Rome: Champions League semi-final hero Alvaro Morata struck late as Juventus snatched a 2-1 ‘Derby d’Italia’ win to compound Inter Milan’s bid for a place in next season’s Europa League.
Roberto Mancini’s under achievers welcomed the Turin giants to the San Siro looking for the three points that would have kept their European bid firmly on track.
But the Nerazzurri’s failure to overhaul what was a second-string Bianconeri side has left them in eighth position, two points behind Sampdoria in the last Europa League spot.
The only positive note for Inter came from Lazio’s 1-0 win away at Samp, meaning the Nerazzurri still have a slim chance to sneak into the top six.
Inter are away to Genoa and then host Empoli in their final two games while Samp are away to Empoli then host already-relegated Parma.
Morata, who levelled for Juve in a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid last week to secure a Champions League final spot against Barcelona in Berlin, hit the winner seven minutes from time after teammate Claudio Marchisio had struck from the spot to level Mauro Icardi’s early opener.
“I was a bit lucky, but that’s football,” said the Spaniard, who celebrated by donning a pair of dark sunglasses.
“The sunglasses were just there, I don’t know where they came from. (Leonardo) Bonucci handed them to me and I put them on!”
Inter coach Mancini said their Europa dream was virtually over.
“In terms of the Europa League we couldn’t afford to lose this game, but only results count in football and we didn’t produce the right one,” he said.
“You have to win by scoring goals and we just weren’t clinical enough.”
Inter started in positive fashion and took a ninth minute lead when Marcelo Brozovic’s drive came off the chest of Icardi to send second choice goalkeeper Marco Storari the wrong way.
It meant the Argentinian striker maintained his impressive record of scoring against Juventus in every game he has played against the Italian champions.
The hosts went on to create a number of chances in an entertaining first half but paid the price for a wayward Mateo Kovacic back pass which fell into the path of Juve striker Alessandro Matri.