After a 2-1 away victory in the first leg, Juventus will be heading to the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi finals with a significant advantage.
Last week’s result means that Inter will enter tonight’s match with their backs against the walls. The Nerazzurri’s mission is pretty straightforward – they must win by scoring at least two goals.
On the hand, Andrea Pirlo has several paths towards the tournament’s final. Whilst another win would definitely please the Bianconeri fans, a draw would be more than enough. Even a 1-0 loss would seal a bittersweet qualification thanks to the away goal rule.
So which mentality should the Maestro apply for this decisive encounter?
Sometimes, having fewer options could be a blessing in disguise. Think about Juve’s historical 3-0 victory against Atletico Madrid two years ago. The team entered the second leg trailing 0-2 on aggregate, but a heroic performance coupled with a Ronaldo hat trick sealed an epic comeback.
So is having several options end up being a burden for Pirlo?
Undoubtedly the young tactician has a dilemma to solve. On one hand he can choose to play cautiously and defend his first leg advantage, whilst on the other, he can decide to allow his players and the fans to enjoy the top clash, and pretend as if last Tuesday’s match never happened.
Nonetheless, the first option can be as dangerous as the second if not more. Atletico manager Diego Simeone would probably testify on the matter.
Inter relied on the attacking duo of Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez during the first leg. When Juve sat back in the second half, the two speedy strikers had difficulties in breaking through the defensive lines – although the Chilean was very close to scoring.
However, a certain Romelu Lukaku will be back for the second leg. Thus, in the presence of the towering Belgian, the idea of allowing Inter to take the initiative and closing down the spaces sounds even more absurd, as their star striker will eventually find his way with one or two long balls.
Therefore, Pirlo should rather focus on depriving the opponent from the ball, and with players like Rodrigo Bentancur and possibly Arthur in the second half, the Old Lady possesses the right tools to win the technical battle in the middle.
But at the end of the day, the Bianconeri supporters will be hoping for a positive result regardless of the deployed tactics.