Juventus' defender from Italy Andrea Barzagli (L) fights for the ball Inter Milan's forward from Argentina Mauro Icardi.

OLIVIER MORIN Getty

Inter Milan missed a chance to reclaim top spot in Serie A after a goalless draw with Juventus in Sunday's derby d'Italia.

In a hard-fought encounter at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium, the Nerazzurri almost broke the deadlock in the 27th minute but Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon tipped Marcelo Brozovic's curled effort onto the crossbar.

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Juve also were denied by the woodwork in the 69th minute when Sami Khedira's right-footed shot beat Inter Milan keeper Samir Handanovic but rattled the left post.

The outcome in Milan has left Inter in third place, level on 17 points with second-place Roma.

They are one point adrift of league leaders Fiorentina, who lost 2-1 at Napoli earlier on Sunday.

Juve, meanwhile, have dropped to 14th in the standings with nine points from eight games.

The Nerazzurri, who had failed to beat Juve at the San Siro in their previous five matches, were bolstered by the return of their top scorer Stevan Jovetic from injury.

Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata were included in Juve's starting XI despite both players sustaining minor injuries recently while on international duty with France and Spain, respectively.

The visitors had the first chance of the game in the fourth minute when Juan Cuadrado surged into the area and drilled a right-footed shot which was kept out by Handanovic.

Shortly after, Jovetic's powerful free-kick went just wide of the far post.

Inter continued to press forward and in the 26th minute, Jeison Murillo spotted Mauro Icardi in the box and his shot was blocked by Giorgio Chiellini.

Three minutes later and the hosts almost broke the deadlock but Buffon deflected Brozovic's right-footed shot from outside the area towards the crossbar.

At the other end, Jovetic's free-kick went wide before Leonardo Bonucci's header from Cuadrado's corner-kick was saved by Handanovic on the stroke of half-time.

Juve started the second half strongly and two minutes after the restart, Cuadrado got past his marker and struck a right-footed shot from the edge of the area that went wide.

The home side struggled to break Juve's well-placed defence and were limited to long-range shooting.

In the 59th minute, Jovetic's powerful drive from 25 yards was kept out by Buffon and seconds later, Pogba's bullet strike from outside the area was saved by Handanovic.

Juve almost went in front 10 minutes later when Morata set up an unmarked Khedira in the box and his right-footed attempt beat Handanovic but struck the post.

Mario Mandzukic came on in place of Morata in the 71st minute and had a good chance to score two minutes from time - however, the Croatian forward failed to control a cross from Cuadrado and the opportunity went begging.

Inter visit Palermo next while Juve host Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League in midweek before taking on Atalanta in Turin in Serie A.