to the yellow card he picked up against Inter. Who's got money on Giorgio Chiellini trying to play but having to be subbed off in the first half because he's injured. (Too soon?)
- Can we be done with the 4-4-2? It's not working. It really isn't. Juventus hasn't looked close to the same team when it uses a 4-4-2 compared to the 3-5-2. Obviously the 2-2 draw against Bayern and Wednesday's mess at the San Siro are the two glaring examples, but it's just not truly suited for the players that Juve has. Please, Max, do what needs to be done.
- That's all I need to say about that. Honestly, there's not much to say about that. You watched, I watched, we all watched. Juve's in the Coppa Italia final, and that's what matters.