Monday 9 March 2020 08:09, UK
Aaron Ramsey's opening goal helped Juventus beat Inter Milan and claim top spot in Serie A in an empty Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
The Derby d'Italia, played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus emergency in Italy, endured a cagey first half despite Matthijs De Ligt and Marcelo Brozovic going close for both sides.
But Ramsey broke the deadlock with close-range finish for his third league goal of the season (54) and Paulo Dybala sealed the three points for the hosts with a delightful finish with the outside of the boot (67).
Inter went close in the final stages via a Christian Eriksen shot which flew past the crossbar but Antonio Conte's side failed to test the Serie A champions with a lacklustre second-half performance.
The win lifts Maurizio Sarri's side back into top spot in Serie A, one point ahead of Lazio, leaving Inter's title dreams in tatters as the Milan club now sit nine points off their rivals.
Despite the deserted atmosphere in Turin both sides made a lively start to the game, with Juventus matching Inter's early pressure as Samir Handanovic showed quick reflexes to deny De Ligt's goal-bound header from a corner.
The Inter goalkeeper, who returned after a lengthy injury spell, was back at it again minutes later when he got down to make a crucial one-hand save to keep out a fizzing drive from Blaise Matuidi.
Inter worked the ball around well and showed promising signs but tested Wojciech Szczesny very rarely, their biggest chance coming with a low strike from Brozovic parried away by the Juve 'keeper.
The hosts came quick out of the blocks in the second half and took the lead when Ramsey collected a loose ball in the box and fired in from close range with the help of a slight deflection off Stefan De Vrij.
From there onwards, Inter were second best and moments after Eriksen entered the fray to give them a much-needed boost in quality, Juventus found the all-important second goal to kill off their rivals with a piece of magic.
Sub Dybala latched onto a long ball and combined with Ramsey before he entered the box, dummied Ashley Young and placed a delightful shot off the outside of his left boot into the bottom corner.
Eriksen could have set up a tense finale after Alexis Sanchez, subbed on for an uninspiring Romelu Lukaku, teed him up inside the box but the former Tottenham playmaker failed to test Szczesny as he saw his shot fly inches over the crossbar.
Inter lost confidence rapidly while Cristiano Ronaldo looked for a goal to mark his 1000th game in professional football and went close to adding a third twice in stoppage time, but his efforts fizzed just wide of Handanovic's goal.
The Serie A title race now heats up as Juventus and Lazio are set for a head-to-head run-in while Inter lose further ground from the top of the table, although they could cut the gap back down to six points should they win their postponed game against Sampdoria.
Ramsey has not been a centrepiece of the Serie A champions' season so far but it was a vintage performance from him in Sunday's crucial Derby d'Italia.
The Welshman provided a dynamic box-to-box performance typical of his Arsenal days, putting in vital tackles and interceptions, showing excellent passing accuracy, providing support in both phases, and most importantly applying the finishing touches to both goals as he notched up a goal and an assist in a clutch title clash.
Ramsey has now found back-to-back league goals for the first time since 2017 and could finally be hitting the form required for a regular starting berth in Sarri's side.