Juventus are now just four points away from successfully defending their Serie A title after a 1-0 victory over AC Milan. A penalty from Arturo Vidal was sufficient to give them all three points and edge them a step closer to the championship. Defeat for the Rossoneri leaves them still battling to qualify for next season’s Champions League. They are now just a point ahead of fourth-placed Fiorentina.
If Napoli fail to beat Pescara next weekend, Juventus can seal the title with victory over Torino in Sunday?s derby clash. Inter Milan moved up to fifth place in Serie A after an 81st minute winner from Tommaso Rocchi gave them a vital 1-0 victory over Parma at the San Siro. The win eases the pressure on Coach Andrea Stramaccioni, for the moment at least, and ended a run of three straight defeats.
Rossoneri head coach Massimiliano Allegri decided to select an attacking line-up in response to Napoli’s 3-2 win over Cagliari, a victory that opened up a seven-point gap between Napoli and AC Milan. The attacking policy nearly paid off immediately when Robinho, one of three forwards in his starting line-up, narrowly missed the target.
Andrea Pirlo also went close in the eighth minute when his free-kick took a wicked deflection off Massimo Ambrosini in the wall. Milan keeper Christian Abbiati showed great reflexes to direct the ball behind for a corner. Abbiati was forced to retire from the game and was replaced between the sticks by Marco Amelia. Gianluigi Buffon was not tested in the Juve goal until the 24th minute when Milan?s top scorer Stephan El Shaarawy provided the first real attacking threat. Pirlo again caused havoc from a deflected free-kick before the interval but could not break the deadlock.
The substitute keeper was at fault when he fouled Kwadwo Asamoah in the 57th minute to present Juventus with a penalty. Vidal stroked the ball high into the net to send the home crowd wild with delight. To their credit, Milan tried to respond and efforts from Sulley Muntari and Riccardo Montolivo produced good saves from Buffon. Milan introduced Bojan Krkic and played four strikers in a desperate late effort to force and equaliser but Juventus refused to be broken down and secured a vital win. They can now claim their 29th domestic title, possibly as early as next weekend.
Napoli kept their slim title hopes alive through a late goal from substitute Lorenzo Insigne in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Cagliari. Marco Sau pulled them level at 2-2 with 20 minutes remaining but they knew that they needed all three points to keep the pressure on Juventus. They piled forward in the final ten minutes and their efforts seemed destined to fail when Hamsik missed a golden opportunity in the 79th minute. But they were rescued when Insigne, on in place of Blerim Dzemaili, sent the San Paolo into ecstasy when firing past Agazzi four minutes into stoppage time.