MILAN - While treble winners Inter Milan scaled the heights last term, Juventus were plumbing the depths of despair but Sunday's balanced 0-0 draw suggested a renewed parity between the old rivals is not so far away.
A European Cup, Italian Cup and fifth successive scudetto for Inter in May compared markedly with Juve's slump down the table and exposed how wide the gap had become between the two most successful teams in Serie A history.
However, there was little to choose between the teams at the San Siro and both had good chances until tiredness won the day.
"The balance is good. We are concentrating more, we are helping each other more," new Juventus coach Luigi Del Neri told Sky after Inter dropped to second in Serie A after six games as Juve edged up to seventh.
"We contained Manchester's City's attack (1-1 in Thursday's Europa League game) and tonight we contained Inter's. It's a good omen for the future."
Juve, who were seventh last term and had a bad start this season despite big spending and a return to 4-4-2, are still suffering from their 2006 match-fixing demotion which destroyed the aura of near-invincibility they used to carry on to the pitch.
They also had their 2005 and 2006 titles stripped in the scandal, with the latter scudetto handed to Inter, a move which riles Juve fans given they think new evidence shows their rivals were implicated in the affair too and should lose the honour.
Inter vehemently deny wrongdoing but the Italian football federation has opened a new probe and animosity between the two sets of fans has risen from already tense levels.
Inter coach Rafael Benitez called for calm from supporters before kick-off and he largely got his wish, although his analysis of the match may annoy Juventus fans who thought they were worthy of a draw.
"We have been a bit unlucky," said the Spaniard, linked with the Juve job last term while still at Liverpool.
"I can be satisfied with the team, we could have won. We have three of four injured and when Goran Pandev, Javier Zanetti and Thiago Motta return, the situation will improve."comments