Gianluigi Buffon International - Juventusworld 1897

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#1PostPosted: 9. Dec 2017, 23:54 
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Inter kept Juventus at bay to retain top spot in Serie A as the 169th Derby d'Italia finished in stalemate at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday.

The Nerazzurri barely tested stand-in goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny - who was once again filling in for the injured Gianluigi Buffon - but showed their resilient side to shut out the reigning champions in Turin.

While third-placed Napoli could take over at the summit with a win over Fiorentina on Sunday, Luciano Spalletti's side demonstrated why it looks set to be a three-way race for the title.

Mario Mandzukic hit the woodwork in the first half as Juve huffed and puffed in the hope of finding a way past Samir Handanovic in the away goal.

Massimiliano Allegri caused a stir by leaving Paulo Dybala out of his starting XI, but not even the late introduction of the team's top scorer could inspire the Bianconeri to a fourth straight win in all competitions.

With Dybala watching on from the bench, Mandzukic twice had chances to break the deadlock in a first half that saw two of Italian football's heavyweights struggle to land a telling blow on their opponent.

The Croatian saw a crisp half-volley kept out by Handanovic and while he quickly seized on the rebound, his reactionary header was drifting wide before the retreating Miranda hacked the ball clear.

The forward came even closer to scoring in the closing minutes of the half, only to head Juan Cuadrado's deep cross from the right against the crossbar.

Sami Khedira also forced Handanovic into a save – albeit a comfortable one low to the goalkeeper's right – but an Inter side who put five past Chievo last time out failed to even manage a shot in the opening 45 minutes

They had started brightly but found a Juve defence marshalled superbly by Giorgio Chiellini, who – in the absence of the injured Buffon – wore the captain's armband on his 450th appearance for the hosts.

If the opening half was a tactical battle between two well-drilled teams, the second became all about Inter surviving wave after wave of attacks.

At times they looked set to crumble under the pressure, only to come through the odd scary moment and maintain their unbeaten record this season.

Handanovic tipped over Cuadrado's looping header but was fortunate soon after when a poor decision to come for a cross went unpunished, Miralem Pjanic driving the loose ball across the face of goal and beyond the far post.

Dybala's introduction galvanised one final push, both from his team-mates and the crowd, yet Juve could not land the knockout punch as they failed to score in the league for the first time since October 2016.


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