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Posted by Sumeet Paul on 03/26/2012

Amidst all the inevitable talk of Calciopoli, the pre-match choreography and ‘we have 29 Scudetti’ chatter, the first Derby d’Italia at the Juventus Stadium was as tense, passionately contested and enthralling as any previous meeting. Goals from Martin Caceres and Alessandro Del Piero secured all three points for the Bianconeri, and heaped further misery on the old enemy.

Old in every sense of the word it seems. Having been pressurised into a poor first-half, with Gigi Buffon reminding us of why he is arguably the best ‘keeper in world football today, an intelligent and game-changing switch in tactics from Antonio Conte coupled with a drop in intensity from the visitors, paved the way for Juve’s fifteenth win of the season.


Juve celebrate Derby win ©Getty Images

With nine games remaining in the campaign, Juve are just four points behind leaders Milan. Sunday night showcased positives throughout the side, from Buffon’s first-half heroics to the battling second-half performance which saw the Old Lady snatch back the initiative and play on the front foot. Along with the giant '28' and '29' signifying the 'lost' Scudetti as a result of the 2006 scandal, came a banner that read: 'That which we earned on the pitch with sweat, was handed to you in the courts'. One of many responses from the Inter end read: 'Wow, everything is new. But Juve ***** is always the same' referring to the new stadium but same club.

Prolific. A term used with great regularity in football, unfortunately not one which has been associated with the Juventus strikers for the most part of the season. While Alessandro Matri was disappointing, Mirko Vucinic returned to his usual frustrated figure after some sparkling performances in the last fortnight. As they toiled at one end of the pitch, one man at the other excelled as he single-handedly (or should it be double-handedly?) denied Diego Milito and Co. as Andrea Poli and Joel Obi effectively shut down Juve's rhythm and denied Andrea Pirlo the time and space he is so effective in.

It was a different story from the hour mark, Conte replaced Matri and Simone Pepe with Leo Bonucci and Alessandro Del Piero, switching to a 3-5-2, while both Poli and Obi were replaced. Caceres rose unmarked to head in from a Pirlo corner to open the scoring, his third goal against opposition from Milan this season. Then, cometh the big game, cometh the legend. After Vucinic had been denied moments earlier, Del Piero showed his Montenegrin team-mate how it's done with a fine finish past Julio Cesar to effectively seal the victory. It was his first league goal of the season, his 186th Serie A strike in total, and it continues his superb contribution after his goal in the Coppa Italia semi-final against Milan. The final whistle saw Conte shed tears of joy, dedicating the win to the fans as the unbeaten run continues.

Following Milan's win against Roma on Saturday evening, the race for the Scudetto is an intriguing one, however the next few games could be pivotal. Milan face Catania (A), Fiorentina (H), Chievo (A) and Genoa (H) while Juve take on Napoli (H), Palermo (A), Lazio (H), Cesena (A). Whether the race for the title goes down to the wire, could be determined by early-April.

However, one thing that is guaranteed is a place in the Coppa Italia final. On May 20, Juve face Napoli at the Stadio Olimpico, after successfully overcoming Milan in an incredible 2nd leg in Turin last week. While it presents a fantastic opportunity to end the trophy drought, it is equally as pleasing to see the Coppa providing entertainment it has lacked for years. From the early win over Roma, the spectacle created by the two sides last Tuesday night was befitting of the incredible atmosphere inside the stadium.

Your thoughts on the Derby d'Italia win? Can Juve maintain the pressure on Milan over the next few games? With the Coppa Italia final to look forward to, are you dreaming of a double?

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Comments

Posted by Sam on 03/26/2012

I hate Juventus but it finally feels as if the scum from the scandals is wearing off, the dirty, mafioso who used to run the club are gone and the club is finally back with the big boys where it belongs. Juventus fans can be proud with what they win from now on as they know it has not been stained by Moggi and his cronies. A well deserved win from a good hard working Juventus team over an Inter team who tried but have little left. I hope you can catch up with Milan, the last Italian club still run by a gangster.

Posted by Tim on 03/26/2012

1) Juve won't lose this year. Napoli provides the only scare, and we play them at home and at a neutral venue. 2)Milan will drop points because they are focusing on the UCL and because Thiago Silva is out for a month. In my opinion if Juve have a one-point lead going into Match Day 35, they will go on to win the double.

