Inter midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu needed all his composure to convert his retaken penalty against Juventus yesterday evening, but he did enough to potentially put his team back into Scudetto contention.
This according to today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, who highlight the potentially massive significance of the moment for the 28-year-old.
Calhanoglu stepped up to take the spot kick awarded to Inter towards the end of the first half of their clash with Juventus, despite Lautaro Martinez being nominally the team’s first-choice penalty taker.
Simone Inzaghi gives his team freedom in almost all areas of decision-making on the pitch, and this includes the license to decide on who takes a penalty based on the moods of the players.
The Turk was confident and took his first effort, though it did not prove to be clinical enough and was well-saved by Bianconeri goalkeeper Wojcjech Szscesny.
However, after a lengthy scenario which saw the Nerazzurri midfielder seem to put the ball in the back of the net but then be whistled for a foul, the officials finally ruled that the penalty be retaken due to encroachment by defender Matthijs de Ligt.
This time there was even more pressure on Calhanoglu’s shoulders, and he had had much more time to think about it and to start doubting himself after his initial effort had not been up to the necessary standard.
However, his second attempt proved to be much better, and even though Szczesny went the right away again, the keeper was never going to get a hand to a shot that was struck with real power and precision.
Now, Calhanoglu, who joined from AC Milan last summer and has grown into the team throughout the season, has potentially given his team a priceless moment in the context of their pursuit of a second consecutive Serie A title.