Juventus maintained their unbeaten record in Serie A this season with a 2-0 win over Inter Milan which takes them back to within four points of AC Milan at the top of the Serie A table.
Martin Caceres and Alessandro Del Piero scored the goals for the Bianconeri, who moved 15 points clear of their bitter rivals in the process. Inter's 12th defeat of the season leaves them in seventh place in the table, behind Catania and seven points away from a place in Europe next season, which is beginning to look increasingly unlikely for the 2010 UEFA Champions League winners.
The derby d'Italia proved a thrilling encounter, while the contrasting form of both teams made the stakes high at the Juventus Stadium. The fact that former Juve coach Claudio Ranieri was sitting on the Inter bench was another ingredient and, fittingly, the show on the field lived up to the expectations with both sides showing a willingness to attack.
"It was a special match because historically it's also a particular game," said goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who made a number of crucial stops in the first half. "On top of that we still had the hope of making life difficult for those above us. Obviously if we hadn't won we'd probably have been finished. That way we had an extra stimulus to finish the season well."
The home side made their first break for goal in the third minute, but Alessandro Matri was unable to make anything of the chance after Julio Cesar pushed Simone Pepe's cross out to him.
Inter responded with a break of their own in the 14th minute, but Gianluigi Buffon denied Diego Milito. Julio Cesar did not want to be outdone at the other end as he kept out a Matri header with a reflex save.
Milito got two bites of the cherry in the 32nd minute, but he was first denied by Buffon before hitting over. Only the customary yellow cards were missing from an exciting encounter, but Yuti Nagatomo changed that as his became the first name to go into the book after 34 minutes.
Antonio Conte made two changes early in the second half, first bringing Leonardo Bonucci on for Pepe, much to the home fans' disapproval, but then sent Del Piero on for Matri. Only three minutes later, Juve were in front.
Andrea Pirlo's corner was met by Caceres, who was left all alone to head past Julio Cesar. Del Piero's impact on the game became even more tangible when he set up Mirko Vucinic, who was denied by Julio Cesar in the 70th minute.
The Juve captain then doubled their lead with a shot into the far corner from Arturo Vidal's assist. Maicon saved Inter from further damage ten minutes from time when he made a sliding tackle to deny Fabio Quagliarella from close range, while Julio Cesar made two more spectacular saves to deny Giorgio Chiellini and Quagliarella as Juve threatened to run away with the game.