Juventus vs. Internazionale  2 - 0


Buffon the difference, says Ranieri

26 March 2012 09:07

Claudio Ranieri says Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was the difference in Inter's 2-0 loss in the Derby d'Italia in Turin on Sunday.

The struggling Inter had the better of a scrappy first half and forced the Italy captain into a string of fine saves.

The hosts then took over in the second period and opened the scoring when an unmarked Martin Caceres headed home Andrea Pirlo's corner, before sealing three precious points through substitute Alessandro Del Piero.

"That set-piece changed everything," Ranieri told Premium Calcio.

"Until that, we had created so much and only a super goalkeeper like Buffon denied us a goal."

Ranieri elaborated on his frustration over Caceres' opener on Sky Sport Italia: "There is regret at having wasted a good hour of play by again conceding a goal after switching off for a set-piece."

"There was only a few in the penalty area but we were drawn to (Mirko) Vucinic at the front post, leaving only Caceres in the middle. Then we didn't react."

"I'm sorry because we could have come away from here with a different scoreline after that first half."

Inter's loss at Juventus Stadium leaves them eighth in Serie A, 10 points adrift of third-placed Lazio.

However, while Ranieri concedes they have it all to do if they are to qualify for next season's Champions League, he refused to throw in the towel just yet.

"We must fight and take it one game at a time," Ranieri said. "Then we'll see where we are."

"Sure, to win here would have given us a big push but this year we have not been able to get on the right track."

"Ten points to make up on Lazio is a lot, it is true, but we will not give up."

Inter's next Serie A outing comes against Genoa at the San Siro next weekend.


Conte praises Juve stalwarts

26 March 2012 04:51

Juventus coach Antonio Conte hailed 'extra weapons' Gianluigi Buffon and Alessandro Del Piero after they helped clinch victory over Inter Milan.

The untouchable duo played significant roles in a 2-0 victory in Serie A, one that keeps Juve within four points of leaders AC Milan while continuing Inter's miserable run.

Buffon pulled off a string of world-class saves to keep Juve in the match in the first half, before substitute Del Piero scored the decisive goal in the 71st minute, extending his team's unbeaten run in the league to 30 games.

"In my view Del Piero and Buffon are our extra weapons," Conte said.

"At this moment (Del Piero) is in good shape and therefore he's playing. He also played in the Coppa and he repaid me with an excellent performance.

"When he gets the ball between his feet, it's difficult for him to not get it in the net. We have a very honest rapport and he knows what I think."

An emotional Conte shed a tear after the final whistle of the 'Derby d'Italia' following the passing of his aunt in midweek, but could not hide his delight at a precious three points gained against a bitter rival.

"We had to win tonight and it's a wonderful campaign. We also wanted to give our fans this moment of satisfaction in the Derby d'Italia."

Despite going undefeated, Juventus still have plenty of work to do if they are to hunt down a rampant AC Milan with nine games remaining.

"It (the title) is in AC Milan's hands. They are proving they have such strength in depth that they can continue to do well even through injuries."

Bitterly disappointed Inter coach Claudio Ranieri was left to pick up the pieces of a sixth league defeat in ten games after his side blew numerous chances to open the scoring in the first half.

Inter are now almost certainly out of the running for a Champions League spot, while a Europa League place is looking increasingly unlikely, with the club languishing in eighth spot.

Ranieri's future at the club is looking increasingly bleak.

"It's true the gap is widening from the European places and there are fewer games left to catch up, but we will not give in," he said.

"My future? I feel relaxed, you know how it is ... we are doing everything we possibly can, the president knows that and we have to end the season well."


Serie A wrap: Juve overcome Inter, Napoli stumble

25 March 2012 23:48

Juventus remain unbeaten in Serie A this season and effectively ended Inter Milan's Champions League hopes with a 2-0 win on Sunday.

Uruguay defender Martin Caceres and club stalwart Alessandro Del Piero struck in the second half for Juve after Gianluigi Buffon's heroics in goal had denied visitors Inter in the first half.

The win sees Juve close the gap on leaders AC Milan at the top of the table to four points.

For Inter, even a Europa League place now looks unlikely, with Claudio Ranieri's men seven points adrift of fifth place and 10 behind Lazio, who occupy the final Champions League qualification spot.

Diego Forlan and Diego Milito were both denied by the outstanding Buffon in the first half and Juve made their visitors pay when Caceres headed the opener on 57 minutes, before substitute Del Piero delighted the home fans with a composed finish in the 71st minute.

Earlier, Napoli lost ground on third-placed Lazio after relinquishing a two-goal lead to 2-2 draw at home to Catania.

Walter Mazzarri's men led 2-0 thanks to goals from Blerim Dzemaili and Edinson Cavani with a quarter of an hour left to play at the Stadio San Paolo.

