Matchday 18 felt like the moment that this seasons Serie A title race turned into a two horse one and there is even more likelihood that a team from Milan will be crowned the winners.
Milan beat Cagliari but all of the plaudits were saved for Inter who beat Juventus in a huge match at San Siro. It felt like a turning point because one could not fathom the problems that would have been borne out of a Juventus victory for Inter. Firstly they would now be six points behind Milan have dropped to 4th and Juventus would be 2nd on 36 points.
The game got off to an incredible start when Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had opened the scoring in the 11th minute but his goal was ruled out for offside. And then 60 seconds later Inter took the lead. Nicolo Barella who has been in good form lately crossed the ball and Arturo Vidal who has taken some bad press recently found some space to head in the cross past Gianluigi Buffon the veteran goalkeeper to put Inter in the lead.
It was a shell shock moment for Juventus given that they thought they had taken the lead only to now be trailing in the game.
Juventus looked for the equaliser and played some intelligent football in the first half and most of the possession. But Inter were happy to sap up some pressure and had 10 goal attempts in the 1st half alone with half of those shots on target.
Much like the first half the second period started with incident and Inter were celebrating being 2-0 up within seven minutes of the restart. This time Barella went from provider to goal scorer his 2nd of the season but most important. Barella’s brilliant shot flew into the net after a cross by Alessandro Bastoni his 2nd assist of the season and Inter were in party mode.
The second half soon petered out and there were only 3 shots on targets between the two sides with Inter having just one, but that was the goal.
Inter coach Antonio Conte was obviously very happy with the win, he said: “We prepared well and it’s satisfying to see that we were right about the things we thought could hurt Juventus. The lads followed the plan perfectly and I am very happy for them, because these are games that must give you self-belief, let you understand you are on the right path. We already saw fruits of this process last season, we are continuing to see them this term. Juventus were an important reference point, a side that dominated Serie A for nine years, having done exceptional work both on the field and as a club.”
A whole host of players for Inter earned 7 points in the fantasy rankings including Nicolo Barella who was named official man of the match. Barella did lose some points as he was booked late on.
Inter’s next game will be on January 22nd when they take on Udinese away from home. Udinese are in 15th place and have lost 9 games this season and that includes losing their last 2 at home. It will be another interesting game for Inter who will be expected to win. If Milan lose at home to Atalanta then Inter will go top of the league.
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