Inter won a crucial Derby d’Italia against Juventus at San Siro on Sunday after a tense game that was decided by an own goal by Juve defender Federico Gatti in the first half Simone Inzaghi’s side won three points and are currently at the top of the table with a four-point advantage o Juventus but also with one game in hand. The Nerazzurri are now the frontrunners for the Serie A Scudetto race with 16 games left before the end of the season.
The game was tense in the first half, similar to the game back in November that ended 1-1 in Turin. It was only Gatti’s own goal that changed the direction of the clash with the guests forced to try at least to score one goal while Inter could wait a bit more and play on the counterattack. Juventus were not able to score even in the second half when they also had Federico Chiesa and Timothy Weah on the pitch, but Inter had two huge chances to score the second one, but both times Juve goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved his team on Nicolò Barella and Marko Arnautovic.
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Inter are now four points ahead of Juventus, with one game in hand to play against Atalanta on Feb. 28. Despite the points, Inter’s performances are showing that the Nerazzurri are the best team in the league with the best attack (51 points) and the best defense (only 10 goals conceded in 22 games).
More than the numbers and the stats, Inter this season are finally winning some key games, unlike since coach Inzaghi took charge in the summer of 2021. In his first season at the club, Inter lost a similar Scudetto game against Milan and from that moment on the Rossoneri started their race and won the title at the end. This season, the Nerazzurri won 5-1 the Derby della Madonnina against Milan back in September, won 3-0 away against current Serie A title holders Napoli and on Sunday against Juventus as well.
This was possible also thanks to the performances of some key players, including captain Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram. But also thanks to Hakan Calhanoglu, who against Juventus played one of the best games since he arrived. On Sunday, he had 126 passes with a 94.3% completion and 93.8% completion in the attacking third. More than the numbers, the quality of his plays were crucial for Inter. Calhanoglu is the one in charge of the rhythm of his team, he knows when to slow down and when to attack. Inter saw Marcelo Brozovic leaving the club last summer, but Calhanoglu was able to become a more key player than the Croatian, playing in the role of playmaker.
Inter are now well-positioned to win the Scudetto but need to be careful because Juventus won’t give up, and also AC Milan are only eight points behind the Nerazzurri. On top of that, on Feb. 20 Inter will play the UEFA Champions League round of 16 against Atletico de Madrid, while the Bianconeri will focus only on the league. Next weekend Inter will play at the Stadio Olimpico against AS Roma, and Romelu Lukaku is buzzing to face his former teammates after what happened back in October, when he was “welcomed” not particularly well in San Siro by his former fans. This time, in Rome, it will be different.