Serie A: Buffon, Del Piero and Pirlo inspire Juve to Derby d’Italia win
Kieran Beckles takes a look at Juventus' unbeaten record after victory over Inter, and Milan's comeback against Roma
The old guard shine in Derby d’Italia
Juventus kept within touching distance of Serie A leaders AC Milan with a 2-0 victory over Internazionale in the Derby d’Italia on Sunday night. After a tight first half, the Old Lady’s experienced campaigners came to the fore. Andrea Pirlo’s superb corner was met by Martín Cáceres, who headed past Julio Cesar to put Antonio Conte’s side ahead in the 57th minute. Substitute Alessandro Del Piero made an immediate impact, scoring his 13th goal against Inter, and 317th in total. Meanwhile, Gianluigi Buffon was at his athletic best to thwart Inter’s South American strike partnership of Diego Forlan and Diego Milito. The result leaves Juve four points behind leaders Milan.
Ibrahimovic and Milan show champion spirit
Milan fought back from a first-half setback to beat Roma at the San Siro on Saturday. Roma striker Pablo Osvaldo scored his ninth strike of the season to give the visitors an unlikely lead. But Zlatan Ibrahimovic inspired the holders to victory, dispatching a 53rd-minute penalty before sealing the victory with an audacious lob. Following the result, Massimiliano Allegri backed his players to secure a second successive title, pointing to their desire and mental strength. The Milan derby aside, AC’s run-in appears relatively straight forward, while Juventus have a difficult trip to Palermo on the horizon, with Lazio, Napoli and Roma all to travel to Turin.
Are Juve still unbeaten?
Juventus weathered AC Milan’s comeback in the second leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final, with Mirko Vucinic’s stunning long-range strike rescuing the Turin outfit from defeat, and sending them into the final. However, prompted by the headlines on Wednesday morning which hailed Juventus’ 32-game unbeaten record, Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani sent a letter to sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport which was published on Friday. Galliani pointed out that under Rule Seven of the Laws of the Game, Juventus had in fact lost to Milan after the Serie A holders 2-1 victory in normal time. The 67-year-old insisted he wasn’t trying to stir up controversy, but whatever the vice-president’s motives, Juventus responded in emphatic fashion against Inter.
Lazio eye up Champions League return
Lazio were the beneficiaries of a torrid weekend for Napoli, Roma and Udinese, who all dropped points in the race for third spot. The Eagles secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Cagliari at the Stadio Olimpico which ended a two-game losing streak and edged Edoardo Reja’s side three points clear in third. Luis Enrique’s Roma side are eight points behind their Rome neighbours following a 2-1 defeat by Milan. Napoli and Udinese are set to be Lazio’s biggest challengers, although Walter Mazzarri’s outfit face a difficult trip to Turin next Sunday.
Goal of the week: Vucinic’s stunner against Milan
Juventus were unable to take advantage of their 2-1 win in the first leg of their Coppa Italia semi-final at the San Siro and Antonio Conte’s lost by the same scoreline in 90 minutes to force in extra-time. Vucinic’s spectacular Goalaccio levelled the game on the Tuesday night and booked Juve’s place in the final against Napoli.