Juventus kept their hopes of a top-four finish in the Serie A just alive after edging out newly crowned champions Inter Milan 3-2 at home in Turin.
The win ended the 20-match unbeaten run of Inter who had denied Juventus a 10th consecutive Serie A title this season. This win means that Juventus will move ahead of Napoli into the fourth place, equal on points with third placed AC Milan, but Andrea Pirlo’s side still need to win their final game and hope that either Napoli or Milan slip up to secure a berth in the Champions League for the upcoming season
The Derby d’Italia was a fiercely contested one with both teams denying to wield even an inch
Juventus coach Pirlo made four changes to his team which won away at Sassuolo earlier this week with Dybala, Bonucci and Arthur making way for Bentancur, Chiellini and Cuadrado and Szczesny starting in goal ahead of club legend Gigi Buffon.
Juventus started the game like they knew exactly what was at stake and they nearly took the lead on the 11th minute. Some good work from Danilo and Federico Chiesa carved out the first good chance of the game, but Slovenian Skriniar blocked Dejan Kulusevski’s shot.
The Bianconeri took the lead on the 24th minute after Chiellini was fouled for a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo scored the rebound after Samir Handanovic had saved his initial spot-kick. It was Ronaldo’s 29th goal in the league this season, only behind Bayern’s leading talisman Lewandowski.
10 minutes later, Inter had their penalty after VAR adjudged that Matthijs de Ligt had fouled Lautaro Martinez in the box, and Lukaku made no mistake from the spot to draw the visitors level. However, Cuadrado’s thumping strike deflected in for Juventus’s second goal just before the break.
The hosts were reduced to 10 men early in the second half when Uruguayan Rodrigo Bentancur picked up his second yellow card for a rash challenge On Romelu Lukaku and Juventus had to play large parts of the second half a man down and Pirlo decided to take Ronaldo off the game with twenty minutes still to play.
Captain Giorgio Chiellini turned into his own net with seven minutes to go to make it all square but in a dramatic end to the game Juventus were awarded a penalty for an Ivan Perisic foul on Cuadrado in the 88th minute which the Colombian converted and they held onto their nerves to eventually win the game. Inter also finished the game a man down with Marcelo Brozovic getting a second booking in injury time.
“We’ve made mistakes in a lot of games, especially ones that were easier than tonight.” Juventus boss Pirlo conceded in the post match conference.
Earlier Atalanta sealed their spot in the Champions League for a third consecutive season with a 4-3 win over Genoa. The Bergamo side are second, three points ahead of AC Milan and Juventus, and are assured of elite European football before the two teams go head-to-head next weekend. Atalanta will bid for just their second ever trophy in the Coppa Italia final against Juventus next Wednesday in Reggio Emilia. The club won the Coppa Italia back in 1963.
Even if Milan, who host 16th-placed Cagliari on Sunday, win their last two matches, Atalanta are now assured of a top-four finish. A win for Napoli against Fiorentina on Sunday will knock the Juventus back into the fifth place, which would be a massive blow to their slim hopes of a top four finish.