Coppa Italia: Mario Balotelli's Last-Gasp Goal Sees Inter Dump Juventus

Danny PenzaSenior Writer IJanuary 28, 2010

Just five days ago, Juventus lost in the closing seconds against Roma.

A poor effort from the back four in terms of defending and John Arne Riise was celebrating a winner in front of a dejected Stadio Olimpico crowd.

Thursday's Coppa Italia matchup against Inter Milan had one of the elements that the Roma game over the weekend had—a last-minute winner. And much like Saturday, it wasn't Juventus scoring the goal.

Mario Balotelli's goal in the 89th minute was the difference as Inter eliminated their bitter rivals and seemed to have put the nail in Juve manager Ciro Ferrara's coffin.

But it was Juventus who took a shocking early lead just 10 minutes in. A Juve playmaker slipped past a defender and saw his daisy-cutter slip through Francesco Toldo's legs as the Inter keeper attempted to smother the shot.

Seeing as how Juve have been playing the last two months, they'll take it.

The goal seemed to ignite Diego as he began to show his class. The Brazilian playmaker was everywhere, dancing around the Inter midfield and defense, earning free kicks and creating plenty of chances all by himself.

However, the rest of the squad didn't really show up—especially in defense. At 20 minutes, Maicon had a wonderful chance to level the score when he found himself all alone on the edge of the six-yard box but blasted his shot towards the near post well over the goal. Mario Balotelli had his first chance of the match three minutes later but dribbled his shot right about Gianluigi Buffon.

Toldo was up to the task at 37 minutes when Fabio Grosso tried a shot from long distance. Outside of the goal, it was Juve's best chance of the game.

Just before the break there were screams for a penalty from the crowd at the San Siro as well as the Nerazzurri players after Thiaggo Motta's cross clearly struck Felipe Melo's arm. Inter's protest continued as the teams walked into the locker rooms but neither the linesman or referee were having any of it.

After the half, Balotelli sprung the offsides trap and found teammate Goran Pandev but the Macedonian completely whiffed on the shot. The two combined moments later, this time with Balotelli on the end of a Pandev pass but the 19-year-old striker only managed to find side netting.

Juventus nearly doubled its lead on two occasions within two minutes. Diego saw his shot from just outside the area go just wide of a diving Toldo and the far post. Giorgio Chiellini then saw his header off a corner go off the post with Toldo having no chance to stop it at all.

Inter came right back as Balotelli tried time and time again to get past Chiellini to no avail. He tried his plethora of moves and then when that didn't work, he tried falling down in the box. Either way, he wasn't getting by arguably the best center back in the world.

Balotelli did get a chance with 21 minutes to go but was denied by Buffon at the near post as Superman had milliseconds to react to the shot.

However, just a minute later, Inter got the equalizer and an interesting goal it was. Wesley Sneijder's free kick took a deflection off Juve stiker Amauri, who was in the wall, and made its way towards the back post. Inter defender Lucio was there and got a boot on it to level the score at one.

From then on, you could just tell Inter were somehow going to win this match.

Juve's newest signing, Antonio Candreva, was having none of that as he unleashed an absolute rocket from long distance that skipped just wide of the goal. It was the Bianconeri's last genuine chance of the night.

Inter looked to have taken the lead with six minutes to go after another Sneijder free kick. This time, Buffon was able to stop it. But substitute Diego Milito found the loose ball and looked to have a chance to score before Buffon and Chiellini closed him down.

And then, the last-minute winner.

Motta's shot from the outside of the box was beaten to the side by a diving Buffon but the problem was, Balotelli was left all alone at the back post to clean up the rebound and knock it in to a wide open goal. The Juventus defense was completely still as Balotelli was kept onside and had all the time in the world to hit it home for the winner.

That was it. Ferrara made his only change of the match in stoppages when Michele Paolucci came on for Amauri but it was far too late.

The nail might as well be in the coffin.