Cristiano Ronaldo believes Juventus' 2-0 Supercoppa Italiana victory over Napoli can bolster their confidence in the fight for the Scudetto.

Ronaldo opened the scoring in Reggio Emilia, netting the 760th goal of his incredible career - a strike that pulled him level with Josef Bican as the greatest goalscorer of all-time according to some estimates.

Substitute Alvaro Morata sealed the first silverware of Andrea Pirlo's tenure with the final kick of the game, although Juve were indebted to a penalty miss by Lorenzo Insigne and two magnificent saves from Wojciech Szczesny.

"It was a difficult match, very difficult, but we had an excellent attitude," Ronaldo told television reporters.

"Winning this cup is very important to gain confidence. We are very happy."

Wednesday's triumph saw Juve bounce back from a dispiriting 2-0 loss at Inter last weekend, a setback that left them 10 points shy of leaders Milan with a game in hand.

"We need a different attitude, we made a mistake with Inter," Ronaldo said.

"But it has passed. The important thing was to win today and it is a very important trophy because it can give us confidence for our growth in view of the next matches."

Naturally, Ronaldo is not giving up on Juventus winning their 10th consecutive Serie A title just yet.

"Milan and Inter are very strong, but the season is still long, a lot of games are left and, yes, I think we can win," he added.

"The road is very difficult but I think it is possible."

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has earned a share of more history… or, at least, he might have.

It may sound cryptic but Ronaldo's latest remarkable goalscoring feat is sure to be a bone of contention.

The 35-year-old's effort in the 2-0 Supercoppa Italiana win over Napoli means he is now on 760 professional goals during his illustrious career.

That tally in some quarters matches the number accumulated by Josef Bican, who played internationally for Austria and Czechoslovakia between 1933 and 1949.

However, there are those – including FIFA's official website – who credit Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague legend Bican with scoring 805 goals in 530 matches, an astonishing 1.52 goals per game (FIFA also clarifies 805 is an 'estimated' number).

The discrepancy appears to centre around the fact that some historians include Bican's efforts for Rapid's second team, while others do not.

What is not up for dispute is the remarkable feats of either player and Ronaldo continues to reach new benchmarks as he approaches his 36th birthday.

Of his 760 goals, 311 were scored in LaLiga, while he has 134 in the Champions League and 84 in the Premier League.

Additionally, Ronaldo has a sensational 102 goals for Portugal and his 450 during nine years with Real Madrid is a Los Blancos record.

No club has been on the receiving end of Ronaldo's brilliance more than Sevilla, who have conceded 27 times to the former Manchester United star, with Atletico Madrid second on 25.

The most prolific season of Ronaldo's career was 2011-12 when he scored 69 times, the same amount he achieved in the calendar year of 2013.

Ronaldo has scored three goals in a game 46 times, while one on eight occasions he has celebrated four and twice five in a single game, and there are 57 direct free-kicks and 133 penalties to his name.

Could Harry Kane land in Paris?

With Kylian Mbappe tipped to join Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly eyeing replacements.

Mauricio Pochettino has a familiar face in mind…

 

TOP STORY – POCH WANTS KANE IF MBAPPE LEAVES

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane, according to El Chiringuito de Jugones.

That is if PSG star Kylian Mbappe leaves the Ligue 1 champions for LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

Pochettino coached Kane for five years at Tottenham before he was sacked by Spurs in November 2019.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sport Germany claims Bayern Munich star David Alaba will not decide on his future until he has spoken to Barcelona. Marca reported that Madrid had struck a deal to sign Alaba on a free transfer at the end of the season. However, Alaba is reportedly holding out for Barca as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and PSG try to lure the Austria international.

Martin Odegaard has asked to leave Madrid on loan due to his lack of game time, reports Marca and Diario AS.

Romelu Lukaku has no intention of leaving Inter for City, says Express Sport. Lukaku spent two years at United before moving to Italy in 2019. Pep Guardiola's City have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland amid doubts over Sergio Aguero's future.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Manchester City defender Eric Garcia could join Barca this month or at the end of the season.

