Now that was painfully intense, wasn’t it?
Juventus beat the odds to secure a dramatic late victory against Inter in the famous Derby d’Italia. Andrea Pirlo’s men took the lead twice, but the Nerazzurri leveled on both occasions.
Nevertheless, and despite the numerical disadvantage, Juan Cuadrado’s determination dragged the Bianconeri towards a win that kept them in the running for a Top four spot.
So here are three things we learned from Juve’s win against their hated rivals.
Man of the year
By the end of the campaign, we can all expect Cristiano Ronaldo to be named as the MVP of the season by the club, because: 1) He’s Cristiano Ronaldo. 2) He scored lots of goals.
Whilst this impending outcome wouldn’t be completely unfair, but it must be said that Cuadrado stepped up and fought until the very end whenever his side needed him the most.
The Colombian has been an assist-machine throughout the campaign, but picked the right timing to open his goal-scoring account with a thunderous deflected shot towards Samir Handanovic’s goal.
When all hope was lost following Inter’s late 2-2 equalizer, La Vespa won a spot kick and converted it himself, before ending the visitors’ numerical advantage by causing a second yellow card for Marcelo Brozovic.
Solid shift in the middle
Thankfully, Saturday’s result was a positive one, and therefore we shall stay away from negative aspects (AKA Rodrigo Bentancur) and focus on the the more positive ones (like Adrien Rabiot).
The French midfielder has been inconsistent throughout the campaign, but in the last few weeks, he’s showcasing some of the characteristics that can set him up as a true midfield enforcer.
From his late cameo against Udinese, to his strong showing at Sassuolo, all the way to the commanding display against Barella and the other Inter midfielders, the former PSG man might be finally willing to step up and fulfill his initial promise… or maybe he’ll just disappoint again.
But remember, positive thoughts.
Tactics on point
Anyone who watched Juventus throughout the season would have noticed that Pirlo has scuffed his tactics on some occasions – or more accurately on many occasions.
So when the young manager opted to play Dejan Kulusevski in attack alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, leaving Alvaro Morata and Paulo Dybala on the bench for a must-win clash, eyebrows were rightfully raised.
Nevertheless, the young Swedish star pressed high against Brozovic from the get-go, preventing the midfield anchor from comfortably dictating the play, which paved the way for Juventus to control the middle of the park during the first half.
Even after going down to 10-men, Pirlo made the right substitutions, especially when brining in Weston Mckennie, taking out Ronaldo, and turning Danilo into a central midfielder.
The 41-year-old still has long way in front of him, and Juventus would do better to allow him to embark on a learning tour elsewhere, but we must admit that his tactical abilities are far from being hopeless.