Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Batons; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Vidal, Young; Sanchez, Lautaro. Coach: Conte.
Juventus (4-4-2): Buffon; Danilo, Bonucci, de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Cuadrado, Arthur, Bentancur, McKennie; Kulusevski, Ronaldo. Coach: Pirlo.
Referee: Calvarese di Teramo.
Tv: 8.45 pm, Rai 1
First the revenge then the beautiful. THEthe long duel with Juventus arrives at the second act. The first leg of the semi-finals of the Italian Cup comes just over two weeks after Inter’s victory in the league, a liberating success, decisive above all to impress the Nerazzurri brand on the standings and in the race for the Scudetto. “That game, however, must not detract from respect for a very strong team,” he warns Conte. Juve metabolized and overcame the defeat, Inter from that confrontation came out mentally stronger. The absences, however, this time are heavy. Out the two best: Lukaku and Hakimi, both disqualified. «The offensive phase is always the same. It is not the first time without Romelu, he will be able to rest in a forced way ».
The Italian Cup is the last trophy placed on the bulletin board from Inter in 2011, ten years ago. Last season Conte touched the final, out of Napoli just a step away from the finish line. The elimination matured in the first leg, lost at San Siro. This time the coach does not want distractions, it is essential not to concede a goal. «The qualification is played in 180 minutes, the first match is important. Last year against Napoli we were unable to recover ». While playing an excellent return semi-final.
Forced to change, Conte in front must rely on what he has found Lautaro it’s at Sanchez. The Chilean could have started and finished at Roma in exchange for Dzeko, now he has to redeem himself after a not exciting start to the season, in which he found just two goals and traveled in fits and starts. Eriksen also sits back on the bench. The Dane, after the excellent performance with Benevento, gives way to Brozovic. He signed the derby of the Italian Cup with a free kick and in a double challenge it can make a difference. “Eriksen is a very good boy, he’s trying so hard, we are working a lot with him, trying to find more solutions so as to have an alternative », Conte pampers him.
History does not say well to Inter, defeated four times in the semifinals by Juventus, the last in 2015-16, when Mancini was still on the bench and the Nerazzurri went out on penalties after a great comeback. Jose Mourinho managed to pull two wins in a row against Juventus in the year of the Triplete: it was another Inter and above all a Juve still at the dawn of reconstruction.
The Coppa Italia match is the start with a bang of two breathless weeks for Inter. The Nerazzurri have already passed the test of maturity, now they have to pass the stress test that will see them engaged in a terrible February: twice with Juve and then in the league with Fiorentina, Lazio and Milan. A fiery calendar, before taking a breather and benefiting from long weeks given the exclusion from the European cups. Inter must withstand the impact without falling, and then try to accelerate.
With Juventus, however, it is never a match like with the others. Yes, the Lukaku-Ronaldo comparison is missing, but the crossing is full of meanings for many exes, including Vidal, who unlocked himself in the championship match (HERE the controversy for the kiss to the Juve emblem). Now Inter wants to dethrone Juve, having already questioned his reign.
The speed of the blender increases from today and Juventus can no longer get the ingredients wrong: especially not now, not at San Siro, not in the immediate rematch against Inter. It’s the Italian Cup, it’s true. But it is equally true that there is a trophy at stake, while the ugly defeat that arrived in the league seventeen days ago can be remedied in the long run, even if Pirlo’s team does not have too many wild cards to play in pursuit of the Milanese. And on the horizon there are challenges against Rome and Naples, in addition to the one in the Champions League with Porto that will close this mini “fire” cycle, as Giorgio Chiellini defined it.
That 2-0 against Inter in the January 17 it could have been an even larger defeat in scoring e shook Juventus: since then not only has Madama always won, but she has not conceded any more goals thanks to the growth in condition of Chiellini, to Cuadrado’s recovery from Covid, Alex Sandro and therefore De Ligt. But also thanks to the wounded pride, against the most “felt” opponent in Turin. The most structured one to take away from Madama the tenth title in a row, in addition with the former Conte and Vidal (in addition to Marotta) at the forefront.
Juve, exposed on their left wing but even in the middle of the field, will he have learned his lesson? Since the hierarchies have cleared up, with the Bentancur-Arthur couple increasingly close-knit and complementary and with the handyman McKennienow indispensable on the most important evenings. “The defeat against Inter has taught us a lot – admits Andrea Pirlo -: it has taught us that when we are not on track we are not ourselves, we are not Juventus. From there we started again with great performances. We were lucky enough to meet Napoli in a final immediately after three days so we immediately raised our attention by making excellent matches, however we must not settle down».
Pirlo loses Ramsey for a muscle strain, but the Welshman had been among the worst against Inter and did not give great signals afterwards. Buffon is confirmed goalkeeper of the Cup, while Chiellini should rest, leaving room for De Ligt. Raise up Square as offensive winger on the right and hold McKennie as a raider from the left could be the solution chosen by the neophyte coach to demonstrate to his teacher Conte that the flop of the first direct match was due only to too many absences. THEn forward Morata should leave room for Kulusevski again, useful to flush out the Inter 3 defense.
All this, while waiting for the pre-Christmas version of Cristiano Ronaldo, back from a January below its very high standards: but it is certainly not the first time that CR7 takes some winter break.and then be ready at the right time. And the moment is already today: because no stadium like San Siro and no opponent like Inter Milan serves to understand what the real Juve is now. “I want to see a team aware of its strength – Pirlo underlines -: the greatest certainty we have is the group, which has a great desire to win again ». Today more than usual.
February 1, 2021 (change February 1, 2021 | 23:03)
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