A late strike from Alexis Sanchez saw Inter pip Juventus to the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday evening.
As reigning Serie A champions, Inter hosted the fixture and, as expected, started on the front foot. Despite the exhilarating energy of Juventus’ early pressing, Simone Inzaghi’s side managed to carve out several opportunities in the opening stages.
Lautaro Martinez was afforded far too much space in the penalty box before passing up two more-than-half chances within the first eight minutes, while Nicolo Barella was absolutely distraught over the referee’s decision not to award him a penalty following a coming together with Giorgio Chiellini in the area – looking back on it, he had a case.
I Nerazzurri were made to rue their early wastefulness when Massimiliano Allegri’s side broke the deadlock against the run of play after 25 minutes. Picking up a free ball on the right-hand side, Alvaro Morata’s cross took a significant deflection off Milan Skriniar before finding the head of an unmarked Weston McKennie, who gratefully put Juve ahead from close range.
Inter reacted well to the setback, however, and were finally awarded a spot kick when Edin Dzeko was criminally bundled over by a clumsy Mattia De Sciglio. Martinez stepped up and this time made no mistake by hammering home into the top corner to equalise 10 minutes after his side went behind.
Neither team maintained their intensity in the second half’s infancy, although Inter went close to pulling ahead in the contest around the hour mark. It was only a quick one-handed reflex stop from Mattia Perin that denied Denzel Dumfries a headed goal.
Martinez also came close to finding the back of the net with his head, before Ivan Perisic forced Perin into another save with a low drive from inside the penalty area. Inter’s gradual dominance in the tie’s closing stages, however, didn’t pay dividends as Inzaghi’s men were taken to extra time by I Bianconeri.
I Nerazzurri continued to push hardest and really should have pulled ahead soon after the restart, only for substitute Alexis Sanchez to head wide after receiving an inch-perfect cross to the six-yard line.
The Chilean, however, went from zero to hero as he scored the latest ever goal in Supercoppa history to secure victory. Juventus’ sloppy defending was punished as Matteo Darmian capitalised on a dreadful touch by Alex Sandro and teed up Sanchez in the process, before the forward clinically swept home to give a somewhat dull evening a dramatic finale in the 120th minute.
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 6/10 – Had no chance of keeping out McKennie’s close-range header and wasn’t actually overly troubled thereafter – despite the best part of another 100 minutes of football being played.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 7/10 – Intelligent and stoic at the back. Just the usual, really.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) – 6/10 – Largely dominant in his play, although found himself dozing as McKennie drifted into the six-yard box for the opener.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 7/10 – Showed off his long stride as he occasionally marauded forward majestically, surging upfield like a refined winger in his prime.
Denzel Dumfries (RWB) – 5/10 – Contained pretty well by Alex Sandro and was sometimes a bit too lax on the back foot.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 5/10 – Often bombed forward from midfield but, although he should have been awarded a penalty early on, didn’t really have that much of an influence.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 8/10 – Stunning awareness and composure at the heart of the side to recover possession then find a progressive out-ball countless times.
Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) – 4/10 – Really disappointing outing, bizarrely failing to showcase the obviously splendid creative talent he possesses.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 7/10 – Tricky down the left wing, troubling his opposition and notably providing some saucy link-up play that led to Dzeko winning Inter’s first-half penalty.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 7/10 – Squandered two great opportunities in the opening stages but almost took the net off with his third bite of the cherry.
Edin Dzeko (ST) – 7/10 – Such a strong and menacing presence, showing his nous to win his side a penalty in the first half and producing some effortlessly intelligent link-up play in the second.
Alexis Sanchez (ST) – 7/10 – May have missed a sitter but he ended a hero in the hearts of Inter fans. What an ending.
Joaquin Correa (ST) – 6/10 – Didn’t seem to stop sprinting after coming on.
Arturo Vidal (CM) – 5/10 – Kept the ball well, but could have been a little more adventurous given the circumstances.
Matteo Darmian (RWB) – 7/10 – Got forward to decent effect and was pivotal to the winning goal.
Federico Dimarco (LWB) – 5/10
Mattia Perin (GK) – 7/10 – No one was keeping out that Martinez penalty but Perin did well otherwise, making a few stops in the second half.
Mattia De Sciglio (RB) – 3/10 – I’d pay to see Roy Keane analyse his penalty-conceding challenge on Dzeko. Simply stupid.
Daniele Rugani (CB) – 6/10 – A little frazzled in pretty simple situations, but positioned himself well on several occasions to cut out the danger when things looked precarious.
Giorgio Chiellini (CB) – 8/10 – Simultaneously terrifyingly unforgiving yet meticulously precise in his challenges, showing that he’s still at the top of the game despite his age. Absolutely colossal.
Alex Sandro (LB) – 3/10 – Was so good defensively for 119 minutes. Then it all went Pete Tong. Oh, dear.
Federico Bernardeschi (RM) – 6/10 – Occasionally flashed his brilliance in the final third but that typical sloppiness and impetuousness came through as he got booked for such unnecessary dissent before the interval.
Manuel Locatelli (CM) – 5/10 – Seemed overwhelmed by the dynamism of his opposition and failed to ever really get a stronghold in the game.
Adrien Rabiot (CM) – 6/10 – Battled hard throughout, notably tracking back to make a sensational goal-saving challenge at the end of the first period.
Weston McKennie (LM) – 8/10 – Phenomenal energy to incessantly press his opposition, deservedly making use of a rare free header in the Inter box to break the deadlock.
Dejan Kulusevski (ST) – 5/10 – Started terribly, but woke up very quickly and started to enjoy himself with flicks and tricks in the face of some intimidating defenders. Played a large part in Juve’s opener, although faded out again after the break and was eventually hooked off.
Alvaro Morata (ST) – 7/10 – Very tenacious in his overall game, invariably chasing his opposition as well as lost causes – did so to good effect to grab an assist for McKennie’s strike – but had no central presence whatsoever.
Paulo Dybala (ST) – 5/10 – A few nice touches on the ball but couldn’t influence proceedings following his introduction.
Arthur (CM) – 5/10 – Forgot he’d come onto the pitch, in all honesty.
Moise Kean (ST) – 5/10 – Very little service to work with.
Rodrigo Bentancur (CM) – 5/10