Ivan Perisic came off the bench to score the decisive goal for Inter in a 2-1 victory over Juventus that gave head coach Frank de Boer his first home win as Inter coach.
The Croatian midfielder powered a header into the net in the 78th minute to send the San Siro crowd into raptures and the result was fully deserved.
In fact, the scoreline flattered Juventus, who came up against an Inter side playing their best football since De Boer was installed as coach and they would have been very fortunate had Stephan Lichtsteiner’s 66th minute goal proved to be the winner.
Mauro Icardi scored his fourth goal in as many Serie A games to equalise shortly after and it was Icardi who provided the assist for Perisic to score the winner.
Inter, who struggled to play De Boer’s preferred brand of expansive football in their opening three games, were compact, cohesive and robust against a Juventus side not used to being pressed and harried as they were at San Siro.
The result leaves Juventus in second place in Serie A behind Napoli while Inter – who saw Ever Banega sent off late on – climb into the top half of the table.
Massimiliano Allegri rested Gonzalo Higuain, despite the Argentine netting a brace in his first Serie A start for the club against Sassuolo, and his side seemed to lack purpose without him leading the line.
Sami Khedira was put clean through on goal in the opening minute but Inter were saved by the offside flag, and the scare prompted Frank de Boer’s men to slow things down and compose themselves.
Inter have found goals hard to come by this season and, despite enjoying long spells of possession in the first half against Juventus, they struggled to trouble Gianluigi Buffon’s goal.
The best chance of the first half fell to Khedira, who was completely unmarked when Alex Sandro’s cross picked him out but his header went weakly into the hands of Samir Handanovic, who released Icardi at the other end.
Icardi jinked his way into the Juventus box and unleashed a swerving shot that clipped the post on its way wide, leaving the scoreline goalless at half-time.
Inter ramped up the pressure after the break and forced Juventus into a number of errors that produced chances for Gary Medel, Eder, Danilo D’Ambrosio and Icardi, but they were all wasted.
Juventus, having survived a long spell of Inter pressure, struck what looked like a killer blow after 66 minutes when Alex Sandro broke down the left and crossed for Lichtsteiner to score from close range.
But less than two minutes later Inter were level thanks to their inspirational captain Icardi, who leaped above a crowded penalty area to connect with Banega’s corner and head the ball past Buffon.
Inter continued to push forward and they were rewarded when Kwadwo Asamoah gave the ball away cheaply to Candreva, before Icardi delivered a sublime pass with the outside of his boot that found the head of Perisic and he found the corner of the net.
Higuain was sent on by Allegri in the closing stages and he flashed a glancing header wide with Handanovic rooted to the spot, but Inter were not to be denied a hard-fought victory.
The only downside for De Boer was Banega’s red card in the final minute for a second bookable offence, but his dismissal and ensuing suspension failed to take the edge off a fine victory for Inter and their ecstatic supporters.
Key Opta Stats:
– Inter’s previous home win against Juventus in the league dated back to April 2010.
– Mauro Icardi has scored seven goals in his eight Serie A clashes with Juventus (his favourite opponent in the top-flight).
– Icardi has had a hand in each of the five Inter’s goals in the current Serie A: four scored and one assisted.
– Stephan Lichtsteiner’s previous Serie A goal was in January 2015 (vs Chievo): 601 days ago.
– Prior to today, Juventus had won each of the 11 league matches Lichtsteiner scored in.
– The last time Juventus lost a league match after having been ahead was in April 2015, against Torino.