04 April 2023
Everything happened in a raucous finale of the first leg of the Coppa Italia semi-final between Juventus and Inter. The third Derby d'Italia appeared to be heading for a goalless draw until Juan Caudrado opened the scoring with seven minutes to play.
Deep into stoppage time, Romelu Lukaku equalised with a penalty. The Inter striker was then sent off, followed by Cuadrado and Handanović after the final whistle.
The tie is balanced on a knife's edge with the second leg at the end of the month.
The sixth Derby d’Italia semi-final started with Juve keen to pounce on their first opportunity. And that opportunity arose when Adrien Rabiot and Mauel Locatelli worked together to win possession on the half-way line. The ball was shuffled forward to Dušan Vlahović, who with a deft flick freed Ángel Di María. El Fideo ran at the Inter defence, only for his shot to be tipped wide by Samir Handović.
As the first half progressed Di María and Locatelli tried their luck from distance, but both shots sailed over the crossbar.
Inter tested Mattia Perin first from a Federico Dimarco free-kick, then a precise passing move found Marcelo Brozović at the height of the penalty spot. His low drive was parried by Perin.
Nicolò Fagioli and Vlahović linked up cleverly before the number 9’s glancing header finished between Handanović’s hands.
Inside first half stoppage time Inter came close to opening the scoring, when Danilo D’Ambrosio won a header inside the six-yard area. However, the Nerazzurri defender couldn’t keep his effort on target.
There was nothing to separate the two sides at the break. And there continued to be nothing between the sides for the bulk of the second half - until the explosive final 10 minutes.
Just four minutes after the restart, Fagioli and Vlahović again linked up. This time the striker’s header went just over.
On 64’ Henrikh Mkhitaryan flashed a shot only inches from Perin’s far post, as chances remained few and far between.
Arek Milik, one of three substitutes employed by Massimiliano Allegri, came close to stabbing the ball home from a Juan Cuadrado cross.
However, four minutes later it was Cuadrado that applied the finishing touch. Rabiot’s cross was helped on to an unmarked Cuadrado by the Inter defence. The number 11 took one touch before slamming the ball under Handanović.
Just as it seemed to be a case of winding down the closing seconds, Inter were awarded a penalty after Bremer flicked the ball with his arm. Romelu Lukaku converted from 12 yards five minutes into stoppage time.
And as happened in the recent league fixture, two more players were sent off after the final whistle, Cuadrado for Juve, Handanović for Inter.
The second leg on April 26 promises to be an emotional decider.
JUVENTUS 1-1 INTER (HT: 0-0)
Scorers: 83′ Cuadrado, 90’+4′ Lukaku (pen)
JUVENTUS: Perin; Gatti, Bremer, Danilo; Cuadrado, Fagioli (65′ Miretti), Locatelli, Rabiot, Kostic; Di Maria (65′ Chiesa); Vlahovic (73′ Milik). Subs not used: Szczęsny, Pinsoglio, De Sciglio, Alex Sandro, Rugani, Paredes, Barrenechea, Kean, Soulé, Iling-Junior. Coach: Allegri.
INTER: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio (81′ Dumfries), Acerbi, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic (81′ Asllani), Mkhitaryan, Dimarco (68′ Gosens); Dzeko (68′ Lukaku), Lautaro (86′ Correa). Subs not used: Cordaz, Onana, Gagliardini, De Vrij, Bellanova, Carboni, Zanotti. Coach: Inzaghi.
BOOKINGS: 40′ Brozovic, 80′ Lukaku, 89′ Miretti
SENDINGS OFF: 90’+5′ Lukaku, Handanovic e Cuadrado (after final whistle)