No longer undefeated, as Juventus encountered their first real stumbling block of the season in the Serie A, failing to capitalize on a fantastic start to the Derby d’Italia, as Inter showed that there’s an actual title race going, scoring three goals in the second half and proving that they are for real.
Where did it go wrong for Juventus? They scored 20 seconds into the match, with Kwadwo Asamoah getting the usual benefit of the doubt Juventus get from referees and going unoticed while being offside, finding Arturo Vidal to make it 1-0. Then came a blitz against a stunned Inter side, who didn’t really know how to handle the 3-5-2 and were forced to leave Samir Handanovic alone against the barrage. The Slovenian goalkeeper stood firm, and once Stephan Lichtsteiner made his way out, Juve never had the same hold over the match again.
Martin Caceres is a right back, not a wing back Juventus need for this kind of system, and their entire game shifted towards the left, which made it easier for Estaban Cambiasso to help Javier Zanetti against a slower and predictable Juventus. Using Mauricio Isla or Paul Pogba instead of Lichtsteiner might have been a better idea.
Mirko Vucinic also came off, and eliminated the forward-playmaker advantage Juventus usually have over their opponents, throwing in a bad Nicklas Bendtner, who most don’t really see what he’s doing on this team. Meanwhile, Inter grew in confidence and comfort in the middle of the field, and suddenly the Inter 3-4-3 looked like the superior tactic on the pitch. Diego Milito scored from the penalty spot, and the entrance of Fredy Guarin into the midfield completed shifted the balance of power in Inter’s favor, leading to the second goal.
The rest was just desperate attempts from Juventus to make it 2-2, but it ended in a 3-1 after another counter attack from Inter. The best team in Italy showed their first sign of weakness this season, finally succumbing to the lack of a quality striker problem, usually hidden by their overall quality.
Juventus are still on top of the table, but Inter are right there with them, one point behind, before Napoli play and have the option of making this, for now, a three horse race.