In a match short of goalmouth incident and dominated largely by impressive defensive displays from both sides, it was always going to require something special to tip the balance in one team’s favour.
Cue Simone Zaza, who capped off a lively performance from the substitutes’ bench with a brilliantly taken 88th minute winner that has propelled the Bianconeri into top spot.
The striker, however, was keen to emphasise the hard work and graft undertaken by his colleagues in laying the platform for his heroics late on.
He began: “It was a very difficult match. We knew that they could cause us harm on the counter-attack and therefore we looked to limit their goalscoring opportunities.
“Clearly it was a game that required the utmost effort from every member of the team. Our aim was always to win the match and we’re very satisfied that we’ve managed to do that.”
The victory, a 15th in a row for Massimiliano Allegri’s men, has allowed the Bianconeri to leapfrog Napoli into top spot for the first time this season, and Zaza urged his team-mates to build upon their position of strength as they persist with the pursuit of a fifth Scudetto title.
“I hope that this victory can mark a big moment in our season. The good thing now is that we’ve our destiny in our own hands.
“On a personal level, I’m very satisfied with my performance tonight, but, most of all, I’m delighted with our current form, which has put us in pole position in the league.”