Juventus Regain Top Spot In Serie A Playing In Chilling Atmosphere

Juve defeated Inter in an empty stadium to go one point clear of Lazio.

Juventus regained top spot in Serie A after defeating Inter Milan 2-0 at an empty Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Serie A resumed play this weekend despite ongoing concerns over the coronavirus, and scenes before the match showed players warming up in a surreal atmosphere.

Unfortunately for Cristiano Ronaldo, today marked his 1,000th professional appearance, but he marked the occasion in a fanless stadium.

It was a historic Derby D'Italia of record-low attendance. The league instructed players to refrain from shaking hands with each other in the tunnel, where players traditionally greet each other warmly before walking onto the field. During the coin flip, players and referees improvised, giving each other a thumbs up.

It was an odd instruction to follow, given the players were seen helping each other up after fouls and were in constant contact with each other throughout the game. 

Juventus, with a game in hand, looked to regain the top spot in Serie A after Lazio had defeated Bologna 2-0 back on Feb. 29.  

The match began with a lackluster start. The first half came to life with a header on goal from Matthijs de Ligt in the eighth minute. In the 15th, Ronaldo passed the ball off to Blaise Matuidi, who hit a great strike forcing Samir Handanovic to get low making a phenomenal save to his left. 

In the 22nd minute, Antonio Candreva was able to get a shot off, but it flew just above the crossbar. A layoff from Lautaro Martinez to Marcelo Brozovic for a shot on goal was the last noteworthy play of the opening 45, ending the half with a 0-0 score and 57% possession for Juventus.

On a more positive note, the second half began with more tempo as the players were probably overcoming the psychological shock of playing without fans.

The 54th minute saw an Aaron Ramsey goal as he pounced on a bad touch from Ronaldo.  Surely Ronaldo wanted to redo that sequence with another chance on goal.

Only 13 minutes later, Paulo Dybala solidified the lead with a deadly strike after a one-two with Ramsey and a deadly cut to the right, catching Ashley Cole flat-footed and sending him to the cleaners with a deft outside the boot shot to the back post side-netting.

Impressive considering Dybala came on as a sub only eight minutes beforehand. The phenomenal first touch from Dybala, receiving the ball from Bentancur who played it from the back, made the build-up to the goal all the more impressive. It was a first-class performance from the Argentine.

And for now, the table sees Juventus atop with 63 points to Lazio's second-place position of 62 points.

Videos you might like