A mostly dour Derby D’Italia ended with an explosive finish with Juan Cuadrado’s late opener canceled out by a penalty from the hapless Romelu Lukaku in stoppage time, with both players then subsequently sent off along with Samir Handanovic to leave the return leg in San Siro finely balanced.
Juventus were content to sit back and defend for most of the game, choosing to pick apart Inter Milan on the break whenever they could. The visitors for their part did just about everything right except when they go into the final third when all their intricate passing seemed to fall apart.
Speaking after the game, coach Massimiliano Allegri — who remarkably stayed on the sidelines through till the final whistle — was unperturbed by the clashes between the players of the two sides which went all the way to the dressing rooms.
“I don’t know what happened, as I went into the tunnel after the final whistle. It’s nothing, just a bit of chaos at the end of a balanced game, we knew it would be difficult. Although they were coming off a difficult period, they are still Inter and proved it tonight.”
Regarding the game itself, Allegri was kinder to his players giving up a gift penalty late in the game than most spectators had been.
“We were improving as the game wore on, sped the moves up more and had more bodies in the box. It is disappointing, the game was over and we should’ve pressed them higher, Kostic should’ve been smarter and get closer to Dumfries, then there was this naïve error, but it was overall a balanced match and a draw is fair.
“Both teams had chances and possession, that is football. We knew that the second leg would be decisive, but it’s still avoidable conceding a goal like that 20 seconds from the end.
“The positive thing is that the lads are fired up and angry by this equaliser, but they should use it to learn from the experience and not repeat those errors. We moved the ball too slowly in the first half, we pressed Inter a bit better after the break and the sensations were good, but this is football.”
Dusan Vlahovic had a decent performance but failed to score while
“We do need to cover the penalty area better. Federico Chiesa came on with different characteristics, we moved the ball a bit more quickly and used the wings, but let’s not forget Angel had the first chance of the game. Dusan did well too, I just had to introduce fresh legs and different characteristics to shake things up.”
Angel Di Maria had a rare off-day at the office and was unhappy about being substituted, going to the extent of flinging his shinpads when he got to the bench.
“I am sure he was not happy to be taken off, players never are, but he was coming off international duty and I needed someone who could have more changes of pace.”
Federico Chiesa was a second half substitute for Di Maria but saw his attacks from the left foiled by stout Inter defending.
“It’s all normal after such a long injury and I always said he would need these months to settle back in and then next season he will be back to his best.”