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Juventus 2-1 Inter: Bianconeri Bring Down Nerazzurri Juggernaut

Juventus were desperate to close the gap at the top as they hosted Serie A leaders Inter in the long awaited Derby d'Italia.

The Bianconeri were rewarded for a determined start when they took an early lead from a set-piece. Felipe Melo's decisive touch wrong footed Julio Cesar inside the box leaving to leave the Nerazzurri fuming following some pushing and shoving in the mixer. Inter came back fighting and took just five minutes to find a leveller when Samuel Eto'o headed home unchallenged just yards out from goal.

Inter came out strongest after the re-start but it was Juventus who went back in front when Claudio Marchisio finished off a spectacular move inside the six-yard box, to chip the ball over Julio Cesar. Despite being reduced to ten men in the closing stages, the Bianconeri managed to resist a late surge from the visitors. With a solid second half performance at the back, the Old Lady held on for a precious victory to restore some competition at the top of the standings.

The game started at an electric pace, but it was the Old Lady who looked the more threatening as they burst forward from the off.

Juventus had a golden chance to score on five minutes when Amauri chested a wonderful ball square to Mohamed Sissoko inside the box. Unfortunately for the Bianconeri the Malian was tackled just as he looked to pull the trigger, and Inter had Lucio to thank for his razor sharp timing in front of goal.

The Old Lady continued to press forward but they left themselves vulnerable at the back. Diego Milito looked to take advantage as he burst forward on the break, but 'El Principe' couldn't find Dejan Stankovic as he cut an inviting ball across the six-yard box.

The Nerazzurri looked to control possession in the middle of the park but were continually hustled by the intense pressing of a determined Bianconeri. Ciro Ferrara's men kept up a frantic rhythm as they looked to take advantage with an early breakthrough.

On 20 minutes Juventus were rewarded for their positive approach when Giorgio Chiellini's headed effort took a decisive deflection off Felipe Melo - to finish in the back of the net. There was little Julio Cesar could do to intervene as the ball slipped past  to his left, and Inter immediately voiced their protests for what looked like some pushing in the box.

Seconds later coach Mourinho was  sent to the stands by referee Massimo Saccani for an ironic round of applause gestured towards the match official.

Despite the absence of their boss on the touchline, Inter wasted no time in hitting back and poured forward in anger as they looked to level the scoring. Just five minutes later the Nerazzurri did exactly that when Eto'o nodded home Stankovic's cross with a free header inside the six-yard box. Gianluigi Buffon was understandably outraged with his centre-backs, as they let the Camoroonian slip through unchallenged.

Both side's continued to commit everything, as they knocked lumps out of each other challenge after challenge. The physical approach was clearly restricting Inter a little, and Juventus seemed to have the upper hand  in the middle of the park.

Melo's Decisive Touch Broke The Deadlock

After the re-start it was Inter who looked to take early command, and Juventus were forced to pack men around the box in order to protect Buffon's goal.

On 57 minutes it was Juventus who re-established the lead however, when Marchisio produced a moment of magic inside the six-yard box to crush Inter as they started to look in control. When a parried save went loose inside the box, the Italian rounded Walter Samuel with lightning quick feet, and chipped the ball home in ice cool fashion.

The goal seemed to take the wind out of the visitors sail a little and they began to rush things in order to find a quick response.

On 67 minutes Lucio should have punished the Old Lady when Buffon's miss-timed punch went flashing past the Brazilian just metres from goal.
Shortly after the Nerazzurri were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty when Martin Caceres made full contact with Milito inside the box. As 'El Principe' went down appeared to have a decent view of things but he didn't hesitate to wave play on.

As the clock started to run down Juventus beagn to look ever more assured at the back as their organised line gave Inter little space to attack. Mourinho's men started to go route one, but were unable to force the Bianconeri into difficulty.

Five minutes from time tensions stated to get the better of things after Felipe Melo swung a loose elbow into the path of Mario Balotelli. Althought the Brazilian made little contact with the Inter hitman, the intention was there and referee Saccani had no option but to send him for an early bath.

Despite a late Inter surge, Juventus kept a cool head at the back and managed to hold on for a precious victory. Ferrara's men moved back to within five points of the Italian champions, and restored some life back into the scudetto race.

Stefano Federici,