Gigi Buffon’s heroics denied Inter in the first half, then Martin Caceres and Alessandro Del Piero struck to secure a Juventus victory.
The Derby d’Italia has always been a fiery occasion, but even more so since the Calciopoli scandal of 2006. The new Juventus Stadium makes very clear they do not acknowledge the two stripped titles, so maintain they have 29 Scudetti rather than 27. Indeed it was in huge letters all over the stadium choreography with the banner ‘That which we earned on the pitch with sweat, was handed to you in the courts.’
The Bianconeri got through to the Coppa Italia Final on Tuesday night against Milan in extra time, though the club insisted their unbeaten record remained intact despite losing 2-1 at the end of the 90 minutes. Inter faced a massive struggle to even qualify for the Europa League and pressure was building on ex-Juve Coach Claudio Ranieri.
Wesley Sneijder and Ricky Alvarez were unavailable, so Diego Forlan and Diego Milito were picked in attack. The home side missed Emanuele Giaccherini and the suspended Stephan Lichtsteiner, so Martin Caceres stepped in and Andrea Barzagli returned from injury.
Juve had their first chance within three minutes, as Julio Cesar beat away Simone Pepe’s pull-back to Alessandro Matri and the defence scrambled clear. Inter also threatened, as Douglas Maicon played through the middle for Milito, forcing Gigi Buffon to parry from close range.
On 16 minutes Caceres crossed for Matri inbetween two defenders, his header that Julio Cesar did well to palm away from six yards.
There was a bizarre moment when Claudio Marchisio was barged off the ball by teammate Mirko Vucinic just as he was about to cross in the Inter box, much to the midfielder’s bemusement. Marchisio did manage to get a cross away soon after, but Vucinic just failed to make contact with his head and, as the move continued, Matri ballooned over from a Caceres cut-back. Vucinic was again unable to get on the end of a wayward Caceres header from Pepe’s cross.
Inter threatened from a Maicon corner, but Buffon performed a stunning reaction save at the near post from point-blank range on Forlan’s header.
Milito also went very close, trapping a long ball over the top and stinging Buffon’s gloves from just inside the box, then firing the follow-up over. Buffon was becoming much the busier of the goalkeepers, again forced to parry a screamer of a Joel Obi strike from distance.
Milito was furious when the referee waved play on after he clashed with Giorgio Chiellini on the counter, while Julio Cesar smothered a Vucinic effort.
A poor clearance found Dejan Stankovic on the volley, but again Buffon was there to save with his legs in a reflex parry.
After the restart Pepe pounced on a Yuto Nagatomo error, but Walter Samuel got back to block the shot. Alessandro Del Piero and Leonardo Bonucci replaced Matri and Pepe, moving to a three-man defence.
Julio Cesar flew to fingertip a Marchisio blockbuster out from under the bar and from the corner Caceres was left in far too much space to nod in the Juventus opener. The Uruguayan defender was totally unmarked from eight yards and left the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.
Buffon audaciously came well out of his area to clear from Milito, while Ranieri introduced Giampaolo Pazzini and Marco Davide Faraoni for Obi and Poli.
Vucinic sprung the offside trap from Del Piero’s pass to be totally on his own against Julio Cesar, but fired straight at the goalkeeper.
The move continued and this time Del Piero was the one who went clear, keeping his cool to pass it across Julio Cesar into the far bottom corner. The captain timed his run perfectly on an Arturo Vidal pass through three Inter defenders. It was Alex’s first Serie A goal of the season, the 186th in his career.
It really should’ve been 3-0 when Chiellini burst through the distracted Nerazzurri defence and rolled across for Leonardo Bonucci at the back post, but Maicon performed a crucial goalline clearance with Julio Cesar well beaten.
Chiellini went for goal himself with a bullet header from the set play, but Julio Cesar flew to palm it out from under the crossbar. Substitute Fabio Quagliarella muscled his way past Nagatomo to force another save at the near post.
Chiellini was furious in stoppages when Milito ran with an arm into the back of his neck, but the referee waved play on.