Inter Milan 2-0 Juventus: Arturo Vidal stars as Antonio Conte wins over former side in Derby d'Italia

Former Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal opened scoring with header at San Siro; Nicolo Barella caps outstanding display with Inter's second goal shortly after half-time; Antonio Conte's side go level with AC Milan at top of Serie A

Inter Milan's Arturo Vidal celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Arturo Vidal came back to haunt his former side as Inter Milan went level on points with AC Milan at the top of Serie A with a dominant 2-0 win over Juventus in the Derby d'Italia.

Cristiano Ronaldo suffered a torrid night as Andrea Pirlo's Juventus were outmuscled in midfield and outplayed by their former manager Antonio Conte.

Vidal gave the hosts the lead when he connected with Nicolo Barella's cross and guided a well-taken header past Wojciech Szczesny (13).

Man-of-the-match Barella capped an outstanding display when he latched onto a spectacular Alessandro Bastoni through ball from deep into his own half and emphatically slotted past Szczesny into the top corner (52).

Antonio Conte's side are now level on points with city rivals AC Milan - who play Cagliari on Monday - at the top of the table, while Juventus remain fifth in the standings albeit with a game in hand to be played.

How Conte claimed first Derby d'Italia win as Inter boss

Despite Inter's full-strength side enjoying most of the early possession, Juventus went close when they had Cristiano Ronaldo's early tap-in goal chalked off for a marginal offside.

However, the hosts took the lead with a well-taken goal shortly after, Vidal finding Barella in space on the right flank and then running into the box to finish the Italy's international looping cross into the far corner.

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Conte's side had a glorious chance to extend their lead when Szczesny parried Romelu Lukaku's curled shot into Lautaro Martinez's path but the striker fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

Barella started dictating the tempo and taking the game by the scruff of the neck just before half-time, creating another opening for Lukaku, for the striker to scuff the ball into Szczesny's hands.

Inter Milan's Nicolo Barella, right, celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Image: Nicolo Barella (right) capped his man-of-the-match display with a goal shortly after half-time

But it didn't take long after half-time for the Italy international to leave his mark as he doubled his side's lead in exceptional fashion.

Bastoni's 60-yard through ball from outside his own box put Barella through on a one-on-one against Szczesny and the ice-cool midfielder smashed the ball into the top corner to make it 2-0.

Alarm bells rang for Andrea Pirlo and he forced a triple sub, with Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluca Frabotta making way for Dejan Kulusevski, Weston McKennie and Federico Bernardeschi.

Kulusevski, in particular, looked lively on the right flank, but all Juventus players lacked bite and Inter were the side that went closer to score as the game entered the final stages.

Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo sits on the ground during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Image: Ronaldo suffered a torrid night at San Siro as his Juventus side were defeated 2-0

Martinez had another chance to put the game to bed when he ran at Giorgio Chiellini and flashed a powerful effort wide of the far post, before making way for Alexis Sanchez.

Juve's best play of the night came on the stroke of full-time as McKennie found Federico Chiesa in space of the edge of the box, but Inter 'keeper Samir Handanovic showed great reflexes to beat away the winger's rasping strike.

Pirlo lost his first meeting with former boss Antonio Conte as Juventus boss and remains seven points off the two Milan sides, with AC Milan having the chance to open back up a three-point lead when they play at Cagliari on Monday night.

January 17, 2021, Milan, United Kingdom: Nicolo Barella of Internazionale scores to give the side a 2-0 lead during the Serie A match at Giuseppe Meazza, Milan. Picture date: 17th January 2021. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop/Sportimage(Credit Image: © Jonathan Moscrop/CSM via ZUMA Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
Image: Barella emphatically blasted into the roof of the net early in the second half to extend Inter's lead

Man of the Match - Nicolo Barella

Barella did not even need a goal to justify his man of the match nomination, but his strike made his performance all the more emphatic as he looked absolutely untouchable from start to finish.

Conte knew the key battle to win the prized three points lied in midfield, and gave Barella the platform do shine in a more advanced position while Vidal and Marcelo Brozovic did the dirty work man-marking Rodrigo Bentancur and Adrien Rabiot.

Playing in-between the Juve midfield and back line, Barella was a thorn in the flesh of the guests for the whole evening, shrugging off challenges from the more muscular Juventus players despite his relatively short build.

With the ball at his feet, he was Inter's danger man, assisting Vidal's opener with a beautiful cross and creating more openings for Lukaku and Martinez throughout the first half.

Inter Milan players celebrate after Nicolo Barella scored his side's second goal during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

The 23-year-old then put the nail in the coffin himself, showing outstanding awareness as he attacked the space behind the Juventus defence to latch onto a spectacular Bastoni through ball, and exceptional composure in front of goal to blast the ball under the bar to make it 2-0.

Inter's strength this season is having a different match-winner every week. On his day, just like Martinez, Lukaku and Hakimi, Barella is the real deal and one of the reasons why Antonio Conte's side are now genuine Scudetto contenders.

What's next?

Inter will travel to face Udinese at 6pm on Saturday, before taking on city rivals AC Milan in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals the following Tuesday at 7.45pm.

Juventus will have the chance to clinch their first trophy under Andrea Pirlo in the Italian Super Cup against Napoli on Wednesday (8pm kick-off) before resuming their Serie A duties at home against Bologna at 11.30am on Sunday.

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