Juventus won a rain-soaked derby 2-0 at Torino on Sunday to put themselves on the brink of retaining the Serie A title, while AC Milan clung on to the UEFA Champions League playoff spot with a dramatic 4-2 win over Catania.
Milan scored three in the final 20 minutes to stay one point clear of ACF Fiorentina, 3-0 winners at UC Sampdoria, while the day’s action was marred by an injury to Inter captain Javier Zanetti and allegations Juve’s Paul Pogba was racially insulted.
Arturo Vidal hooked in from long range and Claudio Marchisio added another in stoppage-time for leaders Juventus, who stayed 11 points clear of SSC Napoli with four matches to play and can wrap up the title at home to US Citta di Palermo at the weekend.
After the game, Torino’s Riccardo Meggiorini denied suggestions of racism against French midfielder Pogba.
“There was an insult, but it wasn’t racist,” he said, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.
Giampaolo Pazzini scored twice in three minutes, while Mario Balotelli won and converted a penalty, his eighth goal since joining in January, as AC Milan twice came from behind against Catania at the San Siro in Milan.
Juan Cuadrado, Adem Ljajic and Alberto Aquilani shared the goals for Fiorentina, who were facing former coach Delio Rossi, sacked for punching Ljajic in a row during a game a year ago.
Inter’s injury misery continued as Zanetti, 39, was carried off on a stretcher in the 17th minute of the 1-0 defeat at Palermo, who boosted their hopes of avoiding the drop.
Coach Andrea Stramaccioni said the Argentine could have suffered an Achilles tendon injury, potentially sidelining him for eight months.
AS Roma forward Pablo Osvaldo produced the day’s best individual effort with a hat-trick in the 4-0 defeat of second-from-bottom AC Siena. Erik Lamela scored the other goal for fifth-placed Roma.
Juve, who have not conceded a goal in their past eight meetings with Torino in a run stretching back to 2001-2002, have been a model of consistency, not scoring more than two goals in a game during their current run of wins.
Sunday’s game was predictably niggly, with slippery conditions adding to the tension which boiled over with a red card for Torino’s Kamil Glik in the 90th minute for a second bookable offense.
The match was in danger of petering out until Chilean midfielder Vidal controlled a cross-field pass on his chest and nonchalantly swept home the ball from long range. Marchisio then took advantage of slack defending to complete the scoring.
Catania went ahead at the San Siro through Nicola Legrottaglie after half an hour and then survived a huge scramble in their area almost immediately afterwards.
Mathieu Flamini leveled on the stroke of halftime, only for Gonzalo Bergessio to stun the crowd again by putting Catania back in front with a cheeky lob in the 65th minute.
Pazzini came to the rescue, snapping up a rebound after Catania goalkeeper Alberto Frison failed to hold Balotelli’s shot in the 73rd minute and scoring another from close range three minutes later.
Balotelli, returning from a two-match suspension, completed the scoring.
Siena’s defeat at Roma sent them into the relegation zone.
Palermo are unbeaten in their past five games, with Ilicic scoring in all of them. He struck in the 10th minute after dreadful Inter defending when Matias Silvestre was dispossessed in the area by Fabrizio Miccoli, who laid the ball off for the Slovenian to score.
Also on Sunday, Genoa won 1-0 at AC Chievo Verona and the match between Parma and SS Lazio finished goalless.
Additional reporting by staff writer