Juventus players and fans alike felt like they had seen the worst ninety minutes the Bianconeri have played in years. Luckily they got their act together and though they couldn't wrap up the fixture in overtime, they slipped through on penalties having fully deserved to be eliminated today.
After winning the first leg back at Juventus Stadium, today's return leg at Inter Milan looked like a formality. However, the hosts came out fired up, the visitors looked thoroughly confused and the referee spent more time coiffing his hair and smiling at players than actually enforcing any sort of discipline in an ill-tempered Derby d'Italia fixture.
The 3-0 aggregate lead disappeared as Juve slumped and then somehow hung on to force extra time. The introduction of Paul Pogba gave the team a spine again, but they missed multiple chances to get that elusive away goal.
Manager Massimiliano Allegri had this to say after the embarrassing performance -
"It wasn't easy to reach the Final, as we had such a packed fixture list. First of all I must compliment the lads for what they are doing.
"Of course tonight for 70 minutes we didn't play at all. Inter ran hard and put pressure on us, from that point on we started to move well and created some chances to avoid extra time. After that the lads did well to win on penalties and achieve our objective."
He went on to comment on the nature of the goals conceded, but refused to make any excuses -
"The first goal was probably a bit of a foul, but having said that we should've dealt with it better and not handed the chance to Inter.
"The second goal was a mistaken challenge, the third a penalty on a 50 metre pass. We have to do better.
"I did expect Inter to cause us problems and I said many times in the Press conference that we weren't qualified. It would've been better to start at 0-0, because having a 3-0 lead took something away from us in terms of concentration."
He recalled a similar comeback from his days at AC Milan, and took the blame for his under-performing players -
"It's happened to me before, my Milan won the first leg 3-0 with Arsenal, then we were 4-0 down in London. It's a dangerous situation.
"This is another part of the growth process, as when you have young players and go into games that seem easy and aren't, you learn to do better. Inter deserve credit and we deserve criticism.
"Inter were very intense and we didn't keep the right distances. I don't think we managed two consecutive passes in the first half and so we were struggling in possession as well as off. Clearly I didn't prepare them properly for the game."
Allegri went on to defend youngster Daniele Rugani who was badly exposed today playing at this level of the game -
"Daniele Rugani has great quality and will one day be a first choice player for Juventus. He needs to gain experience, above all when playing three at the back, as he's not accustomed to it. He needs to relax, as he has improved a great deal since he arrived.
"Part of the learning process is putting in some performances that aren't great."
Finally, when asked if he was going to tweet his usual ‘Fiuuu' - Italian for ‘phew' -
"Do I say ‘Phew' after this? A huge phew! A long phew!"