After a first half which saw Inter spurn a few good chances and Juve create very little, the home side settled in the second period, ran a few risks yet also made some openings of their own as they remained comfortable defending their healthy lead to progress through the final.
Buffon – A bit edgy for a brief period, other than which he was solid with no saves to make of any real note such was the powerful blockade of Juve defenders between him and the shots fired in. 6
De Ligt – Moving through the gears now and looked solid with Demiral and the nearby experience of Danilo and Sandro to fall back upon when needed. 6.5
Demiral- One of his best showings of the campaign so far. He needs to play more regularly to maintain this form. 6.5
Sandro – Not much space to work with and stayed deep to help stem the flow of Hakimi. 6.5
Danilo – He really does seem a different player this season. Quick, great reading of danger, decent enough on the ball and in the air. He has become a very reliable CB able to play across the back four comfortably in any position. 7
Freddy – Fairly useless with the ball at his feet, but did pester Hakimi and force him to backtrack rather than charge constantly down the flank. Which was his task, so well done Freddy. 6
Rabiot – Saw very little of the Frenchman but also saw little of the Inter midfield with any time on the ball. Proving he was busy and effective. 6.5
Bentancur – Slightly more prominent than his partner in the middle, and did find himself getting forward on several occasions – he needs more confidence to shoot on goal rather than always looking to play in a team-mate. 6.5
Juan – Hectic in both halves, assisting at the back and stretching the play the best he could up top. A solid innings. 6.5
Kulu – Dropped deep to hustle Brozovic often, which very much impacted Inter’s ability to play out from the back. Sacrificed his own game for the team. 6.5
Ronaldo – Created a handful of opportunities which were all too close to the keeper or blocked. Led the line well. 6.5
Mckennie – Still looks tired. Played in Ronaldo for a decent opening, muscled in defensively yet also gave the ball away cheaply on several occasions. 6
Chiellini – The Centurion appeared as the silent dagger in the hearts of black and blue for it signaled the end of their hopes and dreams of progression. 6
Pirlo – 7 He has reached the coppa italia final in first attempt. Comfortably, albeit through two freak goals in the first leg and a resolute defensive performance last night.
The team was set up to nullify Inter, as we were set up to nullify Roma. We can play like this with Ronaldo up top, and if Chiellini starts, we become very hard indeed to break down and very Ronaldo focused on the break. It does however greatly lessen the potency of whoever plays LM, the hybrid AM/RM role and SS. A lot of talent to focus on nullifying the opponent, and relying on counter attacks with Ronaldo.
Its working. Though I would rather see the Kulu of his sparkling Parma form last season, when played as a RWF. As I would rather see Mckennie in his natural box to box rampaging, Chiesa at RWF or even as the SS or a CF alongside Ronaldo. Dybala of course allowed to play close to goal and centrally…
It is odd to see a side playing several players outside of their natural roles in order to make a system more effective. My conclusion remains the same, in that I hope Pirlo can transition to a system which thrives with players in their natural roles…as I believe this is the key to success I see in the other successful sides who rarely shoe-horn so many of their starting XI into new roles.
Sound progress nonetheless. All the more impressive as achieved last night without Morata, Dybala, Arthur, Bonucci, Tek and barely a crunching tackle of Chiellini or explosive charge forward of Chiesa.
Follow me on twitter HERE