x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Inter and Nedved both back in the old routine

Barely six days after Jose Mourinho incited a rage for his comments about referees, his team stirred controversy again.

Some habits die hard. Barely six days after Jose Mourinho incited a rage for his comments about referees, his team stirred controversy again. Less than a week after being upbraided by the authorities for outspokenness, Daniele De Rossi of Roma earned himself a red card for insulting a match official. And Pavel Nedved, the shy and now retiring Czech, further cemented a legend that has just over two months left to run, by setting up the winner in the Turin derby.

Nedved, the 36-year-old Juventus midfielder who announced 12 days ago that this would be his final season, came on as substitute with a quarter of the match left to play against Torino on Saturday, and with a precise free-kick, picked out the leap of Giorgio Chiellini. The central defender's header was powerful enough to seal a late 1-0 win to keep Juventus in second place in the Serie A table, seven points behind Inter.

The league leaders had earlier bounced back to form, winning 2-0 away at Genoa. Inter, having conceded six goals in two outings in the previous week, took an early lead through Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who chased a long ball from Dejan Stankovic clear of Genoa's back three and scored his first goal for a month. There was hardly a minute and a half on the clock. Mourinho then drew superfluous attention to himself by marching across the pitch after he had emerged late from the half-time interval. The Inter coach did have some concerns to see to at the break. Both his central defenders, Marco Materazzi and Nicola Burdisso, had withdrawn with injuries, a pressing problem ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Manchester United.

Mario Balotelli, in a run of good goalscoring form and subject to some controversies of his own following his comments and gestures towards Roma players at San Siro six days earlier, scored Inter's second just after the hour. Like the penalty Balotelli earned against Roma, it was disputed, slow-motion replays suggesting the ball had not crossed the Genoa goal-line. ihawkey@thenational.ae