Torino and Juventus played out a nervy Derby della Mole on Saturday evening, but it was the Italian champions who came out on top with a 1-0 victory and returned to the summit of Serie A.
The first half was a tense and cagey affair, with Matthijs de Ligt having the best opportunity, forcing a stunning save from Torino keeper Salvatore Sirigu.
The hosts were convinced that they should have been awarded an early penalty when De Ligt appeared to handle the ball from a cross, but the referee waved away any protests and the first 45 minutes remained goalless.
The two teams were proving impossible to separate until a well-worked second-half corner reached De Ligt in the six-yard box, and the young Dutchman fired home to cap a superb performance and to hand his team all three points.
Starting XI: Sirigu (8); Izzo (7), Bremer (7), Lyanco (6); Aina (7), Baselli (7), Rincon (7), Meite (7), Ansaldi (8); Verdi (7), Belotti (8)
Substitutes: Zaza (6), Lukic (6), Millico (N/A)
Key Talking Point
Despite Sarri’s desire to create a free-flowing style of football at Juventus, his side have struggled to carve out clear-cut chances in recent weeks. Saturday’s contest was no different, particularly during a stodgy first-half display.
Bianconeri looked disjointed, and whilst they pressed well from the front, their performance was still very sluggish in parts.
Sarri is known for his dynamic, high-risk high-reward style of football which he perfected during his time at Napoli, but Juve supporters are yet to see their team hit full stride.
Inter look set to push their rivals all the way in a title challenge this year and, while style is important to Sarri, results and success should be the priority during his debut season in Turin.
Starting XI: Szczesny (7); Cuadrado (7), Bonucci (8), De Ligt (9*), De Sciglio (7); Bentancur (7), Pjanic (8), Matuidi (7); Bernardeschi (6); Dybala (6), Ronaldo (7)
Substitutes: Higuain (7), Ramsey (6), Khedira (7)
STAR MAN – What a performance from this man tonight. It was a real coming of age for De Ligt, who has struggled to adapt to the demands of Serie A since his big-money move from Ajax this summer.
But the talented centre-back was immaculate in his defensive work on Saturday night, and came up with the vital goal to break the deadlock during a tense game.
De Ligt came under fire in the first half, as he appeared to handle the ball in the penalty area, but there was little he could do to avoid the ball and his arm was as tucked into his body as possible.
From that moment on, the Netherlands international grew in stature, putting in a commanding display against a bullish forward in Andrea Belotti, and the 20-year-old was in the right place at the right time to give his side the three points.
A night to remember for De Ligt.
Torino follow up their tough derby contest with a trip to newly-promoted Brescia on Saturday afternoon.
Juventus travel to Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday evening in an important Champions League clash, before Bianconeri host struggling Milan on Sunday.