Both strikers on the scoresheet as Juve emerge 2-1 winners from this afternoon’s Derby d’Italia clash with Inter
Juventus strengthened their grip on pole position with this afternoon’s fine 2-1 Derby d’Italia victory over historic rivals Inter at the San Siro.
Antonio Conte’s men produced a mature display from start to finish and immediately had their hosts on the back foot after Fabio Quagliarella curled home a sensational effort with just three minutes played.
Inter rallied after the interval and got back on level terms when Rodrigo Palacio latched on to Antonio Cassano’s slide-rule pass before tucking the ball neatly past the advancing Gianluigi Buffon on 54 minutes .
But the Bianconeri refused to let their heads drop and saw their persistence rewarded when Quagliarella cut back for Alessandro Matri to slam past Samir Handanovic and guarantee a repeat of last year’s 2-1 scoreline.
Revenge was very much at the top of the agenda in the build-up to the 190th Derby d’Italia, with Inter the side to have ended the Bianconeri’s unbeaten run when the teams last locked horns in September.
And Conte’s men made their intentions perfectly clear by taking the lead inside the opening three minutes through Quagliarella’s blockbuster finish. After finding himself in space on the edge of the area, the striker, recalled to the side as one of three changes from the 2-0 win over Bologna, guided a magnificent shot into the top corner that left Handanovic rooted to the spot.
The early goal sparked the hosts into action and the Bianconeri had Buffon to thank for producing two excellent saves in as many minutes. Having thrown himself down low to tip Cassano’s drive wide of the target on 12 minutes, the goalkeeper then clawed Palacio’s glancing header off the line when the striker looked odds-on to draw Inter level.
Yet the Bianconeri, led by a masterful Andrea Pirlo in the centre of the park, continued to resist Nerazzurri pressure before looking to extend their lead with well-orchestrated forays into the final third.
Pirlo’s exquisite passing ability sent Arturo Vidal racing through on goal shortly before the half-hour mark, only for the Chilean to be denied by Handanovic’s quick reactions.
And the goalkeeper again earned his stripes five minutes ahead of the interval, getting down to thwart Pirlo’s powerful 20-yard drive at his near post.
Inter returned for the second half with a reinvigorated approach and grabbed the equaliser their increased endeavour merited when Palacio gathered Cassano’s pass before steering the ball into the far corner for his tenth Serie A strike of the current campaign.
Refusing to surrender to Inter’s momentary supremacy, Juventus regained their grip on midfield and restored their lead on the hour, with Matri notching a typical poacher’s goal following good work from Quagliarella.
Bolstered by the introductions of Federico Peluso, Paul Pogba and Sebastian Giovinco in place of Kwadwo Asamoah, Matri and Quagliarella, Conte’s troops sought to protect their lead and managed to see out a late Inter onslaught which saw Handanovic sent forward for a series of corners and free-kicks.
A late red card for Esteban Cambiasso following a reckless lunge on Giovinco threatened to sour a contest played in good spirit, but Conte succeeded in restoring calm to the situation before joining his players to celebrate an important victory in front of a jubilant travelling faithful.
Juventus will now turn their attentions to Tuesday night’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich, with confidence sky high after another test was passed with flying colours.
INTER 1-2 JUVENTUS
GOALS: Quagliarella 3, Palacio 54, Matri 60
Handanovic; Ranocchia (Cambiasso 66), Samuel, Chivu; Zanetti, Gargano (Rocchi 80), Kovacic, Pereira; Alvarez (Guarin 46); Cassano, Palacio.
Substitutes not used: Carrizo, Belec, Silvestre, Nagatomo, Kuzmanovic, Jonathan, Schelotto, Pasa, Benassi.
Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Padoin, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Asamoah (Peluso 64); Quagliarella (Giovinco 82), Matri (Pogba 74).
Substitutes not used: Storari, Rubinho, Marrone, De Ceglie, Lichtsteiner, Giaccherini, Anelka, Giovinco.
ASSISTANTS: Niccolai, Giordano
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Padovan
BOOKINGS: Gargano 16, Pereira 47, Ranocchia 63, Barzagli 68, Chiellini 89, Giovinco 89
SENT OFF: Cambiasso 90+4