Juventus claim late comeback victory to get Serie A title push back on track
Gonzalo Higuain headed home a late winner for Juventus.
Juventus produced a stunning late show to beat 10-man Inter Milan 3-2 and get their Serie A title push back on track.
Juve saw their gap at the top of the league cut to one point when they lost to Napoli last weekend and they were heading for another shock defeat after Mauro Icardi’s effort and a Andrea Barzagli own goal put Inter within touching distance of a fine win.
But Massimiliano Allegri’s men, who led early on through Douglas Costa’s opener, refused to give up and drew level in the 87th minute through Juan Cuadrado and then two minutes later won it thanks to Gonzalo Higuain’s header.
The three points, which have to be considered a bonus, means they are now four ahead of second-placed Napoli, who play Fiorentina on Sunday.
Inter battled bravely, having been forced to play most of the game with 10 men after Matias Vecino was sent off after a horrible challenge on Mario Mandzukic.
Keen to assert themselves in the pursuit of a seventh title in a row, Juve took the early ascendancy and led in the 13th minute.
Costa found himself in space at the far post and drilled a low shot across goal and into the bottom corner.
Just five minutes later Inter’s plight got a lot worse as they were reduced to 10 men.
Vecino was deservedly sent for an early bath when he stamped on Mandzukic’s shin, though the referee Daniele Orsato needed VAR to make the decision to brandish the red.
It looked like it had got even worse for the hosts in first-half injury-time when Blaise Matuidi blasted home a loose ball, with Orsato awarding the goal.
However, after strong Inter protests, the referee consulted the replays which showed Matuidi had clearly come back from an offside position.
But Luciano Spalletti’s men rallied and found themselves level seven minutes after the restart.
Icardi climbed highest from Joao Cancelo’s inviting free-kick to head home his 27th goal of the campaign.
The turnaround was complete 13 minutes later as Ivan Perisic found space on the left and his fierce cross was turned into his own net by the helpless Barzagli.
Juve launched an attempt to get back into the game and Paulo Dybala almost found a leveller as his 20-yard free-kick was arrowing towards the top corner until Samir Handanovic superbly tipped the ball over.
Cuadrado brought them level with three minutes of normal time remaining when his shot deflected home from an acute angle and – just two minutes later – Higuain sparked incredible scenes of celebration when he headed home a free-kick.