Saturday evening brought about another close-run table topping clash between two Italian giants at the Juventus Stadium, as both Juventus and Inter Milan struggled for quality in front of goal.
Whilst an engaging watch, the game featured little by way of enthralling action, with neither side creating many chances of genuine quality.
The majority of the goalmouth action fell to Juventus through
After last week’s resolute showing in the 1-0 victory away to Napoli, Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus went into this game knowing that a win would take them top – at least temporarily – with Napoli playing on Sunday.
The Nerazzurri began the game very much in the ascendency, controlling possession with relative comfort.
The first chance fell to the home side however, as Cuadrado’s cross wasn’t dealt with by Inter’s back line. The ball landed with Mario Mandžuki? at the back post, his shot saved well by Handanovi?. Mandžuki? then saw a headed effort hooked away by Miranda on the rebound.
Despite that chance, both sides found clear-cut opportunities hard to come by early on. Inter looked the more confident side in possession – with the clear intent of releasing Candreva down the right-hand side – but lacked real quality in the final third.
Juventus did grow into the game as the half wore on; another half-chance arrived for just before half-time but Mandžuki?’s towering header cannoned behind off the crossbar with Handanovi? beaten.
Higuaín was visibly frustrated with himself and the lack of service upfront; the Argentine forward picked up a booking for dissent after being caught offside for a second time.
The second half continued in the same vain as the first – Inter looking the more confident side on the ball but the best early opportunities falling to Mandžuki?.
Inter, the latest side to top Serie A following an emphatic 5-0 demolition of Chievo last week, came into the game having not won a Derby d’Italia in Turin since 2013.
The Milan side’s first threatening moment came through captain Mauro Icardi. The forward failed to provide a finish, though, following a mazy run – his shot seemingly blocked by the arm of Benatia.
With the game entering the final half hour, Juventus seized more of an attacking initiative as an air of fatigue crept into Inter’s game – a number of tired fouls and a general lack of fluency the evidence of such.
The home side persisted in their attempts to find a breakthrough as the clock ran down but Allegri’s side’s efforts proved fruitless – the highly-anticipated Derby d’Italia fizzled out, ending goalless.
The attention now turns to Napoli’s Sunday afternoon clash with Fiorentina. The Neapolitans will look to regain their Serie A top-spot after disappointing with successive defeats in the past week.
Juventus XI: Szczesny; De Sciglio, Benatia, Chiellini, Asamoah; Khedira, Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado, Higuain, Mandzukic
Juventus subs: Pinsoglio, Loria, Barzagli, Rugani, Alex Sandro, Marchisio, Sturaro,
Bentancur, Dybala, Douglas Costa, Bernardeschi#JuveInter
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) December 9, 2017