The Italian Cup has found a host. Inter dreams of a double gold
Six goals scored, 16 shots on target, a winning double by Ivan Perisic in overtime, a dashingly twisted affair involving the willful efforts of both teams, two penalty kicks, Massimiliano Allegri’s sending off – Juventus and Inter produced a truly legendary Italian Cup final at the Olimpico. It is the most resultative decisive match of the Italian Cup in the history of single-match finals (1943-1981 and since 2007), never before in a monofinal six goals have been scored, and in the XXI century it was maximum four.
It is not only the number of goals that matters but also the quality of the soccer storyline. It was of the highest caliber. The tone of the encounter was set by Nicolo Barella, who opened the scoring on 7 minutes with a brilliant strike from outside the penalty box. Juventus reacted to Inter’s early goals in the first half with two quick goals after the break: Alex Sandro and Dušan Vlahović turned the game upside down within two minutes and made it 2-1. Those numbers remained on the scoreboard until the 80th minute, when Hakan Calhanoglu equalized from a penalty cleverly drawn by Lautaro Martinez.
The Argentine’s fall looked picturesque, but Paolo Valeri had formal grounds for awarding a penalty, and Juventus paid the price for going too early in the game to hold the score. Two twos brought the game to extra time, which revealed the hero of the final, Ivan Perisic, who first converted a spot-kick (the regular punters Calhanoglu and Martinez were no longer on the pitch at the time) and then scored from around the Barella spot. Juve had no answer – 4-2 in favor of Inter, which won the Italian Cup for the first time in 11 years.
Inter in pursuit of the Golden Double
Simone Inzaghi has already won the Italian Cup in his coaching career with Lazio in the 2018/19 season, so this is his second trophy. Inzaghi also has three Italian Super Cups in his collection, but he has not yet won the Scudetto, but hopes to do so in the coming weeks. After the inspiring victory over Juventus in the Italian Cup final, Inter will concentrate on the championship, where there are two matches left to play against Cagliari and Sampdoria (18th and 15th teams in the standings). However, the Nerazzurri need not only their own victory, but also the defeat of AC Milan, which is two points ahead of its neighbors.
At the same time Stefano Pioli’s team has an objectively difficult calendar at the finish: the match against Atalanta, which needs victories to finish in the Eurocup zone, and an away meeting with the treacherous Sassuolo, who defeated AC Milan in their last two matches. An interesting fact: if AC Milan are still in first place, in Italy there will be a remake of the soccer season 2010/11, when Inter won the Cup and AC Milan won the Scudetto. The Rossoneri have not finished in first place in Serie A since, and Inter had not even made it to the Italian Cup finals before this season.
However, the Nerazzurri dream not about Milan’s double in national tournaments, but about their own Golden Double, which the last time Inter managed to do in 2010 under Jose Mourinho. In fact, back then it was not even a double, but a treble, because in addition to victories in the championship and the Italian Cup there was also a victory in the Champions League. Now it is only about domination in the Apennines, which is also a lot, given that Juventus only recently looked like a piece of real estate on the Italian throne.
Juventus have their first unbeaten season in 11 years
The same 2010/11 season that saw AC Milan win Serie A and Inter clinch the Italian Cup, was Juventus’ last campaign without a trophy until yesterday’s final. “The Old Lady had won nine consecutive league titles and four double titles, and last season they extended their trophy streak to ten years with a victory in the Italian Cup. There was a chance to use a similar trick now, but Inter were adamantly against it. As a result, Juventus were without titles for the first time since 2011. The final sunset of an era?
Comments and related events
- After the Italian Cup final, the imminent end of another, even longer era for Juventus has been confirmed. The era of Giorgio Chiellini. The Old Guard captain, symbol and great defender has been in Turin since 2005, but now he is ready to put an end to it:
I’m giving up my place to the youngsters, as I won’t be here next season. On Monday, I will say goodbye to the fans at the stadium, and against Fiorentina it will be my last match. I am saying goodbye to this team, of which I will be a big fan, because Juventus will always be in my heart.
- Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri explained how his suspension was provoked, and said his team must convert the frustration of this season’s setbacks into anger and a desire to win:
Someone from Inter walked by and kicked me. I got angry and the referee absolutely rightly suspended me. We showed a good game but we failed at the end. This experience will benefit us. It is a pity that we have not beaten Inter this season, neither in Serie A, nor today. We have not won a single trophy this season. We need to save that anger for next season, in which we need to get back on the winning track.
- Simone Inzaghi highlighted the character of his team and reminded that Inter continue to fight for the Scudetto:
Our team never gives up. When I needed a reaction, I have been getting it from this team since July until today, it has been overwhelming. We have a couple of matches left in Serie A and we want to win them. And then we look at the table.