Juventus beat bitter rival Inter Milan 2-1 in an entertaining
match at San Siro to provisionally extend its Serie A lead to 12
points on Saturday.
It took Juventus less than three minutes to take the lead with a
stunning strike from Fabio Quagliarella.
Rodrigo Palacio leveled in the 55th but Juventus was back in
front five minutes later when Alessandro Matri fired in from close
Inter’s Esteban Cambiasso was sent off for a brutal tackle on
Sebastian Giovinco as the final whistle sounded.
Napoli could cut Juve’s lead back to nine when it faced Torino
AC Milan also plays Chievo Verona later, knowing it can take a
huge step towards securing a Champions League berth after
Fiorentina and Roma lost.
Lazio came from behind to beat Catania 2-1.
At the other end of the table Genoa drew 2-2 with Siena in a
Juventus was keen for revenge after Inter ended its 49-match
unbeaten streak in November. And it got off to the perfect start
when Quagliarella curled a shot into the top right corner from 25
Juventus almost doubled its lead shortly afterwards but Leonardo
Bonucci headed over from close range.
Inter could have leveled in the 12th minute with a long-range
effort from Antonio Cassano which Gianluigi Buffon did well to tip
round his right post at full stretch.
Buffon did even better moments later with a fantastic reaction
save to keep out Rodrigo Palacio’s point-blank header.
It was Palacio who leveled 10 minutes after the interval,
collecting Cassano’s pass and forcing his way into the area before
slotting past Buffon.
Juventus’ riposte was quick when Quagliarella just managed to
keep Arturo Vidal’s ball from going over the byline and crossed for
Matri to tap home at the near post.
Inter was seven points off third and leapfrogged by Lazio.
Lazio’s Lorik Cana hit the bar in a first half full of missed
chances. It looked like Lazio would pay for its woeful finishing
when Catania took the lead five minutes after the break, after
Stefan Radu’s clearance ricocheted in off Mariano Izco.
However, the match turned on its head 11 minutes from time.
Nicola Legrottaglie slid in to prevent Radu’s ball from reaching
Libor Kozak but succeeded only in prodding past his own goalkeeper
to gift Lazio the equaliser.
Lazio was in front two minutes later when Giuseppe Bellusci gave
away an unnecessary penalty, shoving over Ederson on the far side
of the area. Antonio Candreva fired the penalty into the bottom
Lazio was a point behind fourth-placed Fiorentina which lost 2-1
at Cagliari in front of an empty stadium as Is Arenas was again
closed to fans because of safety issues.
Mauricio Pinilla scored both goals for Cagliari in the first
half, including a penalty after Juan Cuadrado tripped Marco
Cuadrado grabbed one back for Fiorentina 16 minutes from
Roma remained level on points with Inter after it suffered a
shock 2-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Palermo.
Josip Ilicic and Fabrizio Miccoli scored for Palermo which also
hit the woodwork twice.
Palermo moved off the bottom spot and was just three points from
safety after Genoa’s draw with Siena.
Pescara was six points from safety after it lost 3-0 at
Elsewhere, Antonio Di Natale had a penalty saved as Udinese drew
0-0 at home to Bologna. There was also a goalless draw between
Atalanta and Sampdoria.