Mandzukic seals 1-0 win over Inter

Mandzukic seals 1-0 win over Inter
Mandzukic seals 1-0 win over Inter
Mandzukic seals 1-0 win over Inter


Juventus claimed the Derby d’Italia bragging rights on Friday night as Mario Mandzukic headed home to seal a 1-0 win over Inter at Allianz Stadium.

Mandzukic was the hero of the evening, scoring his seventh goal of the season to cap a display full of all the battling spirit and elegant touches we’ve come to expect from the Croatian striker. The match was a slow burner at times, bubbling into life in fits and starts, with both sides acquitting themselves fittingly. In the end though, it was the more talented, experienced team that won through. Inter’s only clear chance bounced back off the post in the first half, while the Bianconeri were clinical in the second half to dispatch their best chance and move onto 43 points for the season.


Juventus were guilty of a few misplaced passes in the opening exchanges, making it difficult for the Bianconeri to build up a head of steam. Yet as soon as the passing game clicked, the team began to pose a threat in attack. Juve’s first sight of goal came after Cristiano Ronaldo’s cross found Paulo Dybala in the centre, only for the Argentine to fail to keep his header down. Dybala had another go soon afterwards, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner from a position on the left side of the box.

The Bianconeri began to press Inter higher up the field, gaining more and more ground, while the visitors opted to stick to quick breaks. Though the pace was by no means electric, it was turning into an open, entertaining game. Ivan Perisic was the liveliest for the Nerazzurri, with Max Allegri swapping Mattia De Sciglio and Joao Cancelo, bringing the Portuguese over to the left, to nullify the threat.

In response, Inter tried their luck down the right. Matteo Politano cut in and found Mauro Icardi, whose subtle touch allowed Roberto Gagliardini to barrel into the Juve box. Yet the Italian’s effort found only the post, bouncing kindly into the arms of Wojciech Szczesny. This was the Nerazzurri’s best spell of the game, and Perisic kept the pressure on Juve with a fierce shot deflected off target by Icardi.

Juve eventually steadied the ship and succeeded in testing Samir Handanovic with headers from Mandzukic and Giorgio Chiellini, with the latter’s effort stemming from a corner forced after Marcelo Brozovic produced a decisive block to deny Rodrigo Bentancur.


There were hearts in mouths at the start of the second half, as Blaise Matuidi gave the ball away in his own box and was near to gifting a goal to Inter – the Frenchman had Leo Bonucci to thank for his stunning block. Matuidi soon set about making amends down the other end of the field, lashing a low cross into the box but failing to find a team-mate.

There was a proper tempo to the contest now. A few flashes of yellow followed as the game became scrappier, but the telling blow was just around the corner. Matuidi’s 40-yard pass found Cancelo on the left flank, with the Portuguese curling in a fine cross to the far post, where Mandzukic was able to steal a march on the returning Kwadwo Asamoah and head into the back of the net.The roars were deafening at Allianz Stadium, as the Croatian scored what would later turn out to be the match-winner. Whilst across the pond, Bianconeri were celebrating in the company of David Trezeguet at the [Juventus Night watch party in Brooklyn].


With Inter wounded, Juve smelled blood. The Bianconeri streamed forward, looking to strike the fatal blow, yet the visitors hung on and tried to muster a response of their own. The Nerazzurri, however, had an imperious Chiellini to reckon with in the heart of the Juve defence: the Italian owned every cross that made its way into the box, winning tackle after tackle and limiting Icardi to fleeting glimpses of the ball.

Allegri brought off Dybala for Douglas Costa for the final period, while Emre Can made his return to action when he replaced Miralem Pjanic with ten minutes remaining. The German brought stature and physicality to the Bianconeri’s midfield, helping the side to keep the visitors at arm’s length and get Juve over the line. The final whistle brought a huge cheer from the fans – and saw Allegri’s men further tighten their hold on Serie A.


Scorer: Mandzukic 66.


Szczesny; De Sciglio, Bonucci, Chiellini, Cancelo; Bentancur, Pjanic (Emre Can 82), Matuidi; Dybala (Douglas Costa 71), Mandzukic, Ronaldo. Subs not used: Perin, Pinsoglio, Rugani, Benatia, Spinazzola, Cuadrado, Bernardeschi Coach: Allegri.

INTER Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Skriniar, Miranda, Asamoah; Gagliardini (Keita 69), Brozovic; Politano (Borja Valero 58), Joao Mario (Lautaro Martinez 77), Perisic; Icardi. Subs not used: Padelli, D'Ambrosio, De Vrij, Ranocchia, Vecino, Candreva. Coach: Spalletti. REFEREE: Irrati. ASSISTANTS: Meli, Passeri. FOURTH OFFICIAL: Doveri. VAR: Guida, Carbone.

YELLOW CARDS: Pjanic 6, Bentancur 54, Perisic 55, Brozovic 57.

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