Soccer Magazine

Juventus 2 Inter Milan 0

By Stuartnoel @theballisround

Sunday 6th November 2022 8:45pm – Serie A – The Allianz Stadium, Turin

The final game in the Italian footballing weekend was a hour train ride, according to the schedule from Milan Centrale to Turin Porto Nuova and a visit to watch what has been named the Derby D’Italia by the media. No idea why – the two cities are 90 miles apart, and whilst Juve have won more times by some distance than any other club (36), Internazionale share second place in titles won (19) with city rivals AC Milan. Still, it gave the game some narrative and of course, gave some justification for the eye-watering ticket prices.

Go on The Brickies

" data-orig-size="2432,1824" src="" data-link="" data-image-title="SAM_6023" data-orig-file="" data-image-description="" data-url="" data-id="11751" data-medium-file="" data-permalink="" alt="" data-height="2734" srcset=";=600&ssl;=1 600w,;=900&ssl;=1 900w,;=1200&ssl;=1 1200w,;=1500&ssl;=1 1500w,;=1800&ssl;=1 1800w,;=2000&ssl;=1 2000w" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"3.2","credit":"","camera":"SAMSUNG WB600 \/ VLUU WB600 \/ SAMSUNG WB610","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1299353238","copyright":"COPYRIGHT, 2009","focal_length":"0","iso":"100","shutter_speed":"0.011111111111111","title":""}" data-large-file="" />
Juventus 2 Inter Milan 0
Juventus 2 Inter Milan 0

Go on then…

" data-orig-size="2382,1756" src="" data-link="" data-image-title="SAM_6039" data-orig-file="" data-image-description="" data-url="" data-id="11747" data-medium-file="" data-permalink="" alt="" data-height="1824" srcset=";=600&ssl;=1 600w,;=900&ssl;=1 900w,;=1200&ssl;=1 1200w,;=1500&ssl;=1 1500w,;=1800&ssl;=1 1800w,;=2000&ssl;=1 2000w" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"5.8","credit":"","camera":"SAMSUNG WB600 \/ VLUU WB600 \/ SAMSUNG WB610","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1299354759","copyright":"COPYRIGHT, 2009","focal_length":"0","iso":"800","shutter_speed":"0.004","title":""}" data-large-file="" />
Juventus 2 Inter Milan 0
Juventus 2 Inter Milan 0

The combined total ticket costs for the three other games in the weekend for all of us had been €153 (as I went solo to Brescia). When tickets went on general sale four weeks ago, the cheapest tickets available were €152. Naturally, with booking fees, “convenience fees” and local city tax took the final total to €169 each. Thankfully (in a financial sense), the Current Mrs Fuller had headed back to the UK for work, reducing the outlay slightly.

The fast train network in Italy is fantastic. Not only are the trains fast and direct, but you can travel in luxury and style (a previous trip saw us have a carriage with our own meeting room in) for little more than a standard price ticket. The train to Turin was an hour and we had a narrow turnaround (and check-in) at the hotel before we had to head out into the suburbs for the game. After 40 minutes we stopped at a station and virtually everyone got off. We waited at the station for 10 minutes then departed at a crawl for 5 minutes to Porta Nuovo. Of course, I should have looked at Google Maps and seen that the previous stop, Torino Porta Susa was 5 minutes from our hotel.

I’d been to Turin once before, back in October 2000, watching Juve vs Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League at the old Stadio Della Alpi – a white elephant of a stadium built for the 1990 World Cup Finals. It was horrible to watch a game at although my judgement was perhaps clouded by the fact I’d been ripped off by a tout earlier in the day when I was trying to find the ticket office. Seeing it closed (unbeknown to me it had closed for lunch), a friendly chap convinced me that the game was sold out, explaining Champions League tickets were Members only, but luckily he had a spare, from his brother no less, which he would sell me for €125. Of course, come kick off when there’s about 15,000 in the stadium and my “best seat in the house” was below pitch level and where the ultras in the 2nd tier threw their discarded, but still burning, flares. The game was a terrible 0-0.

I did however, see something that very few people in the world have seen “up close and personally”. The year 2000 coincided with the twenty year cycle of the Shroud of Turin being put on public show. Tickets were sold out months in advance and there was a waiting list of thousands to see it with only a small handful of people given access every day. I was wandering through Piazza San Giovanni when I saw a sign that said ‘Shroud” and an arrow. A group of youngish adults were in front of me and so I followed them, not knowing anything at the time about the ticket situation, or even what I was walking into.

It was a wet day and everyone was wearing jackets. We were welcomed by an ordained chap, in Italian, then ushered into a large chapel where everyone bowed their heads. Some of the group removed their jackets to reveal eclesiastic clobber on. Before I could make my apologies and quietly leave, stage left, a curtain was slowly raised and there before us, was the Shroud. I have no idea how I had managed to blag my way into one of the hottest tickets of the century and hadn’t even realised it. It was pushing my luck too much to take a picture (this was when mobile phones only allowed us to make calls, and play games such as snake) so I kept my head bowed, waited a respectable 5 minutes and left. A tall tale, but one that is 100% true.

