Douglas Costa has put Juventus 1-0 up away to Inter with Matias Vecino sent off and a Blaise Matuidi goal disallowed amid controversy.
This was a must-win match for both teams, as the Bianconeri saw their lead at the top of the table sliced to one point following a defeat to Napoli, while the Nerazzurri were still lagging behind Roma and Lazio in the race for a top four spot. Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Stefano Sturaro were injured, so Max Allegri reacted to accusations of being negative and boring by using Juan Cuadrado at right-back, but dropping Paulo Dybala. Matias Vecino and Antonio Candreva returned to the starting XI with Roberto Gagliardini sidelined.
The spectacular choreography before kick-off in the Curva Nord had Juve as Pinocchio, declaring they’d ‘Never been in Serie B’ and had 35 Serie A titles.
Juan Cuadrado was a big risk at right-back and he was booked for taking down Ivan Perisic on the counter within five minutes.
However, Juve took the lead, as a cross-field pass from Cuadrado went over Blaise Matuidi’s head and found Douglas Costa, who lashed it across the face of goal from a tight angle. VAR checked and decided Matuidi did not make contact, so he was onside.
Moments later, VAR was used again, this time after the referee booked Matias Vecino for a studs-up tackle on Mario Mandzukic. The booth called Daniele Orsato, he viewed it again on the touchline and opted for a straight red. Although Vecino did seem to pull out once he realised Mandzukic’s shin was under his foot, it was too late and the studs were there in what could be construed as a stamp.
Antonio Candreva almost scored the goal of the season with a dipping, swerving missile from a huge distance, but Gigi Buffon fingertipped it round the far top corner.
The crowd was furious after Cuadrado seemed to block off Perisic at the by-line, but there was no free kick, then Mandzukic got into an altercation with Candreva, as the temperature rose at San Siro. Andrea Barzagli was booked before half-time for a sliding tackle on Mauro Icardi.
Juventus thought they had scored a second on the stroke of half-time with Matuidi, but VAR showed he was miles offside, as again nobody touched the assist.