Milan are eyeing Barca's Junior Firpo on loan, while Serie A rivals Napoli are also interested, according to Calciomercato.

- Eurosport reports Tottenham are looking to prise Danny Ings away from Southampton. Ings is reportedly stalling on a new contract as he eyes a Champions League club.

Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca said the club will discuss the error made in the Coppa Italia upset against Spezia after the club used six substitutes.

Spezia shocked Roma 4-2 after extra time in the Italian capital, where Fonseca's side capitulated and sensationally made one substitution too many in the last 16 on Tuesday.

Roma would have been eliminated by default even if they won at home to Spezia after Fonseca introduced Ibanez for Pedro in extra time, having already made five changes to his line-up.

Fonseca's Roma believed they could use six substitutes – an additional change in extra time as seen in cup competitions – but that was not the case in the Coppa Italia.

Asked about the mistake at Stadio Olimpico, under-fire boss Fonseca – who oversaw a humiliating 3-0 derby loss to Lazio in Serie A on Friday – said post-match: "If there is an issue, we have time to discuss that internally. If there is."

Fonseca was looking to bolster his defence after centre-back Gianluca Mancini was shown a second yellow card in the 91st minute, and goalkeeper Pau Lopez saw red just seconds later.

With Roma down to nine men, Spezia capitalised on their numerical advantage as Riccardo Saponara and Daniele Verde struck in extra time.

Roma had rallied from 2-0 down inside 15 minutes to force extra time via Lorenzo Pellegrini's 43rd-minute penalty and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's fine finish with 17 minutes remaining.

Hosts Roma conceded two goals during the first 15 minutes of play, in all competitions, for the first time since January 2020 as they were eliminated in the Coppa Italia round of 16 for just the third time in the last 20 seasons – twice against Spezia.

It was also the first time since 2015-16 that Roma played extra time in the Coppa Italia.

"We had a bad start to the game; the penalty, and then another moment that's hard to really understand," Fonseca said. "But the team responded, they played well, they created chances and it could have been a different result.

"We missed so many chances and so then, with two men sent off, it all became much harder."

"It's a tough moment. We wanted to go further in the cup, but I can't say anything bad about the attitude of the players. We have to now focus on the next game," Fonseca continued.

Pressure is mounting on Fonseca, who was appointed in 2019, but the Portuguese tactician said: "My future has been up for discussion ever since I got here. I am encouraged by the position we have in the league right now – it's where we want to be – and I have confidence in my team. But when we don't win I am always being discussed. I have to stay focused on my job."

Roma – winless in three matches across all competitions having conceded nine goals – are fourth in Serie A, nine points behind leaders Milan through 18 games.

Lionel Messi is free to negotiate a move to clubs outside LaLiga and Juan Sebastian Veron thinks Javier Zanetti will be key to Inter's hopes of signing the Barcelona superstar.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi is in the final six months of his contract at Camp Nou, having failed to engineer a move away during the close season.

The 33-year-old has long been linked with a switch to Serie A giants Inter, where his former Argentina team-mate Zanetti – the Albiceleste's most-capped player of all time – is vice-president.

Former Nerazzurri and Argentina midfielder Veron does not expect Messi to be at Inter next season, but believes it will be down to Zanetti if he does complete a move to San Siro.

"I don't think he can go to Italy. If he will, it is because of Javier Zanetti, who knows him and will try to talk to him, making him feel important again and to explaining the future projects of the club," Veron told Stats Perform News.

"At the end of the day it is purely Messi's decision. But if Inter want to make an attempt, they have to use seduction and get to his heart to draw him near. 

"I don't know how many more years Messi wants to play at this level, but if you want to sign him, Inter have to make Messi their flagship and make clear they want to be at the top level."

After a 2-0 victory over Juventus on Sunday, Inter sit second in Serie A three points behind leaders Milan.

Antonio Conte's side have not been lacking in attack this term, though, with Romelu Lukaku (12 goals, three assists) and Lautaro Martinez (nine goals, three assists) developing a potent partnership in the league.

