A second-half Arturo Vidal equaliser earned Juventus a deserved share of the spoils from this evening’s closely-fought 1-1 draw with historic rivals Inter at the San Siro.
Both teams approached the game boasting 100 per cent starts to the 2013/14 campaign and displayed plenty of desire to maintain their victorious introductions during a hotly-contested 90 minutes.
Yet Antonio Conte and Walter Mazzarri eventually had to settle for a point apiece after seeing their respective sides cancel each other out within two frantic second-half minutes.
Substitute Mauro Icardi was first to draw blood after breaking through to slot past Gigi Buffon on 73 minutes. Yet the Bianconeri’s notorious never-say-die spirit again came to the fore as Vidal pounced to restore parity following good work from Kwadwo Asamoah.
Traditionally regarded as a tightly-contested affair played at 100 miles an hour, this season’s first Derby d’Italia proved no exception as both sides played their part in a fast-paced opening at the San Siro.
Juventus, who kept faith with the same starting line-up for a third game in succession, may have felt they could have taken an early lead when Carlos Tevez broke down the left wing and picked out Mirko Vucinic’s lung-busting run into a central area, only for Hugo Campagnaro to nick the ball away at the decisive moment.
Despite the visitors looking the most threatening of the two sides going forward, it was the Nerazzurri who produced the first effort on goal with 13 minutes played.
Having stolen a yard inside the penalty box, Yuto Nagatomo let fly with a well-executed left-footed shot on the volley, but Gigi Buffon took the plaudits with a fine reaction stop at his near post.
Back came the visitors and Vidal had what appeared to be a legitimate penalty claim fall on deaf ears after tangling with Saphir Sliti Taider inside the box, only for Orsato to award a free-kick after spotting a handball by the Chilean.
As the first half wore on, Andrea Pirlo began to gain increasing influence in the middle of the park and displayed his pinpoint accuracy when he picked out Paul Pogba’s perfectly timed run towards the back post, with the French midfielder unable to get enough power behind his shot to fully trouble Samir Handanovic in the Nerazzurri goal.
Inter upped the ante during the opening stages of the restart and sought on regular occasions to get behind the Bianconeri back three through Rodrigo Palacio. Down the other end, Tevez’s sharp movement in the final third appeared the most promising outlet for Conte’s men.
But the Nerazzurri’s increased endeavour soon began to ask some serious questions of the their opponents’ rearguard who, despite their admirable efforts at stifling the hosts’ counter-attacking threat, found themselves a goal behind after Icardi broke through to fire a clinical first-time finish past Buffon on 73 minutes.
Tasked with reversing a deficit in the lion’s den of the San Siro, Juventus rose instantly to the challenge and were back on level terms barely two minutes later. Asamoah’s bustling run down the left-hand side enabled him to clip the ball back from the byline, with Vidal again finding himself in the right place at the right time to register his third goal of the season.
The quickfire equaliser paved the way for a grandstand finish and Tevez could have turned the game on its head just moments later with a strike that whistled narrowly past the upright.
The Argentine remained a livewire right up until the closing stages, clipping in a magnificent cross that was headed straight at Handanovic by Vidal, while second-half substitute Mauricio Isla failed to capitalise on the follow-up.
Juventus will take plenty of heart from their determined resistance to Inter’s strong start to the season and will now focus their energies on beginning their Champions League campaign on a winning note when they take on FC Copenhagen on Tuesday night in Denmark.