But they conceded two late goals against Catania, who extended their unbeaten run to seven matches as Nicolas Spolli and Davide Lanzafame got on the scoresheet.

Lanzafame secured an unlikely point when he poked in after a scramble from a corner.

It meant Lazio extended their advantage in third spot to three points thanks to a 1-0 win at home to Cagliari.

Mobido Diakite's 88th-minute header gave Edy Reja's side a deserved victory at Stadio Olimpico.

In other matches, Genoa secured a late 2-2 draw at home to Fiorentina.

Delio Rossi's Fiorentina side led when Cesare Natali netted on 69 minutes, after Fernando Belluschi and Riccardo Montolivo had traded goals in the first half.

But the visitors were denied all three points when Argentine forward Rodrigo Palacio struck in the 89th minute.

Elsewhere, Mattia Destro cancelled out Francesco Acerbi's ninth-minute goal to help Siena to a 1-1 draw at Chievo.

Relegation-threatened Parma came from behind to draw 2-2 against fellow strugglers Cesena, and were denied all three points late on when they twice struck the woodwork.

Novara and Lecce, second and third from bottom respectively, played out a 0-0 draw in a relegation battle.

Finally, Atalanta climbed above Bologna and into ninth place on the table with a 2-0 triumph.


Conte concerned with Inter class

25 March 2012 06:05

Juventus manager Antonio Conte remains wary of Inter Milan's 'champions' ahead of their Serie A clash on Sunday.

Claudio Ranieri's Inter are reeling in eighth having won only once in nine league game as well as crashing out of the Champions League to Marseille.

However, Conte said it would be naive to expect Sunday's 'Derby d'Italia' to be an easy encounter with Inter desperate to get their season back on track and snap Juventus' 32-game unbeaten streak.

"When you face great champions you should always have respect and be very careful, because a champion can make the difference at any moment," Conte said.

"I don't think Inter will come to Turin to be a lamb to the slaughter.

"It's a very important game for Inter suppporters too. This week the club made it clear to the players the game is very important for them.

"They have champions who can put in a great performance and don't forget that we're still unbeaten and everyone is tempted by the chance to break our 32-game unbeaten record."

Juventus won 2-1 when the sides met at the San Siro in October, a result that bookended a run that included only two wins in Inter's first nine matches.

The Milan giants arrested that slump with nine wins in 10 games but have fallen once more while Juventus need a win to cut the gap to leaders AC Milan back to four points.

"Inter were favourites to win the league at the beginning of the season," Conte said.

"They have an excellent squad full of very important players. Just have a look at tomorrow's line-up.

"Seven out of 11 of their players were part of last season's team and that side won the Coppa Italia, ended the season in second place and two years ago won three titles. They were extraordinary.

"I have a great respect for their team and their club because they've done extraordinary things in the past," he said.


Conte predicts tough encounter with Inter

24 March 2012 17:17

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has warned his players to expect a fired-up Inter Milan in their Serie A clash on Sunday.

Claudio Ranieri's side have been in poor form, winning just one of their past nine league games to be in seventh spot.

Despite Inter's disappointing campaign, Conte believes a tough task awaits his men at Juventus Stadium.

"Inter will play the game of their lives. It is a very deeply-felt match for them and they will also want to interrupt our unbeaten record," he said.

"The challenge with Inter is important for the present, but the past doesn't interest me. These are truly fundamental points up for grabs and we expect great support from our fans."

Juventus needed extra-time to overcome AC Milan on Tuesday and reach the Coppa Italia final, providing them with an opportunity to claim a league-cup double.

However, Conte's side remain four points behind Massimiliano Allegri's men in the league, and he is looking for his men to focus on a game-to-game basis.

"All we can do is take it one match at a time and always give 100 percent, then we'll see where we end up," Conte said.

"We are playing against champions so we must concentrate. I don't see a depressed Inter, so they're certainly not coming to Turin to act as sacrificial lambs.

"We achieved our first objective which was reaching the Coppa Italia final and eliminating Milan, so we must compliment the lads."


Ranieri: Derby more important for Juventus

24 March 2012 17:08

Inter Milan boss Claudio Ranieri believes Juventus have more to lose than his side ahead of the Serie A clash between the teams on Sunday.

Ranieri's outfit head into the game in seventh place and struggling to compete for the European qualification positions after a dreadful run of one win in nine league games.

Juventus, on the other hand, are unbeaten and four points off league leaders AC Milan, and Ranieri believes three points are more important for Antonio Conte's men.

"In this situation, the game is more important for Juventus than Inter, so they have more to lose," he told reporters.

"With a defeat, Juve would see Milan break further away at the top of the table. They are also afraid that Inter can be the first team to beat them this season.

"It's a derby, I know, having been on the other end and realising full well what his game means."

Former Juventus boss Ranieri also spoke about his stint as manager of the Turin outfit, and explained why he left the club.

"I took over a side that was coming up from Serie B and lacked many champions. In the last four or five years everything has changed, as they are building a new project, the philosophy and above all, the budget has been totally transformed," Ranieri said.

"Am I disappointed at not continuing in Turin? We all have our karma, our story, and I always reconstructed wherever I went, but never bowed to compromises.

"The reason I left was there were three of us choosing players. At that moment I was excluded from making decisions, then I walked away."

Ranieri said he believes his side have turned the corner after a dismal run of form that has seen his position at the helm come under scrutiny.

"In recent outings we've seemed less weighed down. Now we are ready to face this Juventus, a side which are doing really well," Ranieri said.

"It's not true that we have nothing to lose though. You always want to win a big game and although Juve run the biggest risks, I would've preferred to be in their shoes."


Stankovic: Pressure is on Juve

23 March 2012 13:27

Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic believes all the pressure is on Juventus ahead of Sunday's Serie A clash between the two teams.

Claudio Ranieri's men are lingering in seventh on the table, while unbeaten Juve are challenging AC Milan for the title.

Stankovic, 33, feels Juventus have more to play for, with the pressure on Antonio Conte's side to win and remain in touch with AC Milan.

"Juventus have much more to lose than Inter. They are fighting for the Scudetto and we know that brings a lot of extra pressure," Stankovic told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday.

"They really cannot afford to drop any points. There will be even more pressure on them if AC Milan win their league game (against Roma) on Saturday."

Stankovic, whose team still hold hopes of finishing third and earning a spot in the Champions League qualifiers, said Inter were feared despite their struggles this campaign.

"It hurts to see us like this in the league table. However, we have some important games coming up against Udinese and Lazio for third place. We are still a feared opponent," the Serbian said.

Inter are seven points adrift of third-placed Lazio, who occupy the final Champions League spot.


Serie A preview: Title hopefuls face stern tests

23 March 2012 06:36

AC Milan are at home to Roma in the first Serie A match of the round this week, while Juventus await the visit of Inter on Sunday.

League leaders Milan sit four points clear of Juve at the top of the standings, and have a chance to extend their advantage when Luis Enrique brings his Roma team to San Siro.

Roma are sixth on the table, three points outside the Europa League qualification places and hopeful of upsetting the front-runners as they to bid to close the gap on fifth-placed Udinese.

For their part, Udinese will also play on Saturday, when they travel to face Palermo.

The bulk of the week's fixtures take place a day later on Sunday.

Atalanta, unbeaten in five matches, will look for a win at home to eighth-placed Bologna, who have won two of their last four.

Later, third-placed Lazio have a chance to record their first win in three matches when they welcome Cagliari to the Stadio Olimpico.

Just a point behind them are fourth-placed Napoli, who await the visit of Catania to the Stadio San Paolo.

Fiorentina suffered a humiliating 5-0 loss at home to Juve last week, hardly ideal preparation for this week's trip to face Genoa.

A crucial relegation clash takes place at the Stadio Comunale Silvio Piola, where the hosts, second-from-bottom Novara, square off with third-last Lecce.

Bottom side Cesena, 14 points adrift of safety, will continue their apparently vain struggle for survival away to Parma, who occupy the safety of 17th spot, while mid-table Siena are at home to strugglers Parma.

Second-placed Juve will try to keep pace the pressure on the leaders when they take on Inter Milan in Turin.

Juve's emphatic win over Fiorentina ended a frustrating run of four draws in succession, and Antonio Conte's title challengers remain undefeated in the league this season.

They drew 2-2 at home to Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-finals on Wednesday, sealing a 4-3 aggregate victory and a place in the final against Napoli.

Inter meanwhile are unbeaten from four matches in all competitions, but could only manage a 0-0 draw at home to Atalanta last time out.


Milito hoping to end Juve duck

22 March 2012 13:55

Inter Milan striker Diego Milito is hoping to break his goal duck against Juventus, when the two sides meet in Serie A on Sunday.

The 32-year-old attacker has spent six years in total in the Italian top flight, including a two-year spell from 2003 until 2005 before moving to La Liga, but he has never been able to find the net against Juventus during his time in Italy.

"Winning against Juventus? We are all highly motivated to do just that. It would be a huge morale boost if we are successful on Sunday," Milito told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I have never scored against Juventus so far, and I will do my utmost to end this streak in Sunday's encounter."

Milito has scored 14 goals in 23 Serie A appearances so far in the 2011-12 season.

Serie A table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +48 84
2 38 +41 80
3 38 +17 64
4 38 +9 62
5 38 +20 61
6 38 +3 58
7 38 +6 56
8 38 +1 56
9 38 -2 51
10 38 -10 49
11 38 -5 48
12 38 -2 46
13 38 -6 46
14 38 +0 44
15 38 -9 43
16 38 -10 43
17 38 -19 42
18 38 -16 36
19 38 -30 32
20 38 -36 22
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