16.05.2015 20:22 - in: Serie A S

      Juve battle back to silence the San Siro

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      Claudio Marchisio and Alvaro Morata overturn Mauro Icardi’s early opener to earn Juventus all three points from this evening’s clash with the Nerazzurri in Milan

      A Claudio Marchisio penalty and late Alvaro Morata winner enabled Juventus to come from behind and take all three points from this evening’s meeting with Inter at the San Siro, overturning Mauro Icardi’s early opener for the hosts.

      In need of a win to maintain their hopes of securing a Europa League spot, the Nerazzurri started the better of the two sides and drew first blood when Icardi deflected Marcelo Brozovic’s strike past Marco Storari after just nine minutes.

      But a vastly changed Juventus side, featuring several changes from midweek in Madrid, battled back and drew themselves level shortly before the break, Marchisio expertly converting from the spot after Alessandro Matri had been felled in the box by Nemanja Vidic.

      And the comeback was made complete on 83 minutes when Morata’s shot proved too hot to handle for Samir Handanovic, who misjudged his dive and saw the ball skim up off his gloves and roll over the line.

      With a favourable scoring record against Juventus on his side, Icardi looked bright in the opening stages and took just two minutes to work Marco Storari, drawing a fine diving save after dispatching a rocket from range.

      Seven minutes later though, the Argentine would make his opportunity count, albeit in slightly fortuitous circumstances.  A fierce Brozovic effort from the edge of the box had Storari diving across to make the stop, only for a late deflection off Icardi to catch the goalkeeper off guard by diverting the ball away from his grasp.  

      Inter’s initial exuberance tailed off as the first half wore on, enabling the Bianconeri to gain increasing territory in the final third, where crosses from Stephan Lichtsteiner and Romulo threatened to open the door.

      The visitors’ best chance in this period, however, stemmed from the fleet-footed Morata, who skipped past two men before drawing an excellent save from Handanovic at his near post.

      Back came Inter and Storari once again rode to the Bianconeri’s rescue with a magnificent stop from point blank range to deny Rodrigo Palacio, who looked odds on to burst the net with a fierce strike just yards from goal.

      Going even closer to extending the hosts’ advantage on 39 minutes was the returning Xherdan Shaqiri, with his precise curling effort from the edge of the box smacking off the woodwork as Storari stood motionless.

      Two minutes later, the Bianconeri restored parity when an energetic Matri took advantage of Vidic’s failure to clear his lines and drew a foul in the area, leaving Marchisio to do the rest by sending Handanovic the wrong way from the spot for his third goal in 11 Serie A appearances against the Nerazzurri.

      A strong start to the second half by the visitors saw Morata in the thick of the action, first burning Andrea Ranocchia for pace before planting a back-post header the wrong side of the upright after connecting with Lichtsteiner’s cross.

      In contrast to the entertaining, end-to-end opening 45 minutes that featured chances for either side, the second half was a more tepid affair, with clear-cut opportunities few and far between at the San Siro.

      Looking to freshen things up, Massimiliano Allegri introduced Angelo Ogbonna at the expense of Lichtsteiner in a move which saw the Bianconeri revert to a back three, before bringing on Fernando Llorente for Matri.

      But it was in the other final third where the intensity was bring raised, Danilo D’Ambrosio going close with an audacious volley at the far post on 71 minutes, all made possible by an inch-perfect Mateo Kovacic cross.

      It appeared either a moment of brilliance or error would settle the finely-poised clash once and for all, and midweek hero Morata found himself on the receiving end of some good fortune when Handanovic misjudged his seemingly stoppable shot from the edge of the area, which skipped up over his body and crossed the line.

      The Bianconeri had to count on the heroics of Storari in the dying embers of the encounter as he pulled off a double save, first denying Palacio’s left-footed strike before then miraculously keeping out Icardi’s follow-up.

      With another decent victory under their belts, Allegri’s men will now look to maintain that winning feeling and lift their first trophy of the season, the Coppa Italia, by overcoming Lazio in the capital on Wednesday night.

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