Internazionale’s Nicolo Barella scored a goal and an assist to secure a 2-0 victory over defending champions Juventus of Turin and remain in Serie A. The Turin team will now have to work hard to maintain their title chances.
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Former Juve midfielder, Arturo Vidal, scored his first league goal for Inter by scoring a Barella goal after 12 minutes.
Antonio Conte scored a deserved second goal after the break when Barella picked up a long pass from Alessandro Bastoni and finished in the top corner. The victory was never in doubt afterwards, as Juve did not dare to make a comeback.
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Gab Marcotti and Jurgen Klinsmann agree that Andrea Pirlo and Juventus have a big problem in midfield.
For Conte, it was his first Serie A win, at the fourth attempt, against the club he previously represented as a player and coach. The result means Inter are now 40 points clear of league leaders Milan, who host Cagliari on Monday.
Juventus have Inter in the palm of their hand, but are fifth on 33 points and will need Andrea Pirlo on the bench in their quest for a tenth consecutive Serie A title.
Juve have been winning the Scudetto for years, but we have shown we are up to the challenge for the title, Vidal told Sky Sport.
This success gives us the confidence to keep working hard and thinking about winning the competition. We think we can go all the way.
The match was largely presented as a choice between Inter’s Romelu Lukaku or Juve’s Cristiano Ronaldo, but it was 23-year-old midfielder Barella who came out on top.
After a beautiful cross from the Italian international, Vidal headed home from close range to open the scoring.
Barella played Lukaku free on a counter-attack and the Belgian’s shot was parried by Wojciech Szczesny before being blocked by Lautaro Martinez.
Juventus approached the match as a fit squad, winning three league games in a row, but Pirlo tried to break through the home defence and Ronaldo was limited to speculative long-range moves.
Barella scored in the 52nd minute. Martinez scored his first goal in the 60th minute on a 60-yard pass from Bastoni, while Martinez narrowly missed his third goal with a flick.
Juve had another chance three minutes from time when Samir Handanovic saved a Federico Chiesa shot, but it was too late.
Pirlo criticised the attitude of his players and said they could not have done worse in defeat.
Our attitude was bad from the start, Pirlo told Sky Italia. If you don’t have the rage to win these games, it will be difficult. We never set foot in the field.
It was an ugly game because we weren’t expecting it. We couldn’t have done worse.
Our ambitions remain the same, he added. It’s a mistake against a strong opponent. Things like that can happen in a long season, but you can’t have that kind of attitude with a team like Juventus.
We should have come here wanting to play our own game, but instead we were too scared.
Conte, under whom Pirlo played for Juventus and with whom he won three league titles between 2011 and 2014, was delighted with the victory.
To beat a team like Juventus, who are an important point of reference in Italy, you have to play a perfect game, Conte said.
The players did well to put what we prepared on the field and I am very happy for them, because games like this build confidence and let you know you are on the right track.
They knew Juventus had dominated for nine years. The gap between them and others is still there, but we are working to narrow that gap on all sides.