Initial reaction and random observations – .

Initial reaction and random observations – .

Juventus needed something, anything, to help shake things up against Inter Milan after half-time. The first half was both somewhat flat and somewhat pointless, with a 1-0 deficit to show after one of the most unlucky rebounds you’ll see this season.

Max Allegri, realizing something had to be done, clearly went for it with his team at one goal. Next come Federico Chiesa and Paulo Dybala. Arthur and Kaio Jorge arrived.

All the weapons that started on the bench have been used.

And yet, the only thing half of this long-running rivalry will talk about is how Juventus actually got their tying goal just before stoppage time.

Coming back from almost a month’s absence, Dybala’s 89th-minute penalty equalized Juventus and allowed Allegri’s side to steal a point from Inter in a draw 1- 1 in San Siro Sunday evening. The actual goal wasn’t the controversial part, but how it turned out, with VAR coming to the rescue to secure a penalty just minutes after the initial foul on Alex Sandro.

Call me a homer as much as you want, but it was the right call, folks.

You might not like it. You might want to see it removed from the rulebook. But the contact Denzel Dumfries made with Alex Sandro after the Brazilian full-back attempted to pass the ball to a team-mate was, barely, inside Inter’s penalty area. And after a VAR check, the call was made, allowing Dybala to pass to the penalty spot.

Dybala did what he almost always does on PKs, and it was 1-1 because of that.

While Juventus scored a point and maintained their unbeaten streak, the pity is that Dybala’s goal simply equaled him rather than capping a second-half comeback where the switch was finally activated. Because like everywhere in the first half, Juve ended up dominating Inter 16-10 for the match. They had chances to score in the second half, but couldn’t put the ball away until Dybala got close to the penalty spot.

It could have been worse as Juve were only five minutes of downtime from losing this game before Dybala tied them. It could have been better because of the scoring chances they had. (God damn it, Samir Handanovic gave up some juicy rebounds in this game, didn’t he?)

It is not a bad result. Getting a draw – especially with the way the game started for Juve – at the San Siro is usually never a bad thing. It was just a moment or two before I got so much better.

Either way, Juve are in sixth place in the table and one point behind Roma in fourth. If you told me a month ago that this would be the case, I would probably laugh. Instead, I’m pretty happy. Maybe not exactly happy, but the content is better than the much crankier alternative that would have been present if Juve hadn’t gotten help from VAR.


  • RIP up the trail of clean sheets. It was 384 minutes of wonderful goodness.
  • Maybe if the referee had said that Federico Bernardeschi was offside when calling the assistant for the first time, he wouldn’t have continued playing for another 10 seconds and then got injured in the shoulder. I don’t know, but sometimes you just need to make the damn call rather than letting the game go on ALL the time. It’s just me, however.
  • Why deflections are stupid, game 2,348: Inter’s original shot that led to Edin Dzeko’s goal didn’t go on target. Instead, he deflected Manuel Locatelli as he tried to block him and hit the woodwork. He bounced off the post, straight for Dzeko – he didn’t even have to move! – And There you go. Deviations are stupid.
  • There were times in the first half when Inter’s press completely crushed the Juventus defense and midfielder. So many reckless turnovers that didn’t need to happen.
  • That said, Juventus also had a fair number of chances because Inter were sloppy in their defensive half of the pitch. The problem was, of course, that Juve couldn’t take advantage of any of them in the first half. It was even worse when Inter were already leading 1-0. It’s a whole different second half if Juve are able to make Inter pay for any of those turnovers and we see this thing come into the half tied at 1-1.
  • Inter had a 55-45 advantage in possession in the first half. Juve dominated Inter 8-6 in the first half. So that makes sense.
  • A tweet about one of Max Allegri’s starting choices:
  • Kaio Jorge’s first two Serie A appearances: Derby della Mole, Derby d’Italia. He’s obviously been working slowly since coming back from injury, but that doesn’t exactly cast him in the shallow end of the pool in terms of the atmospheres he has to be submerged in.
  • Who knows if that was the condition for which he entered the game, but the man was Rodrigo Bentancur everywhere after he arrived for Bernardeschi. He was basically the player we saw for much of last season where he couldn’t do much right. But a better second half ultimately brought some stability to the midfield.
  • Do you know what also helped? Bring Arthur in. I know Weston McKennie worked his tail defensively and was actually running positive runs into the box, but Juve just needed another body that could control the ball in midfield.
  • I will say that every time Juventus play against Inter, but damn it, Nico Barella is good. The guy was absolutely everywhere. He covered so much ground defensively, threw so much good that Inter did. Even when he was totally gassed and looked like he was cramping, he knocked down Juve players. He is only 24 years old now. It’s scary to think how good he will be in a few years.
  • A sign how disjointed things were for Juve in attack in the first half? Paulo Dybala led the team in key passes and only played for half an hour.
  • Another sign of this: two Juve starters achieved a success rate of over 90%. One of them was Wojciech Szczesny. Not great. Bob.
  • Juve’s long-ball attempts for much of the night weren’t… great.
  • I guess the Italian media is keeping things low-key with VAR’s call that led to Dybala’s equalizer. Yeah, that rings true. The Italian media never make much of this sort of thing – especially when it involves Juventus, and especially when it comes to the league’s most visible rivalry game. Not at all.
  • After this game, can we start playing Freddie Church backstage again, Max? Pretty please?
  • Paulo Dybala scoring goals is fun. Paulo Dybala scoring goals against Inter is even more fun.


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