Juventus earned an important 2-0 victory over rivals Inter thanks to Aaron Ramsey and a piece of Paulo Dybala magic, getting them back to a point in front of Lazio in the Scudetto race.
This Derby d’Italia was postponed a week ago amid arguments over who would be allowed in during the Coronavirus outbreak, but the epidemic has since become so serious that all the games are played behind closed doors. In fact, an emergency meeting on Tuesday could see the entire Serie A season suspended.
Antonio Conte returned to the Juventus Stadium for the first time as an opponent, but with no fans to give him a fiery welcome. Christian Eriksen and Diego Godin were dropped, with Stefano Sensi and Victor Moses injured. Maurizio Sarri made some surprising decisions, dropping Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala, moving Juan Cuadrado from the trident attack to right-back so Douglas Costa could start.
Matias Vecino volleyed over, but the big news was the return of Samir Handanovic after five weeks with a hairline fracture in his little finger. The goalkeeper was immediately called into tough saves by Matthijs de Ligt’s header on a corner and the low Blaise Matuidi angled drive.
There were timid penalty appeals, but both Ashley Young and Leonardo Bonucci had their arms across their laps, so could not be considered handball.
Antonio Candreva’s powerful finish and another De Ligt header sailed over, while Wojciech Szczesny got down to parry a Marcelo Brozovic strike from outside the area.
Juventus found the breakthrough on 55 minutes after a flurry of attacks. Higuain’s shot was charged down from close range, then Matuidi pulled back from the by-line for Ronaldo, who realised Ramsey was better placed and left it. The Welshman’s finish from six yards took a deflection off Stefan de Vrij, making it even more difficult for Handanovic from six yards.
Paulo Dybala and Christian Eriksen were introduced, with La Joya making an immediate impact, scoring a sensational solo effort. He controlled a long ball off the outside of the boot, completed a give-and-go with Ramsey, shimmied past Ashley Young and then prodded in again with the outside of his foot to surprise Handanovic into the far bottom corner.
Mattia De Sciglio had to be rushed on for injured Alex Sandro and it showed, as he was immediately robbed by Vecino for Eriksen to fire over the bar.
Inter seemed to lose confidence rapidly after the Juve goals and struggled to trouble Szczesny.
Ronaldo wanted to set a new all-time Serie A record of 12 games on target in a row, but only skimmed the far post with two snapshots in stoppages.
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