Clinical Juventus grab crucial win over Inter in Champions League race

Juventus got the three points that they really need if they are to make it into the top four of Serie A this season, lending a blow to Inter's hopes in the progress.

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STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – Call it boring and out of date, but Massimiliano Allegri’s football is still more than effective in Serie A. At least, this is what Juventus have once again proven by defeating Inter with one of their few shots on goal of the night.

It came from Filip Kostic midway through the first half and was enough to seal a massive result for the Bianconeri. First and foremost, Juventus‘ victory in the 180th Serie A Derby d’Italia saw them climb to 41 points, which could become as many as 56 should their 15-point deduction be reversed, meaning they could find themselves second.

On the other side, the Nerazzurri fell to their ninth Serie A defeat of the season, a concerning figure that could easily put their top-four finish at risk despite their stumbling opponents. Once again, Simone Inzaghi’s side finished the game with the most possession and shots on target, but their inability to take their chances resulted in their second league loss in a row.

The news coming from the Italian capital of Lazio taking all three points in the derby against AS Roma meant Inter were leapfrogged by the Biancocelesti in second spot before things got underway, making their Derby d’Italia against Juventus even more important.

Nicolo Barella takes a shot for Inter against Juventus. [@Inter_en]

Inter shoot, Juventus score

In a heated atmosphere created by the home fans prior to kick-off, Nicolo Barella took as few as two minutes to test Wojciech Szczesny’s gloves, but his powerful strike found the goalkeeper well-placed to palm it away.

While no one of the two sides seemed able to impose their supremacy on the pitch, the Nerazzurri came the closest to the opener through Barella again, but he should’ve done better rather than shooting straight at Szczesny from a good position after a brilliant one-two with Romelu Lukaku had put him in front of the goalkeeper.

In the most typical Massimiliano Allegri fashion, the visitors survived the blows and eventually broke the balance midway through the first half, when Kostic made the most of Denzel Dumfries‘ poor coverage to pull out a great piece of skill, as he had time to take two touches on the ball before hitting a precise low drive from the left that went in at the far post.

Although the replay seemed to highlight a handball from Adrien Rabiot in the build-up, the goal stood following a lengthy VAR check that sparked tension among the hosts, who experienced some frenzied minutes that the Bianconeri almost took advantage of, coming close to scoring a second goal in quick succession.

Adrien Rabiot in action for Juventus against Inter. [@juventusfcen]

Inter’s offensive inefficiency strikes again

Juventus’ choice to start the second half with a compact low block saw Inter gradually gain ground, which also had the side effect of leaving Juventus more gaps for potentially dangerous counter-attacks.

Federico Chiesa came on after 65 minutes in an attempt to exploit such spaces, but neither he nor any other Bianconeri players showed the cool blood required to capitalise on at least one of the chances they had.

It was not even needed at the end, as the Nerazzurri never managed to break through the visitors’ defensive wall, remaining goalless to fall to their second consecutive Serie A defeat.

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