Guiseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy
October 4th 2010, 12:15 AM, IST
When it comes to football rivalries or the so-called Derbies, there aren’t many that are bigger than the “Derby d’Italia” – the one between arguably the two most successful clubs in Italy. It’s that time of the year again when the boys from Turin travel to Milan to lock horns with the Nerazzurris, who have now exchanged the title of Nemesis from the Bianconeris. Inter versus Juventus is the most intense cross-city rivalry in Italy. And on Sunday, one will get to experience why.
This fixture has a rich history with both the sides managing to take the bite off each other for a number of times. Juventus have been the better of the two in this fixture, winning 80 games. Whilst inter have notched 55 wins, the rest 45 games have been stalemates. Although Inter have been a far tougher side to beat currently, you can never predict a tightly contested Derby match in football as ‘The Old Lady’ will be looking to snatch an important win on Sunday.
This encounter will also have a deep impact on the Serie-A tables and its dynamics for the future season as both Inter and Juve are in desperate need of points. Inter, although on top of the table, have Lazio hanging with them and after last week’s surprise defeat at Roma, have lots of injured players to be looked after. Juve are still lagging in mid-table and the 4-2 result against Cagliari was only their second win of the season, which adds extra pressure on Coach Del Niri to make La Vecchia Signora a team that can rise up from the slump that lead to last season’s disaster.
In midweek, Juventus played a hard fought draw in the Europa League with Money Men of football Manchester City holding them to a 1-1 draw at the Eastlands. Meanwhile, off the pitch retractions have begun with former director Luciano Moggi bashing Inter president Massimo Moratti who made the infamous “Juventus owe us titles” jibe.
The drama and action in the game looks certain, as Juve have displayed the worst defending in the league so far, having conceded nine goals in five games. That’s not counting the Europa League group phase, which would take that tally to 13 goals in seven. Gigi Del Niri’s men are also easily the most prolific with 12 goals in Serie A so far. They have to find a balance, especially against a side as clinical as Inter and as per Gigi Del Niri they’ll yet again hope that Krasic fires with similar sensation like he did against Cagliari.
Inter’s Eto’o too showed exactly why he is such a feared center-forward, netting a hat-trick in the 4-0 Champions League demolition of Werder Bremen on Wednesday evening and all eyes will be on him against not a very quick Juventus defense.
Inter Milan: Rafa Benitez’s injury troubles still exist. Thiago Motta is out of action, but Javier Zanetti, Samuel, Lucio and Milito could still recover in time. Goran Pandev returns from his knee problem and Julio Cesar is ready to guard his fort after his precautionary substitution against Bremen. If Milito doesn’t make it, then Coutinho can move into Eto’o’s old wide role.
Possible Starting Lineup: Julio Cesar; Maicon-Lucio-Cordoba-Chivu; Stankovic-Cambiasso-Pandev; Coutinho-Sneijder-Eto’o.
Juventus: The Bianconeris also have injury problems of their own. Amauri is still a doubt, while Gigi Buffon and Armand Traoré are long-term absentees. Del Piero is always up for this big game, after playing in Thursday’s 1-1 Europa League draw with Manchester City where he got very close to scoring. Vincenzo Iaquinta scored in that game and is likely to be preferred over Fabio Quagliarella. Alberto Aquilani got his debut last week, but is again likely to be overlooked in favour of Felipe Melo and Claudio Marchisio. Paolo De Ceglie is back from injury, but all eyes are on Milos Krasic after his sensational hat-trick against Cagliari.
Possible Starting Line-up: Storari; Motta, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Krasic, Felipe Melo, Marchisio, Pepe; Del Piero; Iaquinta
Inter Milan: W-L-W-W-D
TheHardTackle’s Matter of Fact:
This fixture has not ended in a Serie A draw since the 2-2 on November 28 2004, followed by one away win and two consecutive home victories. The last goalless stalemate was in February 1999.
TheHardTackle’s Players to watch out for:
Samuel Eto’o (Internazionale Milan)
He really is on fire at the moment and has a point to prove in the centre-forward role. The Cameroon hitman has scored 11 goals in official games so far this season – five in Serie A, four in the Champions League and two in the Italian Super Cup. Not only that but he scored twice in three meetings with Juventus last term between Serie A and the Coppa Italia. With the lacklusture defense that Juve have, Chiellini will have to work very hard to keep him in control or else he could run riot!
Milos Krasic (Juventus):
Juve’s summer signing, Serbian Milos Krasic has had a mixed start to his career at his new home in Italy. Off late, the ex CSKA Moscow man has come good and is starting to build his reputation with “The Old Lady” faithful. The man from Kosovska scored a superb hat-trick against Cagliari. Del Neri will surely depend on Krasic along with Del Piero to provide the creative spark to unlock Inter’s resilient defence.
When it comes to Derby matches, it is almost impossible to predict the outcome as both the teams will be gearing for action with pride. Inter are flying high after their midweek endeavors in the Champions league. On the other hand, Juventus are confident after their successful outing against Cagliari.
Juve will be looking to contain Inter and hit them on the break through Krasic and Pepe from the wings. On the other hand, Inter will be looking to gain some consistency in attack and entertain their home fans.
Both the sides are scoring goals for fun at the moment and one can expect an entertaining match at the Meazza. But considering the recent form from midweek and the home support, Inter may just be able to edge this encounter and maintain their leadership position in the table.
TheHardTackle’s Blast from the Past: