Juventus’ defeat to Napoli last weekend had blown open the Serie A title race once more and so with the defending champions needing a win and Inter desperate to climb into the Champions League spots, the stage was set perfectly for Saturday’s Derby d’Italia.
And it didn’t disappoint with Juve scoring twice in the last five minutes to snatch a dramatic win over ten-man Inter.
Just a minute remained on the clock following Juan Cuadrado’s equaliser when Gonzalo Higuaín headed the late winner in front of a stunned San Siro.
It had looked as though it would be a far easier evening for Juventus when Douglas Costa volleyed an early opening goal and Matias Vecino’s red card saw Inter almost immediately reduced to ten men.
VAR correctly denied Blaise Matuidi from doubling Juve’s lead and from this point Inter grew in confidence.
A superb Mauro Icardi headed levelled things shortly after half time, the Inter captain’s 27th Serie A goal of the season, and when Higuaín wasted a glorious chance at one end only for Andrea Barzaglia to turn into his own net at the other, Juve looked in real trouble.
However, Paulo Dybala’s introduction made a positive change to the attack and three minutes from time, the Argentinian slipped in Cuadrado, whose shot somehow sneaked past Samir Handanovic.
Just a point wouldn’t have been enough for Juve but deep in stoppage time, a Dybala free kick into the Inter penalty box found Higuaín and the centre forward nodded past Handanovic to end his longest drought in Italian football – 716 minutes.
With two games remaining, Juve remain in pole to lift the title while Inter’s hopes of Champions League football look slim.
Relegated Las Palmas earned a 1-1 draw away at Espanyol in LaLiga with Jonathan Calleri scoring his eighth of the season from the penalty spot.
Eduardo Salvio was on target for the second consecutive week but couldn’t prevent Benfica slumping to a shock defeat against Tondela.
The Argentina World Cup hopeful netted an injury time winner last weekend but Salvio’s neatly taken goal on Saturday was just a consolation as Benfica slipped to a 3-2 defeat and gave Porto a great chance to move towards the title.
Pizzi had given Benfica an early lead but three unanswered Tondela goals left Benfica with too much to do rendering Salvio’s strike as meaningless. Benfica, champions for the past four seasons, not only hand further control to Porto, who can can five points clear with two games remaining, but could lose second after Sporting moved level.
It was a bad day for Bayer Leverkusen too as they lost 1-0 to Stuttgart meaning they slip to fifth in the Bundesliga. Lucas Alario saw an early penalty saved and it proved decisive as the visitors nicked the points in the second half. Emiliano Insua and Santiago Ascacibar both completed the full 90 minutes for Stuttgart.
In the Chinese Super League, it was a better day for Ezequiel Lavezzi, as the former Argentina international scored twice in a victory for Hebei China Fortune.
After a goalless first half, Lavezzi slotted in a simple opener and after Hebei had doubled their lead, Pocho volleyed in a superb third. Hebei remain down in tenth but Lavezzi has six goals in eight games this season.