Juventus-Inter: Claudio Marchisio's Winner Claims Derby, Keeps Title Hopes Alive
When Juventus needed to win to keep their season alive, they did just that.
The season was seemingly on the line with Inter traveling to Turin for the season's first edition of the Derby d'Italia. Juventus trailed rivals Inter Milan by eight points in the standings and a Nerazzurri win would put the distance between the two teams at 11 in just the first weekend of December.
But Juve prevailed 2-1 in classic Juve fashion with grit and determination, got the three points, and reignited the Scudetto race.
Juventus got out of the blocks quick—something that hadn't been seen in recent games. The Biaconeri kept the pressure on Inter and in turn, had a chance to score within the opening 10 minutes of play.
Amauri chested the ball down into Momo Sissoko's path but the shot when right into the hands of Inter keeper Julio Cesar. Moments later Sissoko would crash into fellow midfielder Claudio Marchisio at the top of the box and ruin anohter good opportunity.
Inter came right back on the counter when Diego Milito's through ball from the right flank nutmegged Fabio Cannavaro. Luckily for Juventus, Martin Caceres came up huge for the first of many times on the night.
Then, the deadlock was broken after 20 minutes of play. Diego whipped in a free kick into the box that deflected first off Giorgio Chiellini and then another one that nobody really knows who. The deflected ball trickled past Cesar, who then tipped the ball and gave it enough steam to get across the goal line.
Some say it is Del Piero's goal, some say Chiellini, other people say it went off of Melo. They're still trying to figure out who scored the goal. But it really did't matter. The Old Lady was up 1-0.
To make matters even worse for Inter, manager Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands after arguing the call with the referee. From then on, the Inter boss was left only able to watch the Derby from the stands—and the Olimpico crowd was loving it.
The intensity picked up even further from that point forward. Within minutes, Sulley Muntari and Melo were each shown yellows. The result of Melo's card was an Esteban Cambiasso free kick that found Walter Samuel's head and forced Gianluigi Buffon to make a quality save.
However, Inter got the equalizer two minutes later as Samuel Eto'o got the goal he said he would get against Juventus. Dejan Stankovic sent in a cross from the right corner of the field and found Eto'o completely unmarked—something that has dogged Juventus in recent weeks. The Cameroonian striker sent it past a helpless Buffon.
The first half saw few chances after the goal by Eto'o.
However, the second half was a different story.
Inter created chaos inside the Juve box when Stankovic's shot troubled two Juve defenders, causing them to collide. Somehow, someway, the Bianconeri were able to clear before any actual attempt on goal was had.
But that chaos also led to Juve's second goal.
On the counter attack, Sissoko shot a low rocket that Cesar batted away. However, the rebound went right to Marchisio, who then got past Samuel and chipped an onrushing Cesar to put Juve ahead 2-1.
A class finish from a class player. The hometown kid once again showed how much he means to his club.
After the goal, controversial Inter teenager Mario Balotelli was introduced and was the center of how the game would finish. He received jeers from the Olimpico crowd the moment he stepped on the field.
Three minutes after Marchisio's goal, Diego came close to doubling the lead. The Brazilian playmaker took a long-range strike and Cesar again gave up juicy rebound. This time the Brazilian keeper was able to get a hold of it before anyone in black and white had a chance about the rebound.
Balotelli came close to leveling the game just 10 minutes after coming on when his corner met the head of Cambiasso at the near post. Marchisio was there with an acrobatic clearance to keep his team in front. Inter thought they had a penalty after Caceres tackled Milito in the box but the referee was having none of it.
In the game's closing minutes of regular time, things got juicy. When Balotelli and Melo were deuling for a ball, the Inter striker shoved Melo is the back and the Brazilian's left elbow went flying. Balotelli went down like he had just been struck by gunshot in the face. The problem was, he wasn't even touched in the face, rather barely touched on the chest.
Both team's came together and while in the pushing and shoving was going on, Melo received his second yellow. Also during the scrum, Thiago Motta's headbutted on Sissoko went completely unnoticed. The Brazilian midfielder then said something to Buffon, who went from peacemaker into a rare fit of rage in a matter of moments.
Juve were now down to 10 but Inter didn't have any chances after that and the final whistle blew after five long minutes of stoppages. Juve got their three points and sent the Olimpico into rapture.
The season is still alive and in just three short days it will be another decisive match, this time against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
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