It was a scoreless draw, but Juventus’ visit to the San Siro on Sunday to face Inter was anything but boring.
The Bianconeri put together one of its best performances thus far under Luigi Del Neri and showed signs that this club is starting to come together.
One has to also remember that Juventus had tied Manchester City just three days earlier in a Europa League contest. Two draws with two of the top clubs in the world certainly puts Juventus back into the discussion of being amongst those sides.
The Juventus midfield and defense gave Inter fits by allowing little penetration for the Nerazzurri to work with. Inter finished with 360 accurate passes to just 197 for Juventus. This indicates how little of space Inter was given to work with.
Samuel Eto’o made several fine runs along the left side, but was always met by a line of black and white shirts. He did help earn several of Inter’s 13 corner kicks. Juventus had nine corner kicks.
Juventus finished with eight shots on target compared to just four for the home side.
Inter had to be thankful for Lucio and goalie Julio Cesar. The Brazilian defender broke up a number of Juventus chances, including one where he made up ground on Fabio Quagliarella, forcing a corner kick on what appeared to be an outstanding goal-scoring opportunity.
Esteban Cambiasso and Dejan Stankovic played well in the center midfield for Inter, but perhaps Philippe Coutinho and Jonathan Biabiany were not ready to take on a starting role for a big match. Biabiany left the match after 31 minutes and was replaced by Diego Milito. Coutinho’s lack of defensive experience gave Juventus more room to work with.
Maicon did not appear to on top form much of the contest, until he nearly scored off a free kick in the second half.
Young Davide Santon came on in the second half and played very well. He certainly deserves more playing time. But that is hard to come by on a team that is loaded with superstars.
As for Juventus, the Biaconeri got a solid performance from Giorgio Chiellini, who broke up several Inter attacks. Alberto Aquilani and Felipe Melo appeared to play well together in the center of the midfield with Claudio Marchisio out on the left. This might be an option Del Neri should consider for the future.
Milos Krasic was outstanding on the right side of the midfield. He had one excellent opportunity in the second half in which he created his own shot and forced Julio Cesar to make an excellent save.
Quagliarella was clearly better than Vincenzo Iaquinta, who came off with 26 minutes to go. Alessandro Del Piero was more active and had three shots on target in the time he was in, showing he can still play a crucial role with the club.
Overall, both teams can go into the international break feeling good. The result was a deserved one by both sides. Now they can just hope that nobody gets hurt while on international duty.