30 January 2022
With the Italian Cup quarter-finals being decided over two legs, it was important for Juventus Women to collect a positive result in the first leg against rivals Inter Milan on Sunday afternoon, ahead of mid-February's return fixture. And that is exactly what the Bianconere did thanks to Lisa Boattin’s miraculous left-footed goal in stoppage time to grab a last-gasp draw away from home.
DISCIPLINED FIRST HALF
Joe Montemurro recalled a number of players to the starting line-up for the Italian Cup away leg tie at Inter.
Attempting to make the most of their home advantage, the Nerazzurre started in lively fashion. On eight minutes, Njoya Ajara tested Pauline Peyraud Magnin. The goalkeeper, one of those players called on by Montemurro, made a comfortable save.
Juventus began to step up their game and in the 18th minute frightened the Nerazzurre defence. A corner kick from Valentina Cernoia was met by Andrea Staskova. The striker was denied by a superb reflex save by Astrid Gilardi in the Inter goal.
Eight minutes later, the Bianconere threatened again. A flowing move through midfield reached the edge of the penalty area, where Staskova rolled a pass into the path of Matilde Lundorf. The full-back arrived at full pace, her first-time shot striking the outside of the post.
At the other end, again it was the lively Njoya Ajara who was creating problems. She found space for a shot, which Peyraud Magnin was equal to.
In the closing minutes of the opening half, another Cernoia corner caused panic in the Inter penalty area. No Juve player could apply the finishing touch as the ball bounced dangerously inside the six-yard box.
Almost immediately after the restart, Inter came close. A free kick floated into the Juventus penalty area was attacked by Inter’s Kathellen. The defender’s effort struck the top of the crossbar.
After the hour mark, both coaches attempted to break the stalemate by turning to the substitutes’ bench. Joe Montemurro brought on Sofie Pedersen and Julia Grosso for Martina Rosucci and Lina Hurtig, the first two of five eventual changes.
Inter were still trying to exploit the pace of Njoya Ajara in attack. On 71 minutes she raced onto a through-ball and once again tested Peyraud Magnin. One minute later, however, the Juventus goalkeeper was beaten by Njoya’s low shot. Inter had found the lead.
The Bianconere pushed forward in search of the equalising goal. Agnese Bonfantini came close, when she met a corner at the far post. Again, Gilardi’s reflexes kept out the Bianconere.
In stoppage time, both teams created excellent chances. In the 92nd minute, Njoya released Ghoutia Karchouni. The Inter substitute had time before taking aim, but hit her shot over the bar as Peyraud Magnin closed her down.
Juventus stormed back up the pitch. Annahita Zamanian struck a vicious swerving shot that Gilardi parried before being helped out by her defenders.
Still Juventus did not stop believing, and their determination paid off in the 93rd minute. Lisa Boattin curved a corner kick directly into the far corner for a precious equaliser with a handful of seconds remaining.
All square with the second leg to play on February 13.
"We knew we were facing an excellent team away, who are trained very well. These are the Cup matches, in which you can give your all in a direct match. We expected this Inter Milan and we expected them to try to hurt us with their counterattacks. The latest performances? We have to find continuity, we have to find our level and maintain it, going back to what we did at the end of last year. Post-Covid and with the Super Cup it was a relentless restart, we just have to get back to our level. In Verona we know it will be a difficult match, like everyone else in this period."
"It was not our best match and we are sorry because we work hard and we should play better. However, we take home the attitude of the final minutes and the draw. We will continue to work to try to show what we feel in training on the pitch. To pass this round, we will have to impose our game and be more careful on the pitch. The goal? It also took a little luck, but I'm very happy."
«I like working with the girls, it's fantastic and I like how the team plays. We always want to have the ball and I like that. Today I got along very well with Sofie. I can't wait for the next match, each opponent gives something different and I can't wait to face new challenges."
INTER 1-1 JUVENTUS (HT: 0-0)
SCORERS: Ajara Nchout (I) 73', Boattin (J) 90+3’
Gilardi, Sonstevold, Brustia (61’ Karchouni), Bonetti (86’ Polli), Merlo, Sousa F., Pandini (73’ Portales), Simonetti, Csiszar, Kristjansdottir, Nchout (73’ Marinelli)
Subs not used: Durante, Landstrom, Santi, Pavan, Vergani.
Peyraud-Magnin; Lundorf, Gama, Lenzini (80’ Nilden), Boattin; Caruso (80’ Zamanian), Rosucci (65’ Pedersen), Cernoia (75’ Bonfantini); Bonansea (65’ Grosso), Staskova, Hurtig.
Subs not used: Aprile, Forcinella, Panzeri, Sembrant.