Czech full-back Zdenek Grygera scored a dramatic injury-time equaliser to earn ten-man Juventus a 1-1 draw at home to leaders Inter Milan at Turin's Stadio Olimpico on Saturday. The draw did nothing to help second-placed Juve's slim titles hopes as Inter maintained their ten-point lead with just six matches remaining.
Teenage striker Mario Balotelli gave Inter the lead on 64 minutes but despite Thiago's sending off, Grygera headed home a last-gasp corner to restore battling Juve's pride. Balotelli could have put the leaders ahead on ten minutes but after turning Juve's centre-backs inside out and capitalising on Nicola Legrottaglie's slip, his shot squirmed under Gianluigi Buffon only for Thiago to race back to make a last gasp clearance off the line.
However, that was as good as it got until just before the half hour mark when Juve's Pavel Nedved slipped a pass to Vincenzo Iaquinta, only for Walter Samuel to race across and put in a vital block to deflect the ball behind for a corner. Juventus suddenly stepped up a gear and on 31 minutes Alessandro Del Piero's free-kick fell to the unmarked Grygera at the back post but from eight yards out he skied the ball into the upper tiers of the stadium.
Moments later Marco Marchionni got through but Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar came rushing out and blocked the midfielder's chip. The game finally got the goal it needed on 64 minutes as Inter hit Juve with a rapier counter-attack. From a Juve corner Zlatan Ibrahimovic played a one-two with Dejan Stankovic before releasing the scampering Sulley Muntari down the left and the Ghana midfielder crossed first time to Balotelli who finished with aplomb.
The hosts tried to hit straight back but Ivan Cordoba threw himself at Del Piero's volley and blocked the danger. Thiago then let his frustrations get the better of him on 76 minutes when Muntari and Balotelli were playing keep ball by the touchline. The Portuguese midfielder decided he had had enough and kicked the two Inter players in quick succession before receiving a straight red card, but with the clock ticking down Juve piled forward for a corner and Grygera rose six yards out to head in Sebastian Giovinco's cross.
In the day's other game, Argentina international striker Mauro Zarate scored the only goal as Lazio put a dent in Genoa's UEFA Champions League bid with a 1-0 away win. Genoa still hold fourth spot in Serie A, the last position which earns a place in the Champions League, but Fiorentina can overtake them if they beat Udinese on Sunday.
Zarate's 65th minute winner, on the counter-attack, kept alive Lazio's slim hopes of reaching next season's UEFA Cup as it moved them up to seventh, one place bellow city rivals AS Roma. Genoa could have closed to within a point of third-placed AC Milan with a victory but in suffering only their second home defeat of the season will now be looking anxiously over their shoulders instead of aiming at those ahead.