Milan (AFP) – Juventus reclaimed top spot in Serie A on Sunday with a 2-0 win over 10-man Brescia but Lazio moved just a point behind into second after beating Inter Milan 2-1 in a clash between the title rivals in Rome.
Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado scored in either half as champions Juventus rediscovered their winning form at home.
Inter Milan drop from top spot to third, three points behind the champions, after falling to just their second defeat of the season.
Sparks flew at the Stadio Olimpico with Romelu Lukaku threating Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Straskosha early with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic rattling the bar.
But it was defender Ashley Young who broke through just before the break with his first Serie A goal for Inter Milan after his move from Manchester United.
The 34-year-old got his foot to tap-in off a rebound after Straskosha had cleared from former Lazio player Antonio Candreva.
A Stefan de Vrij foul on Ciro Immobile allowed the Serie A top scorer to slot in his 26th goal in 24 games this season, five minutes after the break.
Milinkovic-Savic snatched the winner after 69 minutes amid confusion in front of goal.
Inter’s Lautaro Martinez had a goal ruled offside after 78 minutes as the northerners suffered their second defeat after losing to Juventus in October.
Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio extended their unbeaten run to 19 games as they target their first Scudetto since 2000.
In Turin, Argentine forward Dybala curled in a perfect free kick six minutes before the break, shortly after Brescia’s Florian Aye was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession.
Colombian Cuadrado tapped in the second from close range after a Blaise Matuidi cross with 15 minutes to go, as the champions bounced back from last weekend’s shock defeat at Hellas Verona.
“We did what we had to do,” said Juve coach Maurizio Sarri, whose side had lost two of their previous three games.
Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for Sunday’s game in Turin, but veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini returned after a long injury layoff.
“Cristiano had to rest, he cannot play 75 games a year between the national team and club, we decided to let him recuperate,” said Sarri.
Sarri said 35-year-old skipper Chiellini had been desperate to get onto the pitch, after nearly six months off with a cruciate knee injury.
“Chiellini put himself on the pitch by himself,” said Sarri.
“He said it yesterday, he has made six months of sacrifices and wanted to play the last quarter of an hour, and I found myself next to him when he had already taken off his tracksuit.”
The champions did not have it all their own way against lowly Brescia, who stay second-from-bottom, seven points from safety after extending their winless run to nine games.
Enrico Alfonso went off after just 10 minutes following a knock to the head, with substitute Brescia keeper Lorenzo Andrenacci pulling off some fine saves.
In Sardinia, Napoli got back to winning ways with a Dries Mertens’ 65th-minute goal sealing a 1-0 success over Cagliari.
The Belgian completed a give-and-go with Elseid Hysaj with the ball curling in with a deflection off the post.
It was the 32-year-old’s 120th goal for Napoli, one short of Marek Hamsik’s all-time record, and five ahead of club legend Diego Maradona.
“Dries is a phenomenon, a champion who makes difficult things seem simple,” said coach Gennaro Gattuso.
Gattuso’s side overtake Calgiari, moving up to eighth, two points off the Europa League berths, as Cagliari drop to 11th place.
Hellas Verona missed the chance to close in on fifth-placed Roma, who fell 2-1 at Atalanta on Saturday, with a goalless draw at Udinese.
Verona, in sixth, occupy the final Europa League spot ahead of Parma on goal difference, but stay four points behind Roma.
Parma moved level on 35 points after winning at Sassuolo 1-0, with Ivorian Gervinho scoring the only goal after 25 minutes.
Fiorentina, in 13th, crushed struggling Sampdoria 5-1, with both teams playing the second half with ten men.
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