SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 15 - 7 Dec 2018 (19.30 UK)
Juventus 1 - 0 Inter
Mandzukic 66 (J)
Allianz Stadium

Mario Mandzukic’s diving header on a cross from ex-Inter man Joao Cancelo proved decisive, as Juventus won the Derby d’Italia and flew 14 points clear of their opponents.

See how it all unfolded on the LIVEBLOG.

The Derby d’Italia is always a massive fixture in Italy, but this time it came with leaders Juventus still unbeaten and 11 points clear of third-placed Inter. Alex Sandro, Sami Khedira and Andrea Barzagli were out of action, with Rodrigo Bentancur shaking off a back problem. The Nerazzurri missed Radja Nainggolan and Dalbert, but Sime Vrsaljko returned to the starting XI. Luciano Spalletti surprisingly started Roberto Gagliardini and Joao Mario rather than Matias Vecino and Stefan de Vrij.

The Nerazzurri haven’t conquered the Juventus Stadium since a 3-1 result in November 2012, leaving here with only two stalemates from seven visits between Serie A and the Coppa Italia. More importantly, they have failed to score a single goal here since 2015.

Paulo Dybala started strong, his rising shot fingertipped over the bar, but Giorgio Chiellini got a crucial interception to stop Mauro Icardi meeting Ivan Perisic’s cross from six yards.

Inter had two golden opportunities within a couple of minutes, but both went begging. First Matteo Politano and Icardi combined to set up Gagliardini clear from 10 yards, but his scuffed finish bounced off the inside of the far post and back out.

Moments later, another excellent Politano pull-back from the by-line found Icardi and Perisic, who both went for it and got in each other’s way.

It was Juve’s turn to threaten in a very open and entertaining game. Mario Mandzukic didn’t get enough power to a free header, then Marcelo Brozovic desperately flung himself at a Bentancur strike to deflect it wide. On the resulting corner, Handanovic’s gloves were stung at the near post by Chiellini’s header.

Inter missed another huge opportunity straight after the restart, as Pjanic and Blaise Matuidi errors gifted the ball on the edge of the box, but Politano’s finish from nine yards was desperately blocked by Leonardo Bonucci’s body.

At the other end, Matuidi squirmed away from defenders to roll across the six-yard line, but Mandzukic couldn’t make contact as he tried to flick it.

Joao Miranda was caught in possession, but Dybala ballooned over the bar, as did Cristiano Ronaldo from distance. Bentancur went into the book and will be suspended for the Derby della Mole against Torino.

Juventus did eventually break the deadlock when Cancelo whipped the cross to the back post for Mandzukic’s diving header, the Croatian anticipating his former teammate Kwadwo Asamoah.

Inter started to pin Juve back into their own half as they sought an equaliser with Keita Balde Diao and Lautaro Martinez off the bench, while Emre Can made his comeback after surgery to remove thyroid nodules.

Deep into stoppages, Lautaro Martinez volleyed wide after a poor Cancelo clearance.

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Juventus: Szczesny; Cancelo, Bonucci, Chiellini, De Sciglio; Bentancur, Pjanic (Emre Can 82), Matuidi; Dybala (Douglas Costa 72), Mandzukic, Ronaldo
Inter: Handanovic; Vrsaljko, Skriniar, Miranda, Asamoah; Gagliardini (Keita 70), Brozovic, Joao Mario (Lautaro Martinez 77); Politano (Borja Valero 58), Icardi, Perisic
Ref: Irrati