No forward in Serie A to have played at least 10 games this season has had more Opta-defined 'big chances' than Lukaku, whose tally of 20 is only matched by Edin Dzeko and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Belgium international has the best conversion rate of the trio, scoring from 12 such openings for a 60 per cent success ratio. Ronaldo is second on 55 per cent, while Dzeko is third on 35 per cent.

Messi has scored 11 goals and assisted two more in LaLiga this term, while converting 58.3 per cent (seven out of 12) of his big chances.

The Barca captain's 35 key passes are only bettered by Iago Aspas (37), and his 100 attempts on goal in the Spanish top flight this season are almost twice as many as Karim Benzema (51) in second.

Mario Mandzukic has returned to Serie A by signing a contract with league leaders Milan.

Former Juventus striker Mandzukic has agreed a deal until the of the season with the Rossoneri, though it includes the option for a one-year extension.

The 34-year-old arrives on a free transfer after terminating his contract with Al-Duhail, having joined the Qatari club from Juve last year.

He will offer support to fellow veteran attacker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has scored 12 goals in eight Serie A appearances this term.

Speaking about Mandzukic after scoring a double in a 2-0 win over Cagliari on Monday, Ibrahimovic told Sky Sport Italia: "I'm happy we have two that scare our opponents."

Mandzukic made 162 appearances in all competitions across four and a half years with Juve, scoring 44 goals and setting up another 19.

His 48 goal involvements (31 scored, 17 assisted) in Serie A from the start of 2015-16 until the end of 2018-19 – the last season in which he featured – were only the joint-18th most in the league.

While he may not have been prolific he was an important part of a Juve side that won four straight Scudetti, three of which came as part of a domestic double with success in the Coppa Italia.

Mandzukic scored a memorable overhead kick in Juve's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in 2017 but lifted the trophy during two seasons at Bayern Munich, where he also won two Bundesliga titles and the Club World Cup.

Across the nine seasons in Europe's top five leagues he has previously featured in, which covers his stints with Juve, Bayern, Atletico Madrid and Wolfsburg, he has averaged a goal involvement every 140.1 minutes.

Milan are also expected to sign Fikayo Tomori on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season during the January transfer window.

Stefano Pioli said Zlatan Ibrahimovic exceeded expectations with his brace in Milan's 2-0 win over Cagliari on Monday.

Ibrahimovic scored a brace as Milan moved three points clear of rivals Inter atop Serie A.

The 39-year-old has found the net in nine successive starts for the first time in his career in Europe's top five leagues as he moved onto 12 Serie A goals in eight games this season.

Milan coach Pioli said Ibrahimovic performed above expectations, with his side closing out a win despite Alexis Saelemaekers' 74th-minute red card.

"Ibrahimovic is a champion in everything he does. Of course, now that he is back, we have more options and qualities," he told a news conference.

"The more choices and strong players we have, the more likely we are to win games.

"He still surprises me, but now I know him so well. We always expect him to give the maximum, and today he exceeded our expectations."

Ibrahimovic had the most shots (five) and shots on target (three) against Cagliari, while no player was involved in more duels (17).

Milan extended their unbeaten run away from home in Serie A to 16 matches, which equals their most in the three-points-per-win era (since 1994-95).

"We are happy with today's performance. It wasn't easy to play on such a difficult pitch like this one, facing an opponent with great qualities," Pioli said.

"We deserved the victory and now we will start focusing on the next important game on Saturday against Atalanta."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Mario Mandzukic will "scare" opponents like he does, with Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori also poised to join Serie A leaders Milan.

Ibrahimovic restored the Rossoneri's three-point lead over rivals Inter at the summit with both goals in Monday's 2-0 win at Cagliari.

And Milan are not resting on a position of strength, with their veteran top scorer under the impression a deal to bring in former Bayern Munich and Juventus forward Mandzukic on a free transfer is already done.

"Mario Mandzukic has signed his contract, he's joining AC Milan," Ibrahimovic told Sky Sport Italia.

"I'm happy we have two that scare our opponents."

Youth is set to join experience, with 23-year-old Chelsea defender Tomori on the verge of a loan switch to San Siro as he seeks regular first-team opportunities.

"We wanted Fikayo Tomori also last summer, he's always been one of our targets," Milan technical director Paolo Maldini said.

"He's perfect for our squad. We're working on the last details."

Ibrahimovic addressed Maldini directly after the game, saying a renewal of his own contract at Milan depended on his former team-mate.

The 39-year-old once again displayed evergreen form on his first league start since the end of November in Serie A, taking his tally to 12 goals in just eight Serie A appearances this term.

"Young people motivate me, they challenge me to see who runs more, I don't give up and show that I can run like them," he said.

“We are doing well, we are almost halfway through the season.

"Now the most difficult games are starting. It will be a very tough schedule, but with Mandzukic, [Monday debutant Soualiho] Meite, I don't know if more will arrive … more players available for the coach, they can help."

Asked whether he believed Milan could end Juventus' long reign as champions of Italy, Ibrahimovic inimitably replied: "I believe in me, in Zlatan."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to Milan's Serie A starting line-up with both goals in a 2-0 win at Cagliari that restored their three-point lead over Inter at the summit.

Antonio Conte's side pulled level with the Rossoneri thanks to their impressive victory over champions Juventus in Sunday's Derby d'Italia.

But Ibrahimovic is inspiring Milan's title bid with a prolific fervour and marked his first league start since November in style.

A seventh-minute penalty and a crisp half-volley early in the second period took the 39-year-old's tally to a remarkable 12 goals in just eight Serie A appearances this term.

Milan finished with 10 men as substitute Alexis Saelemaekers ludicrously collected two bookings within eight minutes of his 66th-minute introduction but fourth-bottom Cagliari could not avert a fifth straight Serie A loss.

Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos' future appears no closer to being sorted.

Ramos, 34, is out of contract at the end of the season and reportedly turned down a one-year deal from Madrid.

And the Spain international's future remains uncertain.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS, REAL MADRID NEGOTIATIONS AT A STANDSTILL

Negotiations between Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos are at a standstill, according to Le 10 Sport.

Amid the uncertainty over his future, Ramos has been linked with numerous European giants.

But Telefoot reported there had been no contact between Ramos and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Starting to find form again for Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho is set to be the subject of transfer speculation ahead of 2021-22. But Sky Sports reports talks about a move for the reported Manchester United target are unlikely in January, with an off-season switch possible.

- PSG seem keen to land Dele Alli in January. Fabrizio Romano claims the midfielder is pushing to join the Ligue 1 giants on loan and Mauricio Pochettino's PSG will not give up on a deal.

- Milan appear set to add depth to their squad. The Serie A leaders have agreed a deal with former Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, according to CalcioMercato.

- Staying at Milan and they are also reportedly set to land Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea. Romano says Tomori is set to join on loan with an option to buy for €30million (£26.7m).

Andrea Pirlo is not about to call time on Juventus' Serie A defence despite fuming at the way they ceded control to Inter in a damaging defeat on Sunday.

Juve are now seven points behind leaders Milan and Inter, and could fall 10 points off the pace if the Rossoneri win on Monday.

The Bianconeri lost 2-0 at Inter, who led through Arturo Vidal's header – one of 11 first-half efforts to Juve's three – and netted again seven minutes after the break as Nicolo Barella ran clear.

The midfield duo were outstanding, with ex-Juve man Vidal gaining possession nine times as well as having four shots, while Barella created the opener for his team-mate and had three key passes, playing a team-high 41 passes in the opposition half.

The Inter pair set a tempo that Juve, coach Pirlo acknowledged, simply did not match.

"We got the attitude wrong from the beginning," Pirlo told Sky Sport.

"When you don't have the anger and determination to try to win duels in these matches, it becomes difficult. We were too passive.

"It's a bad defeat; we didn't expect it. We couldn't have had a worse match than this one, but now we have to raise our heads because we will play a final on Wednesday [the Supercoppa Italiana against Napoli]."

The broadcaster suggested this was the angriest rookie coach Pirlo had been since his appointment, to which he replied: "Yes, because in these matches, you have to have the same desire and the same anger as the opposition in order to be on the same level.

"Then the qualities of the individuals can make the difference."

Despite his frustration at his players in Juve's first Serie A defeat to Inter in eight matches, Pirlo also accepted responsibility.

"The coach is always wrong first of all because it is he who gives the directions," he said.

"So I take my responsibility, because if the team did not do what we wanted, it means that they did not understand what we had to do."

Pirlo was a Juve substitute when Vidal's previous Serie A goal in 2015 clinched the Bianconeri's fourth straight title.

A further five consecutive championships have followed, but a 10th in a row looks tough now, even if Pirlo is not willing to give up hope.

"Our ambitions remain the same," he insisted. "It's a misstep against an important team, but in a long journey there happen to be these missteps."

Inter proved they have what it takes to maintain a serious title challenge this season by defeating reigning champions Juventus 2-0, according to Arturo Vidal.

Vidal opened the scoring against his former club at San Siro on Sunday, heading home a cross from Nicolo Barella to find the net in Serie A for the first time since his goal clinched the Scudetto for Juve in May 2015.

He became the first ex-Juve player to score for Inter in the Derby d'Italia since Christian Vieri in 2004 and the eighth player to score for both sides in the fixture.

Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku missed opportunities to add to Inter's tally but Barella made no mistake with an emphatic finish in the 52nd minute.

The Nerazzurri consequently claimed their first league win against Juve since September 2016 and their first with a clean sheet since April 2010.

Antonio Conte's side moved level with Serie A leaders Milan on 40 points and opened up a seven-point advantage over the reigning champions.

Milan can restore their three-point cushion by beating Cagliari in their game in hand on Inter on Monday, but Vidal does not think Conte's men are going to fall away.

"It's important for me and for the team. It was a very difficult game against the best team in Italy," Vidal told Sky Sport Italia.

"I am glad to have scored my first goal for Inter, very happy. I think we proved that we are up to the task of fighting for the Scudetto.

"This gives us the confidence to keep pushing, to believe we can win the Scudetto, as we beat the strongest team over the past nine years. We believe that we can go all the way."

Ahead of kick-off, Vidal was seen kissing the Juve badge on Giorgio Chiellini's training top while the pair shared a hug. He then celebrated his goal in a muted fashion.

Conte led Juve to three straight Serie A titles to start their ongoing period of dominance and finally got his first league victory over them at the fourth attempt.

Despite Inter coming out on top and Juve being seven points adrift, Conte still believes the Bianconeri are the team to beat in the race for the title.

"In order to beat a team like Juventus, which for all the Italian clubs are the reference point, we have to put in a great performance. We did that," said Conte.

"We prepared well and it's satisfying to see that we were right about the things we thought could hurt Juventus. The lads followed the plan perfectly and I am very happy for them because these are games that must give you self-belief, let you understand you are on the right path.

"We already saw the fruits of this process last season and we are continuing to see them this term. Juventus were an important reference point, a side that dominated Serie A for nine years, having done exceptional work both on the field and as a club.

"I still maintain Juve have a gap not just from Inter, but all the other clubs, but we are working to close the gap."

In what appeared to be a dig at his club, Conte added: "If people think we are the favourites now, imagine if we'd been able to work in the transfer market in August. We'd be massive favourites!"

If Juventus are "a benchmark" and "a reference point", as Antonio Conte suggested pre-match, the Inter head coach can now feel much more positive about his side's Scudetto hopes after a superb 2-0 win.

Conte, formerly the main man in Turin, had good reason to be pessimistic even as the Nerazzurri entered the Derby d'Italia four points ahead of the champions.

Juve were the only Serie A opponents against whom Conte possessed an 100 per cent losing record, beaten in each of his prior three matches against his former club.

And Inter's misery in this fixture extended beyond the start of Conte's reign, going seven without a win as Juve used meetings with the Nerazzurri to consolidate their domestic dominance.

Indeed, there was little reason heading into this match to doubt Juve's credentials, with Andrea Pirlo's side seemingly building up a head of steam in his rookie season.

The Bianconeri had followed up a shock December defeat at home to Fiorentina with four straight successes in all competitions, scoring 13 times in the process.

Among those victories was a deserved triumph at league leaders Milan. Juve had not won at both Milan and Inter in the first half of a Serie A season in 80 years; they now had the opportunity to do so in consecutive away games.

But preparations were not ideal. Cristiano Ronaldo, like opposite number Romelu Lukaku, had not been able to enjoy the week of rest he had set aside, instead called from the bench in a midweek Coppa Italia tie and forced to see out extra time.

Ronaldo played on the fringes at San Siro, his most notable involvement an 11th-minute tap-in ruled out for offside, with the clash between two of Serie A's foremost scorers not panning out as many would have imagined.

Lukaku was as influential as ever in the Inter attack, running Giorgio Chiellini ragged as he contested 15 duels, winning nine, earned three fouls and conceded two, and created three chances.

There was no goal for the forward, though, as the game was decided in the midfield, where Inter were even more impressive, setting the tone right from the outset.

Marcelo Brozovic anchored the side, Nicolo Barella buzzed all over the pitch, and Arturo Vidal - the subject of a clip on social media that appeared to show him kissing the badge of former club Juve pre-match - made clear where his loyalties now lie.

Conte had failed to offer an explanation for some slow starts so far this season but certainly had no need to worry about that issue on this occasion. By half-time, Inter's only concern could have been their failure to add to a lead secured by Vidal.

The midfielder, whose previous Serie A goal back in 2015 had won Juve the title, spread the ball wide to Barella moments after Ronaldo's disallowed goal and then ran onto the subsequent cross, towering over Danilo to nod beyond Wojciech Szczesny and offer a muted celebration.

That was one of 11 first-half Inter efforts, their joint-high this season. Juve mustered just three before the break, a joint-low for them.

But this unpredictable Inter side had led 4-1 and trailed 2-0 respectively on the previous two occasions they had attempted 11 shots in the opening 45 minutes this term.

Juan Sebastian Veron, a former Inter star, told Stats Perform News prior to this game the Nerazzurri would "need to be decisive". Despite the opener, they were anything but.

Vidal's wait for his next Serie A strike should have lasted only three minutes, but he blazed over. Then so too did Lautaro Martinez after Szczesny saved from Lukaku.

Martinez shot wide and Szczesny again denied Lukaku, before scrambling to retrieve Barella's deflected drive. A one-goal first-half deficit felt like an escape for Juve.

But if the Bianconeri were going to make their hosts pay, a swifter start to the second period would have to follow.

Instead, Inter scored with their very first shot after the break and finally the game was beyond Juve. A slipping Alessandro Bastoni's low, long pass somehow tore a gaping hole through the visiting defence and Barella, a deserving scorer, held off Chiellini and Gianluca Frabotta to finish high into the net.

Rather than call on Weston McKennie and Dejan Kulusevski to build on an advantage, as against Milan, Pirlo turned to the pair in a desperate, failed rescue bid.

Juve still had 32 minutes to forge a response after reinforcements arrived, but one strong Samir Handanovic save from Federico Chiesa was all they had to show for a period of pressure.

Inter could have added further goals on the counter yet will worry not. Indecisive, perhaps, Conte's side ended the weekend level on points with Milan. It is now for Pirlo and Juve, seven points back, to rise to this benchmark.

Inter dealt a blow to Juventus' Serie A title defence and moved level on points with leaders Milan by securing a 2-0 victory at San Siro on Sunday.

Former Juve midfielder Arturo Vidal opened his Inter account with a 12th-minute header and Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku wasted chances to increase the Nerazzurri's lead.

The Bianconeri were unable to make the most of those reprieves as an emphatic finish at the end of a route-one move saw Nicolo Barella double Inter's advantage.

It was enough to give Antonio Conte a first Serie A win against Juve – the club he led to three straight Scudetti at the start of their ongoing run of dominance – and move the hosts level with Milan, who play their game in hand against Cagliari on Monday.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal correctly ruled out for offside but there was no doubt about Vidal's opener a minute later, as the Chile international rose above Danilo to nod Barella's delivery into the left corner.

Martinez should have doubled Inter's lead in the 23rd minute when he blazed over with the goal gaping after Wojciech Szczesny parried Lukaku's shot straight to him.

Striker Martinez again failed to hit the target with his next opening, while Lukaku placed an effort from Barella's cutback too close to Szczesny before half-time.

Inter finally had a second goal in the 52nd minute, Barella surging into a huge gap in the Juve defence and firing Alessandro Bastoni's ambitious pass into the roof of the net.

Andrea Pirlo responded by sending on Dejan Kulusevski, Federico Bernardeschi and Weston McKennie but Federico Chiesa had their best effort in the 87th minute.

Samir Handanovic kept out Chiesa's powerful drive with a superb reaction as Inter held on for an important victory.

What does it mean? Juve with ground to make up

Juve would have closed to within a point of Inter if they triumphed at San Siro, and they would have still had a game in hand on Conte's men and Milan.

However, they missed their chance to make up ground and are now seven points adrift of Inter.

They will find themselves 10 points off the top if Milan win on Monday, meaning winning their game in hand would still not put them firmly in the title picture.

Brilliant Barella

Italy international Barella put in a livewire performance against the reigning champions, creating a game-high three chances – including the assist for Vidal's goal – and producing an emphatic finish early in the second half. After managing one goal and four assists in Serie A last season, he has already scored twice and set up five more in the league in 2020-21.

Vidal sparks controversy

Pre-game footage showed Vidal embracing Giorgio Chiellini and kissing the Juve badge on his warm-up top. He may have followed it up by scoring his first Serie A goal since clinching the title for Juve in May 2015, but his muted celebrations led to much discussion about where his loyalties lie.

What's next?

Juve face Napoli in the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday, while Inter travel to Udinese in Serie A on Saturday.

Juan Sebastian Veron always doubts whether Inter can win a game and thinks they need to be more clinical like Juventus, who he never feels will lose.

Inter will leapfrog local rivals Milan and go top of Serie A on Sunday if they defeat Juve in a league game for the first time since September 2016, having drawn two and lost five of their past seven matches.

Andrea Pirlo's side sit four points behind the Nerazzurri but possess a game in hand, so following up their victory over Milan in their previous away league game would put them firmly back in the title race.

However, they have not beaten both Inter and Milan away from home in the first half of a Serie A season since 1930-31.

Former Inter midfielder Veron acknowledged that Juve are not playing at the same level that has seen them win nine straight Scudetti, but he believes they still have a killer edge that is missing in Antonio Conte's team.

"I follow Juve a little bit. I follow Inter more. Juventus must find again what they got in the past years. They felt unbeatable," Veron told Stats Perform News.

"Keeping the same level for many years is very hard. Juve did it. Perhaps this year things haven't gone as they wanted.

"On the other side, Inter have responsibilities. They are looking for the best way to be a great team again. It's not easy. They must find consistency in their results and their football. They must play in the right way.

"When you watch Juve, you know they will win. When you watch Inter, you know it's 50-50. They need to be decisive to gain results."

He added: "For me, the first thing about this match is the morale boost it can mean. That's for sure. After that, you play for points that are important as well.

"But [for Inter] being able to win after a long time would be, for a team who needs victories, important for the title race. For me, it's the most important thing for them."

Veron won the 2005-06 Serie A title - awarded due to Juve's involvement in the Calciopoli scandal - and the Coppa Italia twice during his two seasons on loan at Inter from Chelsea, but the club have not lifted any silverware since 2010-11.

Conte has come under pressure after failing to end that wait in his first campaign at the helm and Veron thinks the coach could use some stronger personalities in his squad.

"It is normal that [Conte] feels pressure from fans who want to win. The club signed stronger players, but it is not so easy to be consistent. You must gain results to get the right winning mentality," said Veron.

"Perhaps they need a player with a strong personality. You asked me for some names [from Inter's past for today], I could have told you three or 10. But today's football is different because of the money.

"It depends on clubs' strategies. In clubs like Inter you need to be used to pressure. In the end, the solution is to build the right team able to handle the pressure. But it takes time."

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