Created on 06-12-2009 at 00:00 AM
Juventus warmed up in style for Tuesday’s Champions League showdown against Bayern by beating Serie A leaders Inter 2-1 on Saturday, slashing the gap to the top from eight to five points. “We’re pleased and delighted. We deserved to win, but now we have to start thinking about Tuesday,” said Bianconeri boss Ciro Ferrara, under fire after his side lost their two previous games.
By ending the Italian champions’ eight-game winning run, Juventus bounced back to crushing effect from their recent disappointments. A 25,530 Stadio Olimpico crowd saw Felipe Melo put the home team ahead from a Diego free-kick on 20 minutes. Inter coach José Mourinho was despatched to the stands straight afterwards for vehemently complaining about an alleged Juve foul in the area.
The former Chelsea boss looked on as Samuel Eto’o levelled six minutes later, the Cameroon hitman seizing on a moment’s disarray in the Juventus defence to bury a Dejan Stankovic cross with his head. However, Claudio Marchisio (pictured) restored the home side’s lead after 58 minutes. Inter keeper Julio Cesar could only push aside a Momo Sissoko drive, allowing Marchisio to round defender Walter Samuel and fire over Cesar into the net.
Inter poured forward in search of an equaliser and were aided three minutes from time when Felipe Melo was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but the leaders’ frantic efforts came to nought. The men from Turin, whose centre-back Giorgio Chiellini played in a mask to protect a broken nose, protected their lead through to the end.
Captain demands 100 percent
“The three points will give us another shot of confidence,” commented Juve keeper Gianluigi Buffon, “but I never feared this team falling apart in an important game. That doesn’t mean you can ever guarantee a win, but it does mean we’ll always fight to the end.”
The next important game is Tuesday’s match-up with Bayern. “We need to be smart and humble,” said Juventus skipper Alessandro del Piero, “we need to be aware that we’ll have to give everything.”
Juventus line-up against Inter:
Buffon - Caceres, Chiellini, Cannavaro, Grosso - Marchisio (Poulsen 80), Melo, Sissoko, Diego (Grygera 90) - Del Piero (Camoranesi 70), Amauri