Milan, March 31 (IANS) Juventus avenged their loss to Inter early in the season in the Derby d’Italia as they won 2-1 at San Siro.
Alessandro Matri Saturday hit a controversial goal and the Serie A leaders got lucky after Inter missed out on a second-half penalty, reports Xinhua.
Fabio Quagliarella gave Juventus a 1-0 lead (3rd minute) picking up the ball just outside the penalty area, thumping it into the top corner. Inter equalised (54th) when Antonio Cassano released Rodrigo Palacio in behind Juventus’ defence and the Argentine midfielder beat goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon one-on-one.
But Inter’s joy was short-lived with Quagliarella setting up Matri for the winner on the hour mark.
The Bianconeri had been beaten 1-3 in Turin earlier this season, ending their 49-match unbeaten Serie A run. Juventus coach Antonio Conte revelled after his side got revenge this time. Conte praised Inter but also pointed out that his side were better.
“We achieved a great result because Inter are capable of beating anyone. We proved that we have got better since November. I have to compliment my lads as they were constantly on point. It is always a Match with a capital M against Inter. We put another brick down on the foundations of the Scudetto and it’s a step forward, even if there are teams like Napoli and Milan behind us who can’t wait to make the most of any slip-up,” said Conte.
Inter coach Andrea Stramaccioni insisted Juventus scored the winning goal against the run of play and it was a shame for his side to lose the game.
“We conceded the early Fabio Quagliarella goal and with that stunning strike he put the game on the right track for Juventus. We improved in the second half and had two great chances, forcing Juve to replace a striker with a midfielder. It’s a pity we conceded the second goal during our best moment of the match,” said Stramaccioni.
“Juventus are the best side in Serie A so regrets remain because we had more than one chance to equalise.”
The home side were fervent in their protests as the ball appeared to go out of play before the goal. But replays showed Quagliarella was fast enough to get to the ball before it rolled over the byline, cutting it back to Matri, who finished from close range.
Inter were complaining again in the second half when the referee denied Cassano a penalty after he appeared to be brought down by Giorgio Chiellini, while in the final minute, the hosts lost Esteban Cambiasso to a red card for a studs-up challenge on Sebastian Giovinco.
Elsewhere, Riccardo Montolivo’s close-range strike midway through the first half was enough for AC Milan to stretch their winning record in Serie A to four matches at the expense of 10-man Chievo.
The Italy midfielder took advantage of a goalkeeper error to net a goal (25th) and despite Mario Balotelli’s best efforts, Milan had to settle for a single-goal win. Centre-back Dario Dainelli saw red for the home side and his dismissal put to bed any chance of Chievo getting back into the match.
Despite the victory, Milan remains in third position, two points adrift of Napoli following their 5-3 triumph away to Torino, which saw Blerim Dzemaili score a hat-trick and Edinson Cavani a brace.
Meanwhile, Lazio moved into fifth above Inter after the capital city club defeated Catania 2-1. Catania opened the scoring (50th) at the Stadio Olimpico but Lazio picked up the three points after two goals in three minutes through a Nicola Legrottaglie own goal and Antonio Candreva’s spot-kick.
The victory has taken Lazio to 50 points and into fifth – a Europa League qualification berth – in Serie A although Inter (47 points) have a game in hand.
Parma handed Pescara their ninth defeat in 10 Serie A matches when they thumped the bottom club 3-0 while Palermo beat Roma 2-0 and Genoa drew 2-2 with Siena.
In other results, Cagliari overcame Fiorentina 2-1 and Atalanta played out a goalless draw with Sampdoria.