Inter 1-1 Juventus: Late Dybala penalty cancels out Dzeko strike

By Sports Desk October 24, 2021

Paulo Dybala's late penalty cancelled out Edin Dzeko's first-half strike as Inter were held by Juventus 1-1 in Sunday's Derby d'Italia clash in Serie A.

The Bianconeri started this term poorly – going winless in their first three top-flight games – but had responded well with a four-match winning run before travelling to Inter, who were facing consecutive league defeats for the first time since March 2020.

However, it was Dzeko who opened the scoring after 17 minutes at San Siro with his eighth goal of the season as the division's early top scorers added their 24th goal of the term.

Juve's nine-match unbeaten run across all competitions seemed destined to end but Dybala's late penalty, aided by a VAR decision that infuriated Simone Inzaghi so much he was sent off for his reaction, ensured Massimiliano Allegri's men left Milan with a point.

Samir Handanovic produced a fine double save to deny Alvaro Morata and Alex Sandro in the opening stages after Milan Skriniar had headed narrowly wide for Inter.

Hakan Calhanoglu then curled against the right-hand post before Dzeko converted on the rebound from close range – his fifth Serie A goal in just four home appearances so far this campaign.

Juan Cuadrado fired wide at the other end and Leonardo Bonucci sliced off target on the stroke of half-time as Juve looked to respond.

Dzeko flicked wide after the interval as he sought to extend Inter's lead before Ivan Perisic skewed over Wojciech Szczesny's goal just after the hour mark.

Substitute Dybala's free-kick was then beaten away by Handanovic before the Argentina international converted from the spot to score a late equaliser following Denzel Dumfries' foul on Alex Sandro, which was picked up by VAR.

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    Two years after meeting in the 2020 Eastern Conference finals, the Boston Celtics are on a mission to flip the script on the Miami Heat.

    In that 2020 series, which the Heat won 4-2 in 'the bubble' to advance to the NBA Finals, the Celtics were the higher seed, and were playing in their third Eastern Conference Finals in the space of four seasons.

    But in hindsight, it was Miami who were built to win that series, despite it being their first time past the second round since LeBron James carried them to the finals in 2014.

    Jimmy Butler was invigorated in his first year in Miami, in his physical prime at 30 years old and was determined to show he was not at fault for pushing his way out of the Minnesota Timberwolves and being traded from the Philadelphia 76ers in the space of a year.

    He was also supported by Goran Dragic, just two years removed from his lone All-Star appearance, who in the series averaged 20.5 points and 4.7 assists per game in 34 minutes.

    As well as having two strong initiators, the Heat also had a complete mismatch in the form of Bam Adebayo against a Celtics team starting Daniel Theis at center, with no competent back-up. Adebayo averaged 21.8 points while shooting over 60 per cent from the field, with 11 rebounds and five assists per game, and was clearly the most dominant player in the series.

    When taking into account an outlier 37-point showing from Tyler Herro on 14-of-of-21 shooting that single-handedly won Game 4 112-109 for the Heat – making it a 3-1 series lead instead of 2-2 heading back to Boston – it begins to become clear that there was not much the Celtics could do, given their personnel.

    Fast-forward a couple of years, 22-year-old Jayson Tatum is now 24 and in the midst of a rapid ascension into the game's best players, 23-year-old Jaylen Brown is now 25 and has developed into a true number-two option, Marcus Smart is now 28 years old and the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and, more importantly, the supporting cast is built for the long-haul.

    Replacing Theis with Al Horford may be the most consequential addition or subtraction on either side, with the potential to nullify the series-altering presence of Adebayo on the inside. Horford will also have help in the form of Robert Williams III – who became one of the best defensive players in the league this season – while Theis remains as a 'break glass in case of emergency' option.

    Adding to the rise of the Celtics has been the emergence of Grant Williams as a reliable two-way player, capable of slowing down Giannis Antetokounmpo while hitting over 40 per cent of his threes, as well as the trade to add Derrick White as a second defensively sound 'small' guard next to Smart.

    For a team with a real defensive identity – willing to 'switch' every screen and allow their small guards to take on bigger assignments – being able to replace Kemba Walker with a trustworthy, stout defender completely takes away an avenue of attack for a sharp offensive team like Miami.

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    During that stretch, the Celtics were the number one offense – with a gap to the Charlotte Hornets at number two – and the number three defense, with a net-rating of 12.7. The Memphis Grizzlies (7.6) were the only other team with a net-rating above 6.0.

