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Football: Juve spurn chance to go top in 1-1 draw at Inter

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Juventus spurned the chance to go top of Serie A on Saturday after missing several late chances in a 1-1 draw away to Inter Milan.

Inter, who endured a disappointing ninth place finish last season, grabbed a 73rd-minute opener through Mauro Icardi two minutes after the Argentinian had replaced Ricardo Alvarez.

However the Nerazzurri's bid to go top was halted in spectacular fashion when Arturo Vidal levelled only two minutes later and the hosts were lucky to escape with a share of the points as Juve missed three clear chances late in the match.

Inter, deploying a 3-5-1-1 with Rodrigo Palacio spearheading the attack just ahead of Alvarez, welcomed Diego Milito back after a seven-month injury lay-off.

However Inter coach Walter Mazzarri left the Argentinian on the bench for an encounter that most expected to be a bruising, tight affair.

Indeed, there were few real scoring opportunities in an opening period in which tight marking and counter-attacking seemed the order of the day.

Yuto Nagatomo almost claimed his third goal in as many matches on 13 minutes when he volleyed Paul Pogba's poor headed clearance but Gianluigi Buffon saved low at his right post.

Juve missed several free kick chances through Pirlo -- one in particular was punched to safety by 'keeper Samir Handanovic -- and had claims for a penalty waved away when Vidal was bundled to the ground.

Pogba, a constant threat for Inter deep in their end, spurned a great chance when he mis-hit Pirlo's long ball at Handanovic's near post.

And despite Mirko Vucinic then setting Vidal up on the right flank, the Chilean's cross for Carlos Tevez came up short.

Inter showed promise when Palacio broke on the right, but Nagatomo failed to connect with his fast-paced cross, and then Algerian Saphir Taider struck a promising chance into the side netting.

Juve coach Antonio Conte replaced Stephan Lichsteiner with Mauricio Isla for the second half after the Swiss picked up a booking, and the match moved up a gear.

Palacio tested Buffon with a close-range header from Taider's cross and then Vidal sent a low, angled drive wide of the post after chasing down Tevez's over-hit pass.

Fredy Guarin then shot across the bows from deep on the right only to see his shot sail just wide of Buffon's post.

Minutes later Mazzarri replaced Taider with Mauro Icardi, and it proved inspirational with the Argentinian latching on to a long through ball minutes later to beat Buffon with a well-taken right-foot shot.

Inter's joy lasted barely a minute, however.

Kwadwo Asamoah held off his marker to deliver for Vidal, who took two touches before sending his shot inside Handanovic's left-hand post.

Juve threatened to take the lead moments later when a Tevez effort from 18 metres out sailed inches past the upright.

And with minutes remaining Juve spurned another two chances for the winner.

Handanovic did well to dive and block Vidal's header from six yards out after Tevez's delivery deep on the left and Isla could only skew the rebound into the side-netting.

Pogba then just failed to make contact with Vidal's long floated free kick from close in as Handanovic collected.

jd/dj

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130914/football-juve-spurn-chance-go-top-1-1-draw-at-inter