After 49 unbeaten matches in the Italian Serie A, Juventus have been brought back down to reality after being defeated 3-1 at the Juventus Stadium by archrivals Inter Milan. The victory sees Inter close the gap at the top of the league to just one point.
Juventus began proceedings in the best possible way, sending the home fans into a frenzy in the very first minute. Kwadwo Asamoah was cleverly released down the left wing by Mirko Vucinic. The Ghanaian then played a delightful ball across into the Inter penalty area where a rampant Arturo Vidal slotted home: 1-0 Juventus.
It wasn't long until the Bianconeri were on the attack again. This time, Andrea Pirlo orchestrated some nice interplay on the edge of the Inter penalty area before finding Marchisio unmarked in the box. The Italian international was unable to get the better of Handanovic who tipped the ball around for a corner.
As the match wore on Inter began to retain possession of the ball but left little to the imagination as they were unable to get an equaliser. Cambiasso fired over the bar twice in quick succession as they pressed forward.
Just minutes later, however, it was Inter who thought they had netted a goal. A quickly taken free kick from Cambiasso was met by Palacio in the box. An unprepared Buffon was left planted as the ball found its way into the net. Amidst celebration, the goal was overturned by an offside ruling: A warning sign of what was to come.
With space opening up, Cassano drove wide after being left unmarked on the edge of the Juve penalty area. Elsewhere, Giovinco continued to make a nuisance of himself weaving in and out of Inter defenders as Juventus pushed to build on their lead.
Inter were almost caught napping on the stroke of halftime, when a Mirko Vucinic ball across the edge of the Inter box was left by the Inter defence. It fell to none other than Arturo Vidal, whose driven shot was well saved by Handanovic. The first half finished 1-0. Juventus by this point, sitting seven points ahead at the top of the Serie A.
The Italian champions picked up where they left off after the break, Giovinco yet again causing trouble up front. However, it was Inter who were looking the more dangerous as they continued to break on the counter. First, it was Palacio who took one touch too many to allow Buffon just enough time to tip his shot over the bar; then, Nagatomo evaded a Caceres and Barzagli challenge to break into the area and shoot directly at Buffon.
Just minutes later, Inter's persistence paid off when they were awarded a penalty—Marchisio, the Juventus culprit. Cue Il'Principe, Diego Milito fired home much to the dismay of the Juventus faithful. It was 1-1. Game on.
The goal seemingly gave the Nerazzurri a new lease on life. Andrea Stramaccioni was determined to push forward and exploit the tiring Juventus backline. As such he replaced Cassano for Fredy Guarin. A move which would prove instrumental just minutes later.
Juventus continued to hold possession within the Inter half, Pirlo unsurprisingly pulling all the strings. However, a dispossession on the halfway line to the newly introduced Guarin, saw the Colombian International drive deep into the Juventus half to unleash a fierce shot along the ground.
Buffon was only able to parry the ball, and as the ball fell to Diego Milito the Argentinian made no mistake in putting Inter ahead with just 15 minutes remaining. At 2-1 Inter, Juventus were on the brink of their first league defeat in the Juventus Stadium.
Quagliarella was brought on by Angelo Alessio as Juventus adopted an all-out attacking formation. Andre Pirlo attempted a long range shot, but Handanovic was determined to keep Juventus at bay. Quagliarella followed suit, but he was unable to get his left footed attempt on target.
It was inevitable that as Juventus pushed forward, space would open up in behind, and when Nagatomo broke on the counter, Rodrigo Palacio was left unmarked in the penalty area. Buffon stood no chance one on one and could only watch as Palacio's shot trickled by, sealing the fate of the Bianconeri. Now they were 3-1 and out of reach.
Inter Milan's victory in Turin has rekindled the title race in Italy, with just one point separating the Nerazzurri from the Bianconeri. For Juventus, the defeat sees them fall short of AC Milan's 58-game unbeaten streak in the Serie A by just nine games. They will look to make amends when they face FC Nordsjælland in the Champions League Midweek.
FULL TIME: JUVENTUS 1 (Vidal) - INTER MILAN 3 (Milito 2, Palacio).