Juan Cuadrado stood out, but Cristiano Ronaldo was sub-par as Juventus beat Inter Milan 3-2 at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.
The match started on a nervy note, with both sides a little edgy in their forward movements. The first big break came midways through the first half, when Matteo Darmian conceded a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up to take spot-kick, only to have it saved by Samir Handanovic. However, the Portuguese superstar was at hand to convert the rebound to hand Juventus the lead.
Inter Milan, though, pulled back on level terms around ten minutes later, with Romelu Lukaku scoring a penalty of his own after Lautaro Martinez had been brought down inside the Juventus box by Matthijs de Ligt. However, Juventus were back in front at the stroke of half-time through Juan Cuadrado, who rifled in a shot from the edge of the Inter box, which deflected off Christian Eriksen past Handanovic.
Post the interval, Inter Milan were much improved and came within whiskers of scoring through Martinez. The visitors got a numerical advantage early on as well, as Rodrigo Bentancur got sent off for receiving a second yellow card. The newly-crowned Serie A champions, though, struggled to make it count until the 83rd minute, when Giorgio Chiellini scored an own goal.
Shortly after, though, Juventus were back in front as Cuadrado won and converted a penalty before Marcelo Brozovic was booked twice in quick succession to make it 10 v 10. In the dying stages of the game, the hosts held on to their slender advantage, in a result that keeps their top four hopes alive. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10
Had no chance of saving Romelu Lukaku’s penalty after guessing the wrong way. Hardly troubled otherwise in the first half, with Juventus creating the better chances. Alert to keep out a couple of chances from Inter in the second half, but could not have done anything to keep out the ball that went into the net off Giorgio Chiellini
A game of hits and misses for Danilo. While he stayed strong at the back, especially amid the Inter onslaught in the second half, the Brazilian hardly carried a threat going forward. Nevertheless, did his part to earn Juventus all three points and even played as a holding midfielder late on.
Matthijs de Ligt: 7/10
A clumsy moment saw him conceding the penalty that was converted by Lukaku. Otherwise, the Dutchman was solid at the heart of the Juventus defence, making a number of clearances and interceptions to ensure Szczesny was not as busy as Inter Milan could have kept him in theory. Solid work to redeem himself for giving away the penalty.
Giorgio Chiellini: 7/10
A top notch display by Chiellini, who won the penalty for Juventus in the first half while also remaining solid at the back. The Juventus captain hardly gave Lukaku an inch and was precise with the ball at his feet as well, completing 91 percent of his attempted passes. However, he ended up conceding the own goal that gave Inter Milan a way back in the game, but that was his only blip in a solid outing.
Alex Sandro: 6/10
Like Danilo on the right flank, Alex Sandro hardly carried a threat down the left flank, with Federico Chiesa doing much of the creative work. Not put under a great deal of pressure in the defensive phase of the game, with Achraf Hakimi enduring a bit of an off day.
Juan Cuadrado: 8/10
Cuadrado stats v Inter Milan:
▪— 2 Accurate crosses
▪12 Ground duels
▪— 7 Ground duels won
▪3 Dribbles attempted
▪— 1 Dribble completed
▪2 Key passes
— Max Statman (@emaxstatman) May 15, 2021
Cuadrado has been one of the better performers for Juventus this season and he impressed again on Saturday. A bundle of energy, as is usually the case with him, the veteran Colombian also ended up scoring the second goal for the hosts, with his shot deflecting off Christian Eriksen.
Put in the hard yards defensively, especially in the second half, when Inter had the numerical advantage before winning and converting the late penalty that won Juventus the game late on, although he was a tad bit fortunate to have won it.
Rodrigo Bentancur: 5/10
A game to forget for Bentancur, who got sent off for two bookings, with his outing lasting just 56 minutes. Having said that, the decision for his dismissal was rather ridiculous, with a yellow card for a shoulder push being rather odd. The Uruguayan midfielder had been solid for the most part otherwise and completed 91 percent of his attempted passes.
Adrien Rabiot: 7/10
A solid performance in the middle of the park by Rabiot, particularly after Bentancur was sent off. The Frenchman won 8 duels while completing 4 tackles and misplacing just 2 passes all game. Job well done in the end.
Federico Chiesa: 6/10
Not the best of displays by Chiesa, who was showing signs of the injury that had troubled him recently. As always, the Italian international was at hand to push for chance-creating actions, but he could only manage 1 key pass, while none of his shots were on target. Taken off for Merih Demiral, as Andrea Pirlo sought to put men behind the ball late on.
Dejan Kulusevski: 6/10
Back in the starting lineup, Kulusevski tried to make an impression in the final third, looking to make things happen whenever he saw the ball, although he was left isolated at times as well. It was his cut-back that was converted by Cuadrado for Juventus’ second. The Swede, though, had to be sacrificed when Bentancur got sent off early in the second half.
