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Juventus 2 - Inter Milan 4: Initial reaction and random observations

On a night in which you wanted the players to decide the game, an Italian referee played a major role again.

Juventus v FC Internazionale - Coppa Italia Final Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/vi/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

For the first time in a long time, Juventus will not finish the season with a trophy.

It’s been a decade since that last season without a trophy, one that won’t be rehashed any more than that reference right there. Hell, it’s been just about as long as this blog has been alive.

But with Wednesday night’s result — and a little (or a lotta) help from referee Paolo Valeri and VAR — Juve’s run of seasons with at least one trophy to their name came to an end at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Juventus and Inter Milan needed extra time to decide the 2022 Coppa Italia final. But a span of 2 minutes and 19 seconds in which Juve swung the lead suddenly in their favor couldn’t hold, as Inter got the tying goal 10 minutes from time on a very questionable penalty call and then took the lead for good with a pair of goals in extra time, handing the clearly-frustrated Bianconeri a heavy 4-2 defeat. It ends up being a result that both ensures that Juve won’t win a trophy this season after so much damn domestic success and is just the final step in what has been a season full of frustration for both the manager, the players and the fans alike.

You could see it as things fell apart in extra time.

You could clearly see it when Max Allegri was raging on the sidelines as he was sent off after Inter’s second penalty came to be and put away by Ivan Perisic. (Although, in a slightly disappointing move, all of that Allegri rage came with the suit jacket still on, which is somewhat of a miracle given what we’ve seen from him in the past.)

But this result, even with all of the refereeing controversy that will come out of this, is just another example of Juve’s inability to get results against the top clubs in Italy. They were winless against Inter, they were winless against AC Milan and they were winless against Napoli this season. As much as we want Juventus to be in that top group, they’re not going to be a true top-level club again until they’re able to get results against the big boys.

Did Juve deserve to win this one? If you take from how they played after the opening 10 or so minutes to how things were going before Inter tied things up with that penalty call, then you can make a good case that Juve were the better team. But, the devil’s advocate of it all will say that Allegri was way too quick to set up shop and go to a 3-5-2 immediately after Alvaro Morata and Dusan Vlahovic gave the Bianconeri the lead with their quick two haymakers to get the lead for the first time all night.

Inter was wobbling, and while Allegri trying to defend that 2-1 lead was a predictable move from a manager who loves to defend a one-goal lead no matter what his defense is, it came back to him and his team no matter how controversial the penalty call that led to the game-tying goal ended up being.

There will be a lot of discourse about the penalty decisions because it’s Italy and that’s what happens. (Although, can you imagine the outrage if the shoe was on the other foot and it was Juve getting two game-changing penalty calls in the same kind of manner that Inter did? Yikes times about a million.)

But, with Wednesday night’s loss, Juventus will end this season without a trophy and with fewer points than they did a year ago when everything looked like it was somewhat of a mess. So, yeah, consider me disappointed that Juve couldn’t salvage something out of this night even when Inter’s going to be the ones completely benefiting from questionable refereeing.

RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS

  • Surely there will be Inter supporters who read this and think that I’m about to be a homer, but I don’t care. That’s not a penalty. Not at all. It’s clear right away that you can see Lautaro Martinez hook his leg into Leo Bonucci’s calf/hamstring and falls immediately. The fact that the referee didn’t go over and look at it knowing full well the game was on the line in such a big moment of the night just shows all that is wrong with how Serie A officials handle VAR.
  • OK, rant over. At least for that part of the game.
  • The second penalty call, which definitely more of a foul than the first one, just magnifies how inconsistent these referees are with how they handle these big calls. Did Matthijs de Ligt commit a foul in the box? Yeah, probably. But when you already have this game swing on one major refereeing decision, you know for sure that another one that results in Inter taking the lead is going to be even more of a major decision. And, surprise, it was.
  • In conclusion, Paolo Valeri leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to refereeing.
  • It took Juventus more than 22 minutes to even attempt a shot.
  • Juventus went the final 30 minutes of regular time without a shot attempted.
  • This is what the experts would describe as “Juventus’ defense giving somebody way too much space to shoot.”:
Juventus v FC Internazionale - Coppa Italia Final Photo by Silvia Lore/Getty Images
  • So is it on Federico Bernardeschi or is it on somebody else for not stepping up and covering Barella’s cut inside from the left wing? Bernardeschi biting on the run into the box for even a split second completely opened things up for Barella to make the run he did and get all the time in the world to take that shot. It was a great shot, sure, but it definitely helped that there was nobody around him whatsoever as he was winding up to make contact with the ball.
  • And this game proves again why Juventus needed to pepper Samir Handanovic in the Inter goal.
  • Like, seriously, putting barely anything on frame after Vlahovic’s goal really just speaks to how Allegri was completely uninterested in getting a third goal after taking the lead.
  • They cut to Arthur toward the end of the second extra time period and he looked completely exhausted and gasping for air. Arthur came on in the 84th minute as Allegri ditched the 3-5-2 and went back to his original type of plan.
  • I really wanted Giorgio Chiellini to win a trophy in his last cup final as a Juve player.
  • I really wanted Paulo Dybala to win a trophy in his last cup final as a Juve player.
  • Instead, we got Chiellini battling his ass off before having to go off due to what appear to be cramps and Dybala with a couple of close calls but no goal to show for his efforts.
  • /grumble
  • I don’t know, but I thought that noting could really make me more frustrated this season Juventus losing to Inter in the 121st minute like what happened in the Supercoppa. Well, not only did Juventus lose to Inter on this night, but the shoddy Italian refereeing showed its ugly head again and played a huge role in the final result of this one.
  • Basically what I’m trying to say is that I wish it was the players just playing and deciding the outcome rather than referees being so memorable in so many big games this season. We shouldn’t be embracing this kind of drama and chaos and discourse. We should be talking about the 22 players on the field, not the dude standing in the middle of the field in bright yellow.
  • That’s all for now. I need a drink. Or five. Or seven.