Juventus survive, but only just
Juventus had reason to become confident ahead in the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg. It was, immediately after all, the second meeting among the sides within a matter of days plus the Bianconeri had been dominant within the Serie A encounter. They won it 2-0, with Inter failing to test Gianluigi Buffon until the 89th minute. Not only that, Massimiliano Allegri’s males had a three-goal lead to safeguard. So all set to get a comfy night at the workplace? Not a chance.Allegri knew what to anticipate. “Inter will attack us, they have nothing to lose,’he said inside the pre-match Press conference. “For me, we will need to score at least once.’The tactician made the expected (gain fifa 16 coins) changes to the side, including Neto, Daniele Rugani, Kwadwo Asamoah, Hernanes and Simone Zaza. Despite the alterations they were coming up against a team low on confidence and without both starting central defenders.What Allegri didn’t need from his team was the concession of an early purpose. Juventus did it either half. A fired-up Nerazzurri outfit were handed a lifeline through Marcelo Brozovic – with Neto and Hernanes at fault – even if there was a hint of a foul. Then five minutes immediately after the interval Ivan Perisic slid in in the back post to further reduce the deficit.Inter received much criticism for their performance in Turin, both internal and external.
Accused of lacking ‘balls’ last Sunday by director of sport Piero Ausilio, Vice-President Javier Zanetti said the second leg offered a likelihood to “prove what it means to wear this shirt.’They did not stop believing within a comeback, hammering Juventus from pillar to post. Meanwhile, the visitors looked sluggish. Their pre-match confidence went too far in assuming a place in Rome was already assured. The only similarity to Sunday night was the driving rain.It was no surprise then to see Perisic win a late penalty which was converted by Brozovic. The comeback was complete. If not for Neto heroics the home side would have won it before the final whistle. It’s little wonder match-winner Leonardo Bonucci called it “the worst performance we’ve had since I’ve been at Juventus.’Quite damning from a player who is gunning to get a fifth successive Scudetto in six seasons in the club.Only in extra-time did Juve really get a foothold on proceedings. Taking time to clear their heads immediately after Inter landed blow upon blow, there were moments for the tireless Zaza and Alvaro Morata. The Italian international was a constant menace, but lacked an end product. Second half substitute Paul Pogba used his freshness to good effect to help inject some life into the Old Lady. Morata netted in both the first leg and at the weekend, but was denied the chance to add to his tally by a fine double save from Juan Pablo Carrizo.
Juventus, last in the spot within a losing effort against Napoli in last season’s Super Cup which included four missed penalties, held their nerve. Only Rodrigo Palacio failed, giving captain for the night Bonucci the chance to seal Juve’s passage to Rome. The best of a shaky defensive bunch – Rugani, for instance, endured his worst match in the Black and White stripes – Bonucci’s finish was composed. A pity then for Juve that he will be suspended for the final. The Bianconeri advancing was the only positive they could take from the evening. As La Gazzetta dello Sport summed up, Inter were enchanting but inside the end Juve were singing. It was enough for Allegri to let out a long ‘phew’.This will be Juve’s 16th appearance within the Coppa decider. It’s also the first time since 1959 and 1960 that the Old Lady has reached the Final in consecutive seasons. Giampiero Boniperti lifted the trophy on both occasions.They’ll have the opportunity to equal that piece of history in May. On a evening where Allegri admitted he got it wrong, Juventus won through – but only by the skin of their teeth.