‘Only a miracle can stop Inter winning title’

Coined the ‘Derby d’Italia’ by celebrated journalist Gianni Brera in 1967 because of the achievements of Inter Milan and Juventus, no rivalry evokes as much passion, revulsion or military vocabulary.

Before Sunday’s game, only one point separated the sides in Serie A. The stench of hatred had significantly contaminated the air and past controversies were rehashed and relived, provoking an overwhelming amount of tension.

Both coaches – Simeone Inzaghi and Massimiliano Allegri – attempted to placate a public hungry for provocative words by insisting that, while this game was important, it would not be decisive for the title race. Frankly, that was hard to believe.

By securing a 1-0 victory, Inter took a giant step towards securing their first Scudetto since 2021. They boasting a four-point gap at the top of the table with a game in hand. It is becoming harder and harder to believe in a genuine title challenge from elsewhere.

Inter Milan celebrate goal against Juventus
Inter Milan last won the Serie A title in 2021

This is by far the best Nerazzurri side since Jose Mourinho’s 2010 Treble-winning team. Rarely have we seen Inter so disciplined, authoritative, mature and consistent. Not even the side that reached the Champions League final last season can hold a candle to the mesmeric finesse we have witnessed since August.

The midfield is capable of complete domination, the defence makes one proud to be an Italian, while the forward line combines the beautiful with the intelligent to create a winning machine that Inzaghi is responsible for creating and improving despite a small budget and the consistent sale of important players.

Inter not only boast the best defence, but the best attack in the league. They have a midfielder in Hakan Calhanoglu who can deliver the most audacious 60-yard passes, a World Cup winner in Benjamin Pavard who is unbeatable at the back and a striker in Lautaro Martinez who has scored 19 goals and brought the best out of new recruit Marcus Thuram.

Juventus will be quick to remind you that it took an own goal for their opponents to secure all three points. While that is true, it is also worth noting that Gazzetta dello Sport said Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny’s ridiculously good saves were “miracles the Vatican should investigate”.

Without Szczesny, the scoreline could have been much worse. He put in a man-of-the-match performance between the posts. Inter keeper Yann Sommer, on the other hand, had little to nothing to do, leaving former Inter defender Marco Materazzi to say the San Siro had “75,491 spectators plus Sommer”.

Juventus had one shot on target and created one big chance that striker Dusan Vlahovic squandered with a poor first touch. As has become the norm, pundits flooded the airwaves with criticism of the Bianconeri, whom they accused of failing to take risks.

Allegri has always been a divisive figure. Despite his winning so many trophies in his first stint in charge and challenging for the title this season, the fans have struggled to accept his less than exuberant brand of football, calling him a footballing dinosaur.

It must be noted that Juventus have collected 53 points in 23 weeks, nothing short of remarkable.

They have overachieved, not only because this squad are somewhat sub-par to previous versions, but because of the many hurdles they have overcome in the past 18 months, including the significant points deductions last season and the resignation of much of their management team last winter.

In Allegri’s first season at Juventus in 2014, he collected 54 points after 23 weeks and went on to win the title.

That squad featured a young Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez. The last time Juventus won the title, under Maurizio Sarri, they too had 54 points after 23 games – and that side had Cristiano Ronaldo leading the line.

This Juventus team are at the start of a new project and have chosen to focus on youth. Eighteen-year-old Kenan Yildiz looked visibly intimidated by the atmosphere at the San Siro, while Vlahovic let his frustrations get the better of him, getting booked after 18 minutes.

Allegri has accepted the inconsistency of youth and is aware that it will take a miracle to beat this incredible Inter side that continue to evolve and progress.

One only hopes for more twists and turns to ensure a tight title race right until the very end.


Source From: BBC Sport

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