Posted by Simon Phukan on 03/26/2012

After a string of draws, the last week has been so refreshing....thrashing Fiorentina by 5 goals, then knocking Milan out of Coppa Italia to reach the finals and then a hard fough victory in the Derby D'Italia is just want doctored ordered for Juve and what the fans needed....Fantastic!!!

In the process, Juve has answered thier critics...We can win games & we can score a plenty..

Derby D'Italia tipifies Juve's this season...Fight Back and believe in itself...

I am sure Milan will drop points as they are having to focus on the big clash with Barca (losing Silva as well for a month) and Juve must take advantage by continuing the winning streak in the next few games...

Yes, as a die hard Juve fan, the way things has gone this season, we have the right to dream the double and keeping the fingers crossed for the next few weeks..FORZA Juve!!!

I dont care if it is 27 or 29 but win this year for our legend Alex Del Piero!!!!

Posted by Ollegio on 03/27/2012

I agree with Tim that Milan will drop points. But I think that Juve will drop points as well. Juve will secure a Champions League spot thanks to an increasing role in the squad by the captain. Hopefully we will win the Italian Cup as well. But I don't hold out much hope of winning the Scudetto. I look forward to seeing ADP here in North America this summer, and hopefully Juvec can add some world class forwards before next season.
-Forza Juve-

Posted by Daniel Duncan on 03/27/2012

I fell so happy to know that we're overcoming the drama of 2006, with that said, this year has been great the team is doing so well, if in the winter break we had purchased a prolific striker (25+goals/season)we would be still leading the table and i hope in the summer we can pick up 3 strikers(Higuian/Rossi/Lukk DeJong & DelPero must stay)3 creative midfielders (Gotze/Isco/Adam Johnson needs to come b4 Pirlo leaves to allow time to adjust & learn from a master)and return of some of our youth players & loanees Ekdal,Taider,Pasquato,Immoble,Sorenson,Zigler. why the blend of youth cuz to ensure their development & whats happening with Inter does happen to us & get rid of some old folks like Grosso,Padoin,Krasic,Quags,Borrello,Pepe, Vunici,Matri they are moving into their 30s and still lack quality,consistency & high ability so u might sell them now b4 its to late. STOP BUYING PLAYERS 25+ it wouldn't help our financial stability. All in all we look positive for the future,Fonza Juve!

Posted by Edwin on 03/27/2012

I dont think Milan will drop points they are just as hungry for a trophy as Juve are. Milan just like last season understand how to deliver in the final stretch of the season.

Posted by juventini on 03/28/2012

Forza juve.. !!!
Juve will win the double. or at least coppa italia is in our hands. cause I think milan get an easier opponent. we all know milan good at trashing some proviciale. but I hope milan can win the UCL. If that happens then they will absolutely drop more points.
finally it's our time to get trophies..

Posted by Kieran Buckley on 03/29/2012

Pleased to see the commitment and endeavour winning through on Sunday sgsinst Inter.The next few weeks will tell the tale if we are going to take the Scudetto.
So far despite the glut of draws we have had a great season.
Conte has done a great job.Nice to see Del Piero playing a part.
What a wonderful servant to the club.

Posted by Juventino on 04/07/2012

Juve just beat Palermo 2-0. The way they control the game is just deadly. They have completely dominated the last several games now against Fiorentina, Inter, Napoli and Palermo. All difficult opposition (regardless of their current standings in the league table).

I remember reading posts from Sumeet at the beginning of the season and he was suggesting that Juventus would end the season in the top 3. And I thought, "wishful thinking, is this guy kidding?"

Of course, I'd love to see them hold this lead and win the double but I never would've thought Juve could have gotten this far based on their last two campaigns. They are by far the best team in Italy right now hands down and are the only team deserving of the title, as Milan have won too many points as a result of soft penlaties. As an Italian soccer fan it will be great to have Juve, Milan and Napoli representing the best of Italian football in Champions League next season.

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About
David Young After watching his first Serie A game as a youngster, Sumeet Paul has been an avid fan of Italian football ever since. Offering in-depth and opinionated views, coupled with a humourous element, he has a strong desire to become involved in sports writing. Pairing up his life's two greatest loves; football and talking, he would appreciate any feedback and general football conversation, you can email him at sumeetpaul7@googlemail.com or you can follow him on twitter @italiafooty

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