    For the Heat, Dragic has been replaced by Kyle Lowry, who is now 36 years old and recovering from his second hamstring injury of the playoffs, and the veteran presences of Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder have been replaced by a combination of Max Strus, Gabe Vincent and the shell of Victor Oladipo.

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    Miami's second-best scorer this postseason has been Adebayo, way down at 14.6 points per game compared to his 19.1 for the regular season.

    Butler was perfectly matched up against the Philadelphia 76ers, who have no wing defenders capable of matching the Heat star physically – but the Celtics do not have the same problem.

    The Celtics have at least four players – Tatum, Brown, G. Williams and R. Williams – who match up well with Butler, and they showed against the Milwaukee Bucks that they were more than happy to play straight-up defense and force one player to try and beat them with isolations all day.

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    Massimiliano Allegri paid tribute to departing heroes Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala, whose Turin farewells ended in a 2-2 draw against Lazio.

    The first half was a celebration, as Dusan Vlahovic put the hosts up 1-0 just 10 minutes in before Alvaro Morata doubled the advantage after 36 minutes.

    An Alex Sandro own goal set up a tense finish, though, before Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored a dramatic 96th-minute equaliser to put a slight dampener on an emotional evening at the Allianz Stadium.

    Despite seeing his side held at home, Allegri only wanted to focus the impact of Chiellini and Dybala to the Bianconeri.

    "Tonight was a wonderful evening, full of emotions – the evening of Chiellini and Dybala," he told Sky Sport Italia.

    "One stops and has given a lot to world football, out of passion and love of work. A few videos of Chiellini should be sent to Coverciano [Italy's main youth training centre] to show how he defends.

    "On a personal and human level, he also left a lot to me when I arrived at Juventus. He introduced me to Juventus and helped me. 

    "Dybala was an important player for seven years, I raised him because he was a child and the fans gave a well-deserved tribute. All with great class.

    "He has grown a lot, he arrived as a kid, he won the job. He has done great things and I wish him the best. There was so much emotion that I think talking about something else has little value."

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    "The ideas are clear, then the market can develop in various ways," he said.

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    "The matches up to October travel at certain rhythms, from October to March to others. As a child I used to say that when the daisies bloom, the rhythms drop and you need players of great technique. 

    "The players must be chosen when they go fast, then to win they must be fast and with great technique."

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    Giorgio Chiellini asserted it was the right time to end his Juventus career after making his final home appearance for the club, revealing Italy's failure to reach the Qatar World Cup influenced his decision.

    Chiellini played the first 17 minutes of a Serie A clash with Lazio on Monday, in which Juve threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2.

    First-half goals from Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata looked set to ensure the Bianconeri marked the Allianz Stadium swansong of Chiellini – and Paulo Dybala – with a win, only for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to equalise with the final kick of the game after Alex Sandro put through his own net.

    The 37-year-old defender, who has won 20 trophies during his incredible career with the Turin giants, has made 392 top-flight appearances for the club, a tally bettered only by Gianluigi Buffon (489) and Alessandro Del Piero (467).

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    "The decision came in months, weeks, not days," he told Sky Sports Italia. "I have always said that I would like to leave at a high level, and I succeeded. 

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    The legendary Chiellini has made 25 appearances for Juventus in all competitions this season, 17 of them starts.

    Chiellini will end his Italy career after facing Argentina at Wembley Stadium on June 1, having won 116 caps to date during a glittering career with the Azzurri.

    Having helped Italy to Euro 2020 glory last year, he revealed March's shock World Cup qualification play-off defeat to North Macedonia had influenced his desire to step away from both Serie A and international football.

    "Of course, I wanted to get to the World Cup. It was the obsession I had after the European Championship," he added. "It is inevitable that I cannot play every match, but I wanted to be part of the national group. 

    "It didn't go the way we wanted, which accelerated my choice. [But] I leave a national team and a Juve in good hands."

    Chiellini is not planning on retiring, however, and has been linked with a potential move to Major League Soccer.

    Although he said he had not yet made a final decision regarding his future, Chiellini hinted that a move abroad would interest him. 

    "I don't know. It has attracted me, but for 10 years, I have to decide at home," he added. 

    "An experience abroad enriches you, I think I need to see a little outside my life and Juve. I have to understand together with the family, I have to take a look outside, also for my future."

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