Inter Milan rekindled their Serie A title hopes with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Juventus at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Juventus and Inter Milan put up an absolutely chaotic performance in a game that was as intense as it was exciting.

The Bianconeri got off to a blinder and took the game to the visitors in the first half. Samir Handanovic was called upon several times to keep Inter in the game. It all paid off in first-half injury time after a mistimed challenge by Alvaro Morata on Denzel Dumfries handed the Nerazzurri a rather soft penalty.

Hakan Calhanoglu had his spot-kick saved by Wojciech Szczesny before the rebound was bundled home. The goal was chalked off for a foul before the referee chose to have the penalty retaken as several Juventus players had illegally encroached into the area in the lead-up to the original attempt.

Calhanoglu made no mistake, giving Inter the lead at the end of what can only be described as a relentless first 45 minutes. More of the same was on offer after the break as Juventus sought to find a way back into the game.

Inter were content to sit deep and invite pressure from the home side. Some timely defensive interventions coupled with smart substitutions, in the end, meant they hung on to a precious three points. The win takes them to within three points of SSC Napoli and AC Milan while all but extinguishing Juventus’s faint hopes of a late title charge.

In many ways, it was an exciting match-up between two sides who were up for the game. Whether this win will prove pivotal come the end of the season for Inter remains to be seen. Juventus have gotten away with some dire performances this season. It is somewhat ironic that they came away with nothing given that they were the better side for most of the night. For now, the Hard Tackle looks at how both sets of players fared on the night.

Juventus

Wojciech Szczesny: 6/10

The Polish goalkeeper was called into action only a handful of times and did his part well. He pushed away an early cross by Calhanoglu and also did well to stop the Turkish ace’s original penalty. There was little he could do about the retake and was largely untroubled in the second half.

Alex Sandro: 5/10

Alex Sandro had a rather average night where he did not do much wrong defensively but also failed to contribute to the attack. This severely affected Juventus’s ability to apply pressure on Inter, especially while chasing the game.

Giorgio Chiellini: 6/10

The veteran defender was largely solid and marshalled Edin Dzeko with ease, nullifying the Bosnian’s presence. He went close to opening the scoring early on but saw his strike come off the bar.

Matthijs de Ligt: 6/10

The Dutchman was the perfect foil to Chiellini and was defensively more or less solid. He failed to prove much of a threat on set pieces and went down cheaply late on looking for a penalty. While he did shackle Lautaro Martinez and Dzeko all night, his infringement into the penalty area gave Calhanoglu a second bite at the cherry.

Danilo: 6/10

The Brazilian was defensively solid and largely kept Ivan Perisic in check. However, he contributed little to Juventus’s attacks. His best contribution on the offensive front was to send a few long balls to Dusan Vlahovic that failed to hit the mark.

Manuel Locatelli: 5/10

Locatelli was everywhere in the opening stages and helped Juventus win the midfield battle. His presence helped the home side orchestrate wave upon wave of attack upon the Inter goal, relentlessly pressurising the shell shocked visitors.

Unfortunately, he received a boot to the face in the second minute courtesy of Lautaro Martinez. While the Italian international courageously carried on, he kept bleeding and appeared dazed. Allegri eventually had no choice but to take him off for Denis Zakaria in the 34th minute.  He also earned himself a yellow card for a tackle on Danilo D’Ambrosio.

Juan Cuadrado: 6.5/10

The Colombian started off well, forcing Handanovic into two good saves. He appeared to be full of energy and caused Alessandro Bastoni some visible problems on the Inter left. However, he lacked the decisive pass and was taken off for Federico Bernardeschi in the 84th minute.

Adrien Rabiot: 6/10

It was a decent outing for the Frenchman who has looked good of late. He showed intent and purpose but lacked the final ball that would have opened up the Inter defence. In his defence, Rabiot ran the hard miles and even earned himself a yellow card for a rather hard tackle on Nicolo Barella. He was replaced by Arthur as Juventus sought to salvage the game.

Paulo Dybala: 5/10

The Argentine linked up well with his teammates and even got himself into some promising positions. However, he left his scoring boots at home and failed to test Samir Handanovic from some good positions. While the Argentine had the intent, he failed to back it up with adequate bottle on the pitch.

Dusan Vlahovic: 6/10

The Serbian sharpshooter is a fox in the box but failed to make a difference on the night. While he did not have clear cut chances, the youngster had enough going his way to make life difficult for Handanovic. Unfortunately, he was unable to test the Inter goalkeeper, let alone find a way past him.

Alvaro Morata: 4/10

It was not the best of nights for the Spaniard who never really got going. He can count himself rather unlucky for conceding the soft penalty in the first half but did little to redeem himself. He was rightly taken off for Kean in the 72nd minute.

