Juventus beats Inter Milan

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Juventus beat Inter Milan 2-1 on Sunday to stretch its lead to 12 points atop the Italian league.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:39 IST
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Substitute Alessandro Del Piero scored the winner with a curling free kick in the 85th minute, and Juventus beat Inter Milan 2-1 on Sunday to stretch its lead to 12 points atop the Italian league. With 13 matches left in the season, the Turin powerhouse has 66 points. Inter has 54 points to be equal second with AC Milan, which won 4-1 at Reggina to recover a six-point gap from Inter in four days. Juventus coach Fabio Capello said his team played a perfect match. "We could have been satisfied with a draw but we definitely played for victory,'' Capello said, adding, "We deserved it. Now we have a big lead but we can't slow down. The title run is not yet over.'' All the goals in this much-anticipated showdown at San Siro came in the second half after a lackluster first period. Sweden international Zlatan Ibrahimovic put Juventus in the lead in the 63rd minute, outpacing two Inter defenders and tapping in from close range a low cross from Mauro Camoranesi. Argentina defender Walter Samuel, who avoided a red card for an earlier foul on Ibrahimovic, equalized 11 minutes later with a powerful header off a corner kick. Samuel received a yellow card as Juventus players called for his ejection. Del Piero, coming on for the injured Ibrahimovic in the last 20 minutes, scored past Julio Cesar to earn Juventus its 21st - and possibly decisive - win in 25 matches. It was the 190th career goal for Del Piero with Juventus, who he joined in 1993. This season he has scored eight goals, most of them winners and often after coming off the bench. Inter, whose chances were hurt in the 35th when Argentina playmaker Juan Sebastian Veron had to abandon the match with an ankle injury, had a final chance in injury time. The left-footed free kick by Alvaro Recoba hit the post and Nicolas Burdisso missed the rebound to the despair of the Inter fans who dominated the sold-out crowd of 79,000. It was Inter's fifth loss of the season and the second straight after the 2-1 upset at Fiorentina last week. Ibrahimovic said it was an important win for Juventus, but ruled out any complacency in the team. (AP)