Alessandro Matri scored a second half winner as Juventus tightened their grip on their second successive Scudetto with a 2-1 victory over Internazionale.
Fabio Quagliarella opened the scoring with a stunning dipping drive after three minutes, but a strong run and neat finish by Rodrigo Palacio levelled soon after the break.
The lead was short-lived Matri slotted in from close range on the hour. His proved to be the winning goal in the Derby d'Italia for the second time in just over two years.
There was controversy, however, when Inter substitute Esteban Cambiasso was shown a straight red card for a rash lunge on Sebastian Giovinco as the full time whistle sounded. Chaotic scenes followed as a pulsating game of football ended in a farcical manner.
With Bayern Munich in the Champions League on the horizon, Juventus coach Antonio Conte may have been tempted to rest a few star names for this one. But with the exception of Mirko Vucinic, who was forced to withdraw through illness, Juventus were at full strength.
And they wasted no time in stamping their authority on the game, with the game exploding into life three minutes in. Collecting the ball 25 yards out Quagliarella let fly with a stunning dipping drive, which sailed beyond Samir Handanovic and into the top corner.
But Juve were dealt a slice of luck when Leonardo Bonucci appeared to handball in his own area - a penalty was not given. That luck was cancelled out when at the other end the Bianconeri were denied a penalty of their own when Javier Zanetti seemed to handle the ball in similar circumstances.
Buffon made two superb stops to deny the bright Antonio Cassano and then Palacio, but Juve held firm until the break. But Inter started the second half well and struck within 10 minutes of the restart, albeit in controversial circumstances: Cassano spotted the run of Palacio, rolled the ball into the Argentine’s path and he guided it neatly under Buffon from 10 yards.
Juve responded well to the equaliser though, and the travelling support behind the goal only had to wait six minutes before they were celebrating again. Arturo Vidal threaded the ball through to Quagliarella, whose cut back was touched in by Matri at the near post. Matri also scored the winner in the Derby d’Italia in February 2011, and he was the hero again as Inter failed to recover from that killer blow.
A late flurry of half-chances that saw goalkeeper Handanovic rush up into the Juventus box came to nothing as Conte’s side took all three points from Milan. However the game was marred by a senseless late tackle by Cambiasso on Giovinco, which enraged the Juventus bench before the Argentine was shown a straight red card.
- Sports & Recreation
- Alessandro Matri
- Fabio Quagliarella
- Rodrigo Palacio