I’m so Fucking Happy I could shit Rainbows!
The Bianconeri maintained the heat on leaders Milan after a purposeful second half display drove them to victory over rivals Inter. Goals from Caceres and Del Piero proved enough to seal all three points from a feisty encounter played out in front of a red-hot atmosphere at Juventus Stadium. For the Derby d’Italia, Conte elected to replace the suspended Lichtsteiner with January arrival Caceres. Barzagli returned from an extended period on the sidelines and Matri was chosen to spearhead the Bianconeri strikeforce. Chiellini and Pepe both made their 200th appearances in Serie A. Juventus were soon into their stride and looked to pose Inter instant problems with their bold, attacking mentality.
They could have grabbed the lead inside the opening three minutes when Vidal unlocked the Nerazzurri rearguard with an energetic burst from deep. The Chilean, however, was unable to connect with Pepe’s return pass and the visitors survived the initial danger. While the Bianconeri looked bright and lively going forward, they had to remain alert to Ranieri’s counter-attacking tactics. Warning of this came when Maicon fed Milito on seventeen minutes. Inter’s top scorer gained a sight of goal but steered his low attempt straight at Buffon. Yet the hosts almost went in front minutes later.
Caceres, who remained a continual threat with his boundless energy down the flank, floated in inviting cross for Matri. The striker steered a header towards goal but directed his effort straight at Julio Cesar. Back came Inter, laying siege on Buffon’s goal and forcing the Azzurri number one into saves from Forlan, Milito, Obi and Stankovic over a frantic ten minute period. Conte waited until five minutes into the second half to change both system and personnel.
The introductions of Bonucci and Del Piero at the expense of Pepe and Matri saw the side revert back to a 3-5-2 formation championed earlier in the season. And the manager’s tactical tweaks paid instant dividends as the Bianconeri capitalised on their numerical supremacy in midfield to gain full control of the game. Marchisio led the charge from deep and was unlucky to see Julio Cesar tip his dipping 25-yard strike over the crossbar. Yet the exploits of the ‘Little Prince’ were about to be fully rewarded.
The resulting corner saw Pirlo pick out an unmarked Caceres, leaving the Uruguayan with the simple task of steering a header past Julio Cesar to continue his rich vein of goalscoring form against the Milan sides. Having established the lead, Juventus showed no mercy and looked to inflict more damage on their wounded visitors. Vucinic, played through by Del Piero, then scampered in on goal but struck his effort straight at Julio Cesar.
The Montenegrin, however, was not made to rue his miss for long as Del Piero burst onto Vidal’s delicate through ball two minutes later. The captain kept his cool to slot past Julio Cesar and send Juventus Stadium into controlled pandemonium. And it could have been even more as the Bianconeri kept their foot firmly on the pedal in the closing stages.
Chiellini found himself one-on-one with Julio Cesar and unselfishly squared for Quagliarella, who saw his tap-in blocked by a sensational goal-line clearance from Maicon. The result sees Juventus complete the double over their rivals and sends out a clear message to Milan regarding the title credentials possessed by Conte’s men.
JUVENTUS 2-0 INTER
GOALS: Caceres 57, Del Piero 71
JUVENTUS Buffon; Caceres, Barzagli, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio; Pepe (Bonucci 53), Matri (Del Piero 53), Vucinic (Quagliarella 73) Substitutes not used: Storari, Marrone, Padoin, Borriello. Manager: Conte
INTER Julio Cesar; Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Nagatomo; Zanetti, Poli (Pazzini 68), Stankovic, Obi (Faraoni 68); Milito, Forlan Substitutes not used: Castellazzi, Ranocchia, Chivu, Guarin, Cambiasso. Manager: Ranieri
REFEREE: De Marco ASSISTANTS: Niccolai, Maggiani FOURTH OFFICIAL: Giannoccaro BOOKINGS: Nagatomo 34, Poli 45, De Ceglie 75