There are games where the story comes easy and you don’t have to think twice about. There are others, like what we just saw between and at the Allianz Stadium, where there are so many twists and turns you rely more on the delete button more than anything else because you know damn well what you wrote in the first half ain’t necessarily going to be true at the final whistle.
Boy oh boy, what a 90 minutes (and stoppage time) we just witnessed.
I’m guessing the Italian media will just let this kind of result — and refereeing performance — just go quietly into the night knowing what was at stake for the former Italian champions.
Ah … but nah.
Juventus beat Inter 3-2 on Sunday night. That is the easiest part of this game to figure out after what we just saw take place in front of us. It was a roller coaster of the highest degree, one with questionable refereeing decisions from the early stages of the match until the very end. This will be a match that will be remembered more for the controversial calls more than anything else, but after Juan Cuadrado sunk an 88th minute penalty kick — the third PK of the night — it put Juventus in front one final time and allowed them to secure a massive three points in the race for the top four.
And after all of that, all the drama and surely the headline-worthy comments from those on the losing end of the final score, Juventus is in fourth place for at least the next few hours.
Now … breathe.
Or at least try to. Sometimes it’s tough after a second half like that.
This was a wild one, and one that lived up to the complete unpredictability that this season has provided. I think it’s fair to say that optimism wasn’t all that high knowing what Juve’s form has been over the last month or two, and when you combine that with Inter recently clinching the title and knowing what the current top four situation is then there was a chance for the new Serie A champions to come through and run right on through Andrea Pirlo’s squad.
But that didn’t happen. It didn’t happen in the slightest.
Juventus … weren’t bad. Were they dominant? No. of course not. But we did see one of the things that we’ve been asking to see from this Juventus team all season long: a sense of urgency and for them to play like they truly gave a damn. It’s unfortunate that we’re saying this in the second-to-last game of the 2020-21 season, but it’s true. This was a Juve that truly played like they cared, and they managed a game where they needed to do a whole lot of defending after Rodrigo Bentancur was (wrongly) sent off in the 55th minute quite well. That is not something we can say about Juve a whole lot this season, but even though they needed Cuadrado to put them back in front with the final chef’s kiss moment of the day thanks to Gianpaolo Calvarese, this was far from Inter dominating Juventus or anything close to it.
Juventus needed a performance like this against Inter. They needed to go the extra mile in the second half because they were down to 10 men. They had a little bit of luck on their side, too.