Inter Milan battle back to draw Juventus in topsy-turvy affair
Mauro Icardi earned Inter Milan a point from Tuesday night’s Derby d’Italia but the 1-1 draw leaves Juventus vulnerable to predators in the Serie A title race.
The Bianconeri had earlier watched Roma draw level with them at the top of the table following a victory at Udinese and set about making amends through Carlos Tevez and his early goal in Turin. But Inter grew into the game after the break and might even have built on Icardi’s equalizer had Mateo Kovacic’s dismissal not upset their rhythm in what were frantic final exchanges.
The point gave the Bianconeri control of first place for the time being but rivals Roma show no signs of easing off in their quest to win a first Scudetto since 2001. Juve dominated the first half from the off and went close to opening the scoring after only two minutes, Tevez feeding Claudio Marchisio only for the midfielder to blast just wide.
The Argentinian took matters into his own hands three minutes later by sweeping up Arturo Vidal’s clever backheel before tapping home with ease from a few yards out. Still Juve pushed forward and Vidal was only denied from close range by the quick thinking of Danilo D’Ambrosio.
The Chilean was at the heart of every Bianconeri attack and, just before the half-hour mark, tested Samir Handanovic with a fierce drive from fully 25 metres out. Inter could do nothing but retreat as their opponents poured forward but Juve could not add a second goal before the break, Paul Pogba coming closest to notching at the end of a fine jinking run.
There was little to talk about in the second half until Roberto Mancini introduced his new loan signing from Arsenal, the German striker Lukas Podolski, as a substitute for Zdravko Kuzmanovic. His attempted one-two with D’Ambrosio drew a few cheers from the visiting fans but it was Icardi who had them on their feet in the 64th minute.
The former Sampdoria striker continued his torment of the Bianconeri as he latched on to Fredy Guarin’s through-ball before firing his fifth goal past Juve in four games. Only moments later Handanovic preserved the newly-forged parity with a stunning diving save on Andrea Pirlo’s dipping free-kick.
Pogba headed wide from a corner but it was Inter who missed a much better chance as Icardi’s fizzing shot was clawed away by Gianluigi Buffon. Despite their enthusiasm, however, Inter’s hopes of completing the comeback were dealt a heavy blow when Kovacic earned a red card for his heavy challenge on Stephan Lichtsteiner.