If Juventus' match against Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome needed any more importance, Inter Milan's shocking 3-1 loss to Atalanta opened the door for both sides to get three points closer to the Serie A leaders.
Many expected a high-scoring affair but it was more of a physical battle, with a total of seven yellow cards being shown.
The final scoreline read 1-1 as Juve now trail Inter by three and Lazio still remain in seventh place with 31 points.
A. Manninger: 6.0 - Misread Ledesma's free kick and you have think that Gigi Buffon would've had no problems handling it. But to his credit, he did well to shake the mistake off and was sound after that. Did very well controlling his box and coming off of his line to control loose balls.
O. Mellberg: 7.5 - Had his best game in a Juve uniform tonight. Scored the equalizer with a great header off of a Marchionni corner and was sound in the back despite playing in a less-than prefered right back position.
L. Ariaudo: 7.0 - A pretty good showing for the 19-year-old primavera defender in his Serie A debut. Was sound in the air, never really let anybody from Lazio get behind him, and his passing was crisp and accurate. Another solid bianconeri prospect for the future.
N. Legrottaglie: 7.5 - He needed to be at his best with two starters out and he did exactly that. He was solid as a rock in the back and led the makeshift backline. Banged a lose ball off the post with five minutes left that could've put Juve ahead 2-1.
C. Molinaro: 5.5 - It seems like it's always the same with Molinaro. He has improved quite a bit this season and you can notice it in his defending, but there's just something about him that makes Juve fans squirm. Did do well to shut down Mauro Zarate in the second half on a one-on-one opportunity but his tackle on the Argentine and subsequential booking will cause him to miss Saturday's match against Fiorentina.
M. Marchionni: 6.0 - Not one of his best matches. Did record the assist on Mellberg's goal in the first half, but didn't do much after that. His crossing was not effective at all. Having Mauro Camoranesi out of the lineup was really noticed tonight.
M. Sissoko: 6.5 - Was absent in the early goings of the game and it was part of the reason why Lazio got out to such a quick start. Got more involved in the second half and made a great run aad a great chance to put Juve ahead five minutes into the second half forcing a nice save out of Carrizo. Was booked with 10 minutes to go and, like Molinaro, will miss Saturday's game with Fiorentina.
C. Zanetti: 5.0 - Didn't do much of anything in his first Serie A start of the season. He was somewhat of a surprise starter considering how well Sissoko had been playing with Claudio Marchisio.
P. Nedved: 6.0 - Didn't seem to have any kind of speed down the flank today. Was more dangerous when he played a more central role in the midfield.
A. Del Piero: 6.0 - Never really made his mark on the game. Had no genuine scoring opportunities and on his only free kick he decided to cross it instead of trying to spin in another classic. Certainly a night to forget.
Amauri: 5.5 - Didn't trouble Carrizo at all today. Was completely absent for large periods of time and you could count on one hand how many scoring opportunities Juve's leading scorer had.
C. Marchisio: 5.5
S. Giovinco: 6.0
J. Carrizo: 6.5 - Was never really challenged by Juve's prolific striking duo of Del Piero and Amauri. Made a couple of easy saves and had no chance to stop Mellberg's header.
S. Lichsteiner: 6.5 - Very good showing down the right flank. He was very effective when he pushed forward and didn't allow Nedved to do much of anything on the wing tonight.
M. Diakhite': 6.0 - Other than failing to completely organize his defense and losing track of where Mellberg was on the tying goal, it was a good showing. His size and strength was part of the reason why Amauri barely did anything.
D. Rozehnal: 6.5 - Probably Lazio's best defender tonight. Shook off a rocky start to the match and improved as time went on.
S. Radu: 6.0 - Almost setup Pandev to open the scoring 11 minutes in and continued to do well after that. Was solid defensively and did well to get involved in the offense throughout the entire game.
O. Dabo: 5.5 - Did well to control the center of the park to neutralize Juve's attack. He completely outclassed Zanetti on the night but was the man who was supposed to mark Mellberg on the tying goal.
C. Ledesma: 6.5 - Scored Lazio's only goal and he has Manninger to thank for it. He was Lazio's creative force in the midfield and
M. Meghni: 6.0 - Did well tonight along with Ledesma in shutting down Juve's attack before it got started. Despite being taken off in the 63rd minute, there is reason to be happy with how he performed tonight.
G. Pandev: 6.0 - Coming off a hat trick last week, Pandev was certainly looking to continue his fine form. He got off to a hot start and seemed to be all over the place at times. Was easily the most dangerous striker in Lazio's trident attack.
T. Rocchi: 6.5 - The Lazio captain did well to lead his team tonight. Didn't have the best of luck with his personal scoring opportunities, but that's just how the game goes sometimes. Certainly can't be upset about the way he played tonight.
M. Zarate: 6.0 - He's usually one of the best players on the field but never really seemed to get things clicking today offensively. He was dangerous at times, but only manager a couple of long-range attempts. He was clearly upset when he was taken off for Foggia in the 73rd minute and shot some dirty looks towards the Lazio coaching staff.
C. Brocchi: 5.0
L. De Silvestri: 5.5
P. Foggia: 6.0