Juventus ended Inter Milan’s perfect record in Serie A and took over the top spot as Gonzalo Higuain’s superb late strike earned a 2-1 victory in the San Siro on Sunday.
The Argentine striker, on as a substitute, applied a clinical finish to a flowing move in the 80th minute. Paulo Dybala had fired Maurizio Sarri’s Juve side in front after four minutes but Inter, who had won all six of their matches before Sunday’s clash, leveled in the 18th minute.
Matthijs de Ligt was adjudged to have handled in the area and Lautaro Martinez converted the spot-kick. Juventus moved top with 19 points to Inter’s 18 and it was a deserved victory in an absorbing contest.“Juve is in another category from all points of view, we cannot compare to them,” said Inter manager Antonio Conte. “The gap is there and it is important. We have won six games bringing the car to 200 miles per hour and we will try to do it again.”
Inter recovered from conceding early and after equalizing could have gone ahead when Martinez forced Wojciech Szczesny into a great save with a powerful cross-shot. But Juve carved out the best chances with Cristiano Ronaldo denied by keeper Samir Handanovic and then had a goal ruled out for offside before the break.
Sarri sent on Higuain and Rodrigo Bentancur as Juve chased a winner in the second half and the changes worked wonders. Just when it was beginning to look as if the sides would have to settle for a point, Juve worked the ball forward and, after Ronaldo and Bentancur exchanged passes, Higuain was freed to slot home the winner in lethal fashion.
“It was a great match for Juventus,” Higuain, who replaced Federico Bernardeschi, said. “Inter came from six victories but we played with great character and determination and luckily we managed to bring it home.”
Atalanta have 16 points in third after their impressive start continued with a 3-1 home victory over Lecce. Duvan Zapata opened the scoring in the 35th minute when he punished a defensive mistake and then combined well with Alejandro Gomes who made it 2-0 before halftime. Robin Gosens added a third early in the second half.
Fourth-placed Napoli, on 13 points, were held 0-0 at Torino while AS Roma, fifth with 12, drew 1-1 at home to Cagliari.