In the first "Big Match" of the 2005-06 Serie A Season, Juve came out winners as the top of the table clash between Juve and Inter produces a 2-0 score for the Turin club leaving Inter 6 points behind after 6 match days. Inter had no response to a near perfect Juve side who scored on two free kicks and did not put a foot wrong on the defensive side as Inter could not find a goal.
Mancini loses Veron to a fever and plays Pizarro along side Cambiasso with Figo and Stankovic wide. Samuel and Materazzi hold the center of defence with Cordoba and Favalli at left and right back. Julio Cesar in net and Adriano/Martins duo up front complete the squad.
Veron was greatly missed it seems as Pizarro who had his shot to impress and take command of the midfield wasted his chance and had a horrible game. His usual quick style of play, short passes and movement off the ball was non existant and it hurt the whole team.
Juve looked strong overall even though they did not do anything extrodinary they were disciplined and organized by Vieria and Emerson who clearly won the midfield battle today. Juve did not dominate Inter by any means and its demonstrated as both there goals were scored from Free Kicks rather than open play. The first by Ibrahimovic which was well saved by Julio Cesar but the rebound put in by Trezequet. The second goal by Nedved who scored direct with a great shot.
It must be said though that both goals should have been avoided. First off the fouls leading to the free kicks were reckless and not needed. Rash challenges that could have been avoided but instead turned into goals leaving Inter 2-0 down before the first half was over.
Juve basically start the match better and being up by 2 goals early basically took the wind out of Inter's sails. Ibrahimovic was a constant thorn in Inter's side as he moves well all over the pitch and the Inter midfield and defence resort to fouling him giving way to many free kicks. Materazzi gets one foul too many on the swedish striker causing an injury which brings on Del Piero for Ibrahimovic before half time.
The game though was always in the hands of Vieria and Emerson and they made the difference for Juventus today. They put Cambiasso and Pizarro in a tail spin with high tempo pressing and grit. The bad overall display by Pizarro left Cambiasso to do the work of two players which did not help the situation. When in possesion they never played a decent ball to the wingers or the strikers leaving the Juve midfield to take control.
This is where Inter lost the first half battle as the Juve duo pressed high, disturbed the play and also inserted themselves in offensive position as Vieria made several good runs and crosses. Pizarro did not have the same affect and rarely got into the game. He missed many passes, held the ball way too long and despite Cambiasso's hard work the duo just did not work well together.
The second half of the match is a completely other story for the Inter side. The break or the half-time screaming that Mancini did woke up the squad and it showed right from the whistle. Inter come out with more speed and purpose and push Juve back. Although it was a good Inter effort, I still believe it was more Juve sitting back and allowing Inter the possesion only to absorb the pressure.
Infact despite all of Inter's play and offensive possesion they never broke through and only made Abbiati work from long range efforts. Juve also lose Thuram and Trezequet to injury in the second half and this puts Juve into more of a defensive shell and were content to leave Inter with the duty of coming at them.
Mancini plays all of his cards and goes for broke being 2-0 down. He brings on Recoba and Cruz and leaves on Martins and Adriano. Inter are basically playing with four strikers for the final 15-20 minutes as Cruz stays high with Martins allowing Adriano and Recoba to play wide and insert into the play. Although some good forward attacks were made the final balls never arrived and if it did the Juve defence was always a step quicker and cleared with ease.
Although Juventus did not have one shot on goal in the second half I still think they deserve the points. Inter may have had all the ball possesion in the second half but Juve deserved to win the match for the simple fact that they executed there game plan to perfection. Inter just did not have an answer for the Juve back line. Vieria and Emerson won the midfield battle and Juve took their chances from the free kicks to score goals and Inter did not.
To keep things simple, Inter played a good game and put in a good effort but Juve did not put a foot wrong today. With the loss Inter are 6 points behind and have also been overtaken by Milan and Fiorentina for second place.
Still its very early in the season and Inter did show many positives in the match for us to look forward to. Juventus still have the cut above mentality that Inter do not have and it showed today. With time Inter will gain it as well. All that is needed is the belief and a string of wins in the coming games to keep pace and be there to challenge when it counts later in the season.