So back to the year 2022 and Juventus were now playing at the Allianz Stadium, a functionally modern affair, built on the site of the Stadio Delle Alpi, which sits some way from the city centre. We got a tram, with was supposed to be a football special and dropping us right outside the ground, it we were having no public transport luck and it seemed got the only tram heading roughly in the right direction that terminated 20 minutes walk from the ground.

Finding the stadium was easy. Finding the way in was less simple. I mean, it is a 41,500 capacity arena, which lit up the Turin sky. But part of the redevelopment had seen a shopping centre, museum, gym and various restaurants built on the side of the stadium where our gate was supposed to be. I’m not stupid..OK, the combined intelligence of the three of us makes us “collectively” not stupid but we could not see any signs, or ways into the stadium. The game had just started but it seemed that the stadium had been locked down. We eventually found a steward, explaining the issue that we couldn’t find an entry gate let alone Gate D which was the one we needed.

“I have worked here 4 years and have never heard of this problem” said a steward. We literally walked away in the direction we had just come from where Gate D apparently was before we heard another group say exactly the same thing.

Gate D finally located we entered the stadium. Our seats were slap-bang next to the Inter fans, although this being Juventus, it was a very sanitised version of Italian football. The wide concourse concourse had an ice cream cart, a popcorn stand and a few Instagram booths. It felt like being backstage at the Ideal Home Exhibition.

We weren’t the only “tourists” in the crowd. Our section, handily acting as the human shield between the more hardcore Juve and away fans, was filled with club shop toting, scarf wearing, videoing fans. No wonder the tickets were so expensive – it was a tourist trap. There were fans around us wearing Juve shirts, Inter shirts, Brazil shirts, Chelsea shirts and even a Lewes shirt (OK, so that was me – I’d naturally gone with our white and black away number).

The atmosphere was OK – there was no tifosi, setting the rhythm and woe betide anyone who “lit” a e-cigarette, let alone a flare. The Inter fans, encased in glass wedge, made their feelings known, occasionally launching a plastic cup of beer (we hoped) over the top. The game was fairly even – both sides had experienced disappointing starts to the season and were desperate for points to put pressure on the top five.

Both sides had players familiar to our Premier League – Juve’s keeper these days is former Arsenal stopper and Scrabble player favourite Szczesney whilst Inter have former Manchester United player Henrikh Mkhtaryan and Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. The visitors also had two players carrying names of cities of culture – full-back Milan Skriniar, who may struggle to get a move to any other city in Italy and Dutch midfielder Denzil Dumfries, who has never actually been to the home of Queen of the South.

It was a tense first half with few chances. The biggest talking point of the half came when Lauren came back carrying three beers in one hand which brought a round of applause from the Inter fans for her dexterity. In other words, it wasn’t a classic.

A half-time light sound, with the in-stadium DJ providing the ear-splitting tunes went down well with the social media obsessed fans who posed in every direction possible. The world may have progressed but the slow deterioration of the half-time entertainment is lamented in modern football.

We finally had a goal in the 52nd minute. Inter’s corner was cleared and Juve had a spare man as they broke with speed. Kostic neatly turned his man, sprinted clear then crossed it for Rabiot to slot home.

Ten minutes later and Juve thought they had a spectacular second. Kostic’s corner was superbly volleyed Danillo, but the VAR somehow saw a handball, after six minutes of checking, that nobody else did after he struck the ball.

Juventus wrapped up the game and all three points with five minutes to go, again capitalising on the counter attack before Nicolo Fagioli smashed the ball home from the edge of the box. Cue the shower of beer/other strange orangey liquid coming from the Inter fans.

Thankfully, the exit from the stadium at full time and onto waiting buses was far more straight forward than before the game. However, any hope of finding anything open in terms of bars or restaurants at 11pm on a Sunday night was quickly dashed on the walk back from the metro station to the hotel. Turin is no Milan or Rome for its school night after hours partying.

And so another successful European Football Weekend drew to a close. Logistics had worked well and whilst it was ambitious to take in four games in thirty hours, it was doable, albeit with the unexpected route marches to and from Monza. Football in Italy delivers on so many levels – the passion of the fans, the technical ability of the players and the complete lack of queues at the bars are all major pluses. So here are my five quick tips to make the most of a weekend of culture, calcio and coffee.

  1. Double check with the official websites to ensure kick off times have not moved, especially for games outside of Serie A. Whilst the fixtures are now being set weeks in advance, there are occasional short-term rearrangements.
  2. Keep a close eye on when tickets go on sale via the official websites and ticket agencies. Most clubs use the likes of Vivatickets or Ticketone so it is worth registering with them so you get a heads up when they go on sale. Don’t worry if there’s still none on sale at first – some clubs will only put tickets on sale a week before the game.
  3. The most expensive tickets in most grounds are the “Preferencia” – many of the older grounds have limited cover – a trait that goes back to Roman times when the gladiatorial arenas only provided shelter to the wealthy, or preferencial ticket holders. So if you want cover, you have to pay for it! Tickets in the Curva are behind the goals and can often be in with the ultras.
  4. Do your research into how to get to the grounds – if you are travelling by public transport it is often worth buying your return tickets earlier in the day to avoid queues around kick off time.
  5. Get to the grounds 30 mins to an hour before hand. That will give you time to find the entrance you need (Juventus), go through the ID checks (Monza) or reach your seats which can often be high up in the Gods (Milan).

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog