Juventus’ nine-year stranglehold on the Serie A title was at risk of unraveling after a 2-0 loss at Inter Milan. Nicolò Barella scored one goal and set up another for former Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal as Inter moved level on points with city rival AC Milan atop the table.
Juventus, which has won the Italian league every season since 2011-12, was left in fifth place and seven points behind the leader — and the deficit could stretch to 10 points if Milan wins at Cagliari on Monday.
In the first matchup between Inter coach Antonio Conte and Juventus counterpart Andrea Pirlo — who played for Conte at Juventus and is coaching for the first time this season at any level — it was the veteran Conte who took home the bragging rights.
Juventus created few chances and never really threatened to get back into the match.
“Our ambitions are unchanged,” Pirlo said. “It's a misstep against a strong opponent. These things happen. But what I’m disappointed by is the attitude. A side like Juventus must come here with a certain confidence and ambition, the desire to take the initiative and steer the game in a certain direction. But we were too timid.”
Inter took control early on when Vidal leapt over Danilo to head in a cross from Barella.
ALSO READ | Liverpool held to a goalless draw by Man United
Having returned to Serie A at the start of this season, it was Vidal’s first goal in the Italian league since his last score for Juventus in 2015. Inter’s second exposed problems in Juventus’ defence, as Barella ran onto a long through ball from Alessandro Bastoni and sprinted past Gianluca Frabotta and Giorgio Chiellini to finish off a counterattack.
The last time Inter beat Juve without conceding was in April, 2010 — shortly before the Nerazzurri secured their last Serie A title.
“It was important for me and for the squad,” Vidal said.
“It was a tough game against the strongest team in Italy. Today we showed that we can fight for the title. It gives us confidence and belief that we can go all the way.”
Key Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt missed the match with the coronavirus, as did Juan Cuadrado and Alex Sandro.
Juventus doesn’t have much time to regather itself, as it faces Napoli in the Italian Super Cup on Wednesday.
Lorenzo Insigne scored two and set up another as a stunning first-half performance saw Napoli blow Fiorentina away, winning 6-0 to move into the top four. Napoli moved third, six points behind the leader.
Gennaro Gattuso’s team got off to a brilliant start as Insigne scored in the fifth minute. Fiorentina had chances and hit the crossbar but Napoli was clinical with its opportunities.
VIDEO | Juventus still Italy's top club - Conte
Diego Demme doubled Napoli’s lead in the 36th following a classic counterattack and Insigne set up Hirving Lozano for the third two minutes later. The match was all but over when Piotr Zieliński added another on the stroke of halftime.
Insigne doubled his tally with a second-half penalty after Tiémoué Bakayoko was tripped by Fiorentina midfielder Gaetano Castrovilli. Substitute Matteo Politano capped a dominating Napoli performance in the final minute.
Simy scored twice as bottom-of-the-table Crotone surprisingly beat Benevento 4-1 for only its third win of the season. Crotone, which had only scored 16 goals in its previous 17 league matches, remained bottom, however, two points from safety.
Also, high-scoring Atalanta was surprisingly held to a scoreless draw at home by relegation-threatened Genoa. Filip Đuričić converted a stoppage-time penalty for Sassuolo to rescue a 1-1 draw at home to Parma, which would have moved out of the drop zone with a win.