<
>
2016/2017 Italian Serie A
  • Juan Cuadrado (45')
  • Ivan Perisic (90'+4')

Juan Cuadrado strike hands Juve Derby d'Italia victory over Inter

Juan Cuadrado's first-half thunderbolt fired Juventus to a 1-0 Derby d'Italia victory over Inter Milan in Turin.

The on-loan Chelsea winger, under the watchful eye of his visiting Stamford Bridge boss Antonio Conte, rifled home an unstoppable volley as the clock struck 45 minutes at the Juventus Stadium.

A much-improved Inter team looked good for a goal at times but neither Joao Mario nor Ivan Perisic -- later dismissed for arguing with referee Nicola Rizzoli -- could deny Juve their 28th consecutive Serie A home win.

Juve must play a game-in-hand at 18th-placed Crotone in midweek, and triumph in Calabria would see them pull nine points clear in the title race.

Under Stefano Pioli, Inter are no longer fragile and disorganised as they so often were under his predecessor Frank de Boer, and the switch to a three-man defence has allowed the head coach to make the most of his attacking options.

The visitors went steaming forward from the first whistle and if it were not for the earnest Juve rearguard they might have caught their opponents cold.

Instead Massimiliano Allegri's men made the best early headway with Paulo Dybala testing Samir Handanovic with an acrobatic scissor-kick before the Argentinian returned to the Inter box to smash the ball off the top of the crossbar.

Pressure absorbed, Inter responded with Joao Mario fizzing a daisy-cutter just wide of a post and then finding Perisic for a header that was punched clear by Gianluigi Buffon.

The action swung from end to end and after Mario Mandzukic wasted a close-range chance to nod home, Inter raced downfield, Perisic pinging the ball in from the left only for Mauro Icardi to kick off target with Giorgio Chiellini bearing down on him.

Juve sounded one last warning shot -- Miralem Pjanic's free kick was only kept out by a desperate flick from Handanovic -- before snatching the lead in style.

After a corner the ball fell to Cuadrado, who looked up before steering a rising half-volley past Handanovic's glove and into the back of the net.

That hammer blow to end the first half forced a rethink from Inter, who were more cautious immediately after the restart, with only a tricky run from Pjanic onto a Gonzalo Higuain through-ball giving Handanovic any real food for thought before the hour.

Inter refused to abandon their patient approach, steadily building through the gears while frustrating the three-pronged Juve attack.

It did not help them keep Higuain out of their box, though, with the 15-goal striker able to launch a first-time rocket down Handanovic's throat in the 78th minute.

The Slovenian stopper made another fine save to keep Mandzukic's header out at the death, but Juve had done enough.

Having taken revenge on Inter for their 2-1 derby defeat in September, they pulled six points clear at the top of the Serie A table.