Inter and Juventus share the spoils

Posted by David Wilson

Mauro Emanuel Icardi scores Inter's opening goal against Juve.GettyImagesMauro Emanuel Icardi scores Inter's opening goal against Juve.

It was an inspiring performance by Inter Milan on Saturday as they drew 1-1 with Juventus in the Derby d'Italia.

It looked like Inter would grab all three points when substitute Mauro Icardi scored in the 73rd minute but poor defending allowed Arturo Vidal to equalise just two minutes later to ensure both teams remain unbeaten this season.

In previewing the game I thought Inter boss Walter Mazzarri would start Mateo Kovacic in midfield but instead the coach went with Saphir Taider. The rest of the line-up was as expected as Inter started in a 3-5-1-1 formation with Hugo Campagnaro, Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus at the back.

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Jonathan, Fredy Guarin, Esteban Cambiasso, Taider and Yuto Nagatomo in midfield with Ricky Alvarez playing in the No.10 role just behind Rodrigo Palacio.

With both teams playing identical formations, the Nerazzurri's pressing game made life difficult for Juventus, who might have edged the first half. In the second half Inter played at a higher tempo and intensity and as a result dominated for long periods of the second half.

Mazzarri was asked after the game why his side played so much better in the second half and he responded: "Guarin, Taider and Jonathan were different players and they started expressing themselves. Perhaps they found it a little hard to deal with the importance of the occasion at the start."

With Inter on top, Mazzarri decided to go for all three points instead of settling for a 0-0 draw. With 22 minutes to go he made an attacking substitution bringing on Icardi for Taider.

Icadri, who scored goals against Juve for Sampdoria last season, showed that he was not going to be overwhelmed by the big occasion and appeared to have won the game for Inter when Ricky Alvarez won the ball in midfield and then slipped a perfect pass into the path of Juventus killer Icardi, who made no mistake from 10 yards out.

It was a well taken goal by Icardi on a big stage and he showed why Inter spent so much money to sign him from Sampdoria this summer.

Inter's defence has been brilliant all season, but they fell asleep after scoring and allowed Juventus back in the game. Kwadwo Asamoah muscled his way past Jonathan and Hugo Campagnaro down the left and found an unmarked Arturo Vidal, who made no mistake from 12 yards out. Really poor defending from the Nerazzurri defenders first to allow Asamoah to cross the ball and then to leave Vidal unmarked.

That was the first goal that Inter have conceded this season and Mazzarri was not happy that his team conceded so soon after going ahead. "We need to talk, because after the goal we were convinced that we'd already won," he said. "We even risked losing a few minutes later, so we should've kept pushing."

Inter simply ran out of steam in the last ten minutes and Samir Handanovic had to make a terrific save from Vidal's header, before Isla ballooned the follow-up wide from six yards.

However, this was Inter's first big challenge of the season and they passed it with flying colours. What impressed most was the confidence and swagger that the Nerazzurri displayed, especially in the second half.

The back three played well, with Campagnaro once again Inter's best defender.

In the centre of midfield Cambiasso and Taider were terrific. Cambiasso won five tackles (the most for an Inter player) while Taider had a remarkable 98% passing accuracy. If Inter can get that sort of grit and creativity every week this could turn into a better season for Inter than many pundits are predicting.

The star player for Inter was clearly Ricky Alvarez, who was the heart of everything good that Inter did today. It was a complete performance from Alvarez, assisting on Icardi's goal, winning four tackles, completing 87% his passes and winning six dribbles.

While Rodrigo Palacio played well, he drifted out wide a lot and I felt that at times he left Inter without a focal point in attack. When Milito is fully fit (he was an unused substitute) Inter's attack should be a little crisper.

The only other criticism of Inter's performance is that the team clearly tired in the last eight or nine minutes, but Mazzarri did not use a third substitute to help see the game out. The lack of fresh legs almost cost Inter as Juventus twice went close to scoring in the last couple of minutes.

But overall a very good performance and result for Inter. And with a trip to Sassuolo next weekend, Inter have a very good opportunity to extend their unbeaten start in Serie A to four games.

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