Rarely does a Derby d’Italia pass without incident and controversy – especially one involving a certain Antonio Conte – and Tuesday’s encounter between Juventus and Inter was no exception.
The two fierce rivals met in Turin to battle it out in the second leg of the Coppa Italia semi-finals, with I Bianconeri holding a 2-1 lead from their first outing. Andrea Pirlo got the better of his former boss again, holding their visitors to a 0-0 draw and simultaneously booking their place in the final.
Unsurprisingly though, the football was overshadowed by one man who just can’t stop himself from being the centre of attention. Conte was kicking every ball on the touchline, and he allowed the occasion to get the better of him, reacting badly to the eagle eyes of Juventus’ owner Andrea Agnelli in the stands.
The Inter coach, clearly perturbed by Agnelli’s presence or behaviour, decided to make his feelings plain to all, sticking a sneaky middle finger up at his former employer as the two teams headed into the half-time interval.
Naughty stuff. In the end, it was Juve who had the last laugh, with I Nerazzurri unable to find their way past a 43-year-old Gianluigi Buffon. Clearly pumped up by this important victory, Agnelli celebrated with his staff and then launched his own foul-mouthed tirade on the Inter coach.
It appeared as if the Juve president shouted, “F**k off, shut up asshole!” as he walked down the steps from his seat. Game, set and match Bianconeri.
Conte was typically bristly after the defeat, and while speaking to Rai1, urged Juve to ‘tell the truth’, while claiming ‘they should be more polite.’ There is some irony in there somewhere, if you look hard enough.
“Juventus should tell the truth. I think the fourth official heard and saw what happened throughout the match.
“They should be more polite in my opinion. They need more sportsmanship and respect for those who work.”
What did Pirlo have to say about it, then? Well, the maestro played the diplomat, and claimed not to have seen it, choosing instead to savour the taste of sweet victory.
“I didn’t see it, I had entered the dressing room” he said. I had other thoughts at the time.
Classy as ever.