Juventus 2-0 Inter Milan: 3 Key moments in the game | Serie A 2019-20
- Highlighting three top moments from the latest installment of the Deby d'Italia.
The world has been rocked by the rapid spread of the deadly coronavirus, with Italy one of the nations hit hard by the outbreak and expectedly, football in the country has been affected by the drastic actions taken to ensure public safety.
Having initially been postponed till the middle of May, the clash between Juventus and Inter Milan was brought back to this weekend but the decision to play all Serie A matches behind closed doors until April 4 meant that this marquee fixture was devoid of the emotion and atmosphere that has made it a hallmark of Italian football over the years.
Despite the absence of the fans, the result of this match would go a long way in deciding the outcome of the Scudetto this season, with Juventus engaged in a three-way race with Inter Milan and Lazio.
In light of this, both sides went all out for maximum points, with the emptiness in the stands giving the uniqueness of hearing close-up sounds of the players dishing instructions to one another and the coaches encouraging and scolding their wards.
For all the attacking impetus exhibited by the two sides, there was a real dearth of goalmouth action but there were still some notable incidents in the game and here, we shall be highlighting three key moments that played a role in the outcome.
#3 Ramsey opens the scoring with a close-range finish - 55th minute
Juventus have been criticized for their lack of mobility in midfield and Maurizio Sarri made radical changes to his starting lineup, with the big news being that Blaise Matuidi and Aaron Ramsey were handed starts in place of Adrian Rabiot and Miralem Pjanic.
The two men justified their coach's faith, with Matuidi running with the ball down the left touchline 10 minutes into the second half and his excellent pass was finished off by Aaron Ramsey in front of Samir Handanovic after a Cristiano Ronaldo shot had rebounded into his path.
This opened the scoring in what had been a cagey affair and set Juventus on their way to claiming an 84th league win over their biggest domestic rivals.
#2 Paulo Dybala steps off the bench to complete a wonderful team move - 67th minute
Another surprise decision taken by Sarri was leaving Paulo Dybala out of the starting lineup but in hindsight, this proved to be a masterstroke, as the 25-year-old turned out to be an impact substitute.
With Inter Milan already behind, Antonio Conte's men were noticeably playing a high line in a bid to force the equalizer and Sarri summoned his Argentine magician to take advantage of the spaces left behind.
It took him just seven minutes to do so, picking up a lovely diagonal from Leonardo Bonucci far on the left flank, with his excellent first touch evading the close marking of Nico Barella before he embarked on a trademark mazy run at the Inter goal.
A beautiful combination with Ronaldo put him into the Inter box and Dybala showed dainty footwork to turn Ashley Young inside out before putting the result beyond Inter Milan to ensure that Maurizio Sarri became only the second Juventus manager after Antonio Conte to win their first two matches against Inter in the last four decades.
#1 Cristiano Ronaldo misses his shot at glory - injury time
Despite turning 35 last month, Cristiano Ronaldo looks as hungry and determined as ever and he rose from severe criticisms earlier in the season to churn out some of the best performances of his career.
The Portuguese international has been the driving force behind Juventus' quest for a ninth consecutive Scudetto and only one player in the league has managed more than the 21 goals the Madeira native has scored.
Sixteen of those had come in his last 11 fixtures, seeing him equal the feat of Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagriarella and knowing Ronaldo's penchant for setting and breaking records, it came as no surprise that he was eager to have the record all to himself.
However, a resolute Inter defence held out, ensuring the five-time Ballon d'Or winner did not get a sniff at goal but their resilience was broken deep into stoppage time when Ronaldo had not one but two clear chances to cement his Serie A legacy.
The first of those came when he received the ball in his preferred position and he took a touch to set it up before whizzing a right-footed screamer just wide of Handanovic's goal. Soon after, an even better chance fell to him after he was played in but he could only skew his left-footed shot narrowly wide of the bottom corner.
On another day, both of those chances would have been gobbled up by the iconic superstar and while it did not have any direct impact on the final result, Ronaldo's failure to convert means that he would have to settle for joint-top.
Published 09 Mar 2020, 06:19 IST