Milan (AFP) – Manuel Locatelli’s 86th-minute goal grabbed Juventus a hard-fought 1-0 derby victory at Torino on Saturday as Massimiliano Allegri’s men made it three straight Serie A wins, while Edin Dzeko came off the bench to inspire Inter Milan past Sassuolo.
Visitors Juve were poor for the majority of the match but improved late on and Locatelli netted for the second time in as many league games to continue Juve’s recent resurgence.
Back-to-back victories in Serie A had got their season up and running after a nightmare start before a 1-0 Champions League win over holders Chelsea in midweek.
“The coach expects a lot from me and I am trying to do everything to improve,” Locatelli, a boyhood Juve fan, told DAZN. “It was tough today, Fede (Federico Chiesa) saw me and gave a great assist, it was a good goal.
“My dad and uncle always come to cheer me on. I have a whole family of Juventus supporters at home right now who are very happy.”
Allegri will also be delighted by a first league clean sheet of the campaign as his team moved up to eighth in the table.
He was brought back as coach to help regain the title Juve lost to Inter last term and those hopes have been revived by the strong recent run.
But the Turin giants do remain seven points behind early pace-setters Napoli, who visit Fiorentina on Sunday.
Allegri named a more attacking line-up than the one which edged out Chelsea, with Moise Kean returning to lead the line up front.
But Juventus were sluggish in the first half, failing to register a shot on target as Torino dominated possession.
Away goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had to make an excellent save from Rolando Mandragora to keep the match level at the break.
Juve started to pose more of a threat but Alex Sandro and Juan Cuadrado were both denied by Torino stopper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic.
Cuadrado had a strong penalty appeal waved away after being brought down by Tommaso Pobega just before the hour mark.
But Locatelli ensured that any controversy would not take the headlines, collecting Federico Chiesa’s pass with four minutes remaining and curling a fine low shot in off the far post from the edge of the box.
Dejan Kulusevski almost added a second in injury time, but slammed a low strike against the woodwork after a fine run.
That will not matter to Juve, though, as they extended their unbeaten run against their city rivals to 15 matches.
– Dzeko continues red-hot form –
Dzeko scored and won the match-winning penalty as Inter fought back to down Sassuolo 2-1.
The reigning champions are now only one point behind Napoli and moved a point clear of city rivals AC Milan into second place.
Domenico Berardi gave home side Sassuolo the lead from the penalty spot midway through the first half as Inter faced the prospect of slipping seven points behind Napoli this weekend.
But the game changed when Inter boss Simone Inzaghi made a quadruple change in the 57th minute, including bringing on Dzeko.
The Bosnian striker netted just a minute later, meeting Ivan Perisic’s cross with a diving header at the back post.
That goal took the veteran level with Ciro Immobile at the top of the league’s scoring charts on six, but he was not done there.
Dzeko got in behind and was adjudged to have been fouled by Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli, with Lautaro Martinez sending Consigli the wrong way from the spot to put Inter ahead with 12 minutes remaining.
Dzeko, who only managed seven Serie A goals for previous club Roma in the whole of last season, also had another effort ruled out for offside late on.
Earlier on Saturday, promoted Salernitana claimed their first Serie A win for 22 years as a 1-0 victory over Genoa took them off the foot of the table.
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