SUBSTITUTES

Denis Zakaria: 6/10

The Swiss international’s return from injury came a tad quicker than expected thanks to Locatelli’s unfortunate injury. He was in fine nick and hit the bar in the second half after an impressive run that took out several Inter defenders.

Moise Kean: N/A

Kean replaced the ineffective Morata in the 72nd minute as Juventus sought a way back into the game. He changed precious little and hardly influenced proceedings in the least.

Mattia de Sciglio: 5/10

The Italian replaced a tiring Sandro but offered little more than the Brazilian.

Federico Bernardeschi: N/A

Bernardeschi came on for Cuadrado in the 84th minute as Juventus threw the kitchen sink at Inter. He offered little in the way of securing an equaliser.

Arthur Melo: N/A

The former Barcelona man replaced Rabiot in the 84th minute, bringing fresh energy to the Juventus midfield. He helped win the ball back but was unable to inspire his team in attack.

Inter Milan

Samir Handanovic: 7/10

The veteran rolled back the years and was a rock at the back for Inter. He denied Cuadrado early on and saw a rebound by Chiellini hit the bar and go out of play. Handanovic gave away possession cheaply early in the second half but thankfully, for Inter, it went unpunished.

Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10

He held his own in a difficult first half and rose to the occasion as Juventus ramped up the pressure after the break. Bastoni would have had his heart in his mouth after a soft foul on Denis Zakaria gave Juventus a free-kick in a dangerous area. Thankfully for him, it came to nothing. Cuadrado did his best to cause Bastoni trouble in the second half, even getting the better of it at times.

Milan Skriniar: 7.5/10

The Inter defender was a rock at the back and kept Vlahovic in check all night. He marshalled the defence well and was always at the right position at the right time to snuff out Juventus’s attacks.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: 6/10

The Italian was defensively sound and shackled Morata and Kean all night. This more or less freed up Skriniar to deal with Vlahovic. D’Ambrosio made few forward forays in the match, but his defensive contributions were top notch.

Ivan Perisic: 5/10

The Croat endured one of his quieter nights out and offered little going forward. He also failed to properly pin down Juan Cuadrado who subsequently caused Bastoni a few problems. Perisic was at hand to make a brilliant block that denied Vlahovic from getting a shot off in the second half.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 6/10

The Turkish international did not start well but was handed the golden opportunity to score from the spot in the first-half added time. He somehow contrived to make a mess of the chance but the referee was generous enough to give him a second bite of the cherry. Calhanoglu made no mistake the second time around to hand the visitors a rather undeserving lead going into halftime.

Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10

It was far from his best performance, but Brozovic once again proved why he is a key piece in Simone Inzaghi’s Inter side. He helped the visitors win back possession numerous times and proved to be a real handful in the middle of the pitch. It was a triumphant return for a player who was sorely missed by Inter Milan in the last two Serie A games.

Nicolo Barella: 5/10

The UEFA Euro 2020 hero was second best to Rabiot in the first half and lacked his usual ingenuity with the ball. He improved in the second half and put together one particular run that saw him beat several Juventus players. However, it was a performance that was more smoke and mirrors and lacked substance.

Denzel Dumfries: 5/10

The Dutchman’s lone contribution in the game was winning the penalty for Calhanoglu’s goal. He showed precious little otherwise and appeared to be struggling as Juventus ramped up the pressure. He was taken off for the defensively sound Matteo Darmian in the 59th minute.

Lautaro Martinez: 4/10

The Argentine looked lively from the start and earned himself a yellow card in the very second minute for catching Manuel Locatelli with a swinging boot. He had little joy in the first half as Juventus grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, limiting Inter to a handful of chances. He was taken off eventually in the 59th minute for Joaquin Correa.

Edin Dzeko: 4/10

The Bosnian was the invisible man on the night and had little to show in terms of output. He was left to fend for scraps as Inter sat deep in the second half. He was eventually taken off in stoppage time for Robin Gosens as Inzaghi looked to see out the game.

SUBSTITUTES

Matteo Darmian: 6/10

The veteran came on for Denzel Dumfries just before the hour mark as Inzaghi looked to strengthen his side’s defence.

Joaquin Correa: 5/10

The former Lazio man replaced Martinez in the 59th minute. He was an improvement over Martinez and skied an effort in the 81st minute after some fine work by Darmian on the right flank.

Arturo Vidal: N/A

He replaced Calhanoglu as Inzaghi south to add more steel to his Inter midfield.

Roberto Gagliardini: N/A

He did precious little of note to warrant a mention.

Robin Gosens: N/A

He had little to no time to make an impact but helped Inter see out the game.

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