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6/10
Ronaldo has scored his 29th Serie A goal of the season.
Only Lewandowski has more in Europe's top five leagues. pic.twitter.com/FelYeqZQxr
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 15, 2021
Juventus might be making a meal of clinching a top four finish, but Ronaldo cannot stop scoring. This time around, there was a stroke of good luck in his bid to find the back of the net, having had his initial penalty saved before scoring from the rebound. Otherwise, there was not a whole lot that Ronaldo, the Player to Watch in our preview, did to trouble the Inter defenders before a rare substitution.
Weston McKennie: 6/10
On for Kulusevski, McKennie spent his time on the pitch primarily doing a lot of legwork to thwart Inter Milan. Hardly saw the ball but remained disciplined to see the game out.
Alvaro Morata: N/A
Sent on in place of Ronaldo for the final 20 minutes, Morata primarily remained behind the ball but did force Samir Handanovic into a save.
Merih Demiral: N/A
On for Chiesa, Demiral added to the men behind the ball, which frustrated Inter Milan further.
Samir Handanovic: 6/10
Handanovic was desperately unlucky in this fixture, having not deserved to concede the first goal after saving Ronaldo’s penalty. The Inter Milan captain could not have done much to deny Cuadrado either, after the shot deflected off Eriksen. Made 3 saves to keep his side in the game, but could not have done anything to deny Cuadrado for his penalty.
Milan Skriniar: 7/10
A solid presence at the back for Inter Milan, Skriniar was at hand to keep a check on Ronaldo, making a number of blocks (3) and clearances (5) to keep the ball away from Handanovic as much as possible. Retained a 96 percent passing rate as well to ensure Inter piled on the pressure late on.
Stefan de Vrij: 6/10
Not as busy as Skriniar on the right side of the central defensive unit, although de Vrij could have organised the backline better. The Dutchman, though, won each of the four duels he contested and even completed 97 percent of his attempted passes. Unfortunate to be on the losing side in the end.
Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10
Like de Vrij, Bastoni was not the busier of the Inter Milan centre-backs, but saw a lot of the ball and looked to push the Nerazzurri forward with intent. Did well to contain Alvaro Morata late on.
Achraf Hakimi: 5/10
Romelu Lukaku levels for Inter! 🖤💙
Then Achraf Hakimi arrests him 🤨 pic.twitter.com/r19nwADk9T
— Goal (@goal) May 15, 2021
A rare blip for Hakimi, who just could not manage to make any sort of impact despite seeing a fair bit of the ball. The Moroccan defender did not create a single chance while losing possession 14 times. Hardly called into action and really should have done better with his output on the ball.
Nicolo Barella: 5/10
Like Hakimi, Barella failed to provide the necessary creative impetus, although he did send in the ball that was eventually bundled into his own net by Juventus captain Chiellini. Had no key passes in the game and really needed to do better, especially when Inter had the numerical advantage.
Marcelo Brozovic: 5/10
For much of the game, Brozovic did well to ensure Inter Milan dominated the possession and kept Juventus pegged back. However, as the frustration started to mount, the Croat was booked twice in quick succession to take the initiative away from the visitors. Poor decision-making.
Christian Eriksen: 5/10
Given a chance to impress, Eriksen was extremely precise with the ball at his feet but failed to make an impact when pushing forward, playing just 1 key pass all game. Denied easily from a free-kick, which summed up a tame outing from the Dane.
Matteo Darmian: 5/10
A rare blip from Darmian, who fouled Chiellini to give away the penalty that was converted by Ronaldo eventually. Failed to provide the necessary forward thrust from the left flank, but was not tested much apart from a couple of moments before being taken off at half-time.
Romelu Lukaku: 6/10
Romelu Lukaku for Inter in Serie A:
☉ 2019-20: 23 goals
☉ 2020-21: 23 goals
He's equalled his debut season tally with one game to play. pic.twitter.com/3FneJABn7A
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 15, 2021
A frustrating evening for Lukaku, who did score from the spot for Inter Milan but was left isolated for parts of the game. Did enough to put pressure on Chiellini for the seocnd Inter goal, but this was a game in which he hardly got a look-in.
Lautaro Martinez: 6/10
As ever, Martinez was a bundle of energy in the final third, which meant he was also bundled down a number of times by Juventus defenders. However, the Argentine won the penalty that was converted by Lukaku. Did not manage to muster up many efforts on goal, though.
Ivan Perisic: 6/10
On for Darmian, Perisic was purposeful in his display in the second half and pushed forward with intent. However, he ended up being one of those unfortunate, having conceded a penalty for practically nothing late on.
Stefano Sensi: 5/10
On for Eriksen, Sensi continued pretty much from where the Dane had left off, failing to carve out the necessary openings for Inter Milan.
Matias Vecino: N/A
With Inter Milan struggling to create opportunities, Vecino came the closest to scoring before they eventually netted their second. Did not see the ball much otherwise.