Seventh heaven for Inter against Atalanta

Captain Icardi nets a hat-trick in 7-1 rout of Atalanta

ROME—Inter Milan comfortably despatched fellow high-fliers Atalanta 7-1 at the San Siro to boost their chances of qualifying for the Champions League. Both Mauro Icardi and Ever Banega scored hat-tricks as the home side leapfrogged their opponents to jump into fourth place.

The Nerazzurri raced to a 5-0 lead after just 35 minutes when Banega netted twice in quick succession. The Argentine’s goals came after captain Icardi had already completed his hat-trick on 26 minutes.  Remo Frueller pulled one back for the visitors before the break but two second half Inter goals completed the humiliating 7-1 rout.

Elsewhere there was joy for Roma as they cruised past relegation threatened Palermo 3-0 at the Stadio Renzo Barbera.  Stephan El Shaarawy, Edin Dzeko and Bruno Peres all scored to keep their side’s faint title hopes alive. The Giallorossi will need an almost flawless finish to their campaign if they are to catch leaders Juventus.

The reigning champions were in action on Friday as Paolo Dybala’s stoppage-time penalty snatched them a victory against AC Milan. The Rossoneri came to the Juventus stadium desperate to cause an upset. Despite a fantastic performance from 18 year-old Milan keeper, Gianluigi Donnarumma, the leaders successfully extended their lead at the top of the table. The young Italian had sustained a barrage on his goal for the majority of the game, but when Mattia De Sciglio was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area, Dybala stepped up to break Milan hearts and send his fans into raptures.

Napoli bounced back from their midweek exit from the Champions League to beat second-bottom Crotone 3-0.  The home side dominated the game, holding 81% of possession, as Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens converted a penalty each before Insigne added a third to consign the visitors to their twentieth defeat of the season.

Croatian Nikola Kalinic scored in the dying embers as Fiorentina beat Cagliari 1-0. The win keeps the hosts in eighth place as they look to mount a charge for Europa League qualification.

Chievo cruised past Empoli 4-0 as goals from Roberto Inglese, Sergio Pellissier, Valter Birra and Bostjan Cesar secured an emphatic victory. Empoli sit one place above the relegation zone but have now lost their last 5 Serie A games.

Udinese completed a 1-3 victory against bottom of the table Pescara. The visitors lead 1-0 going into the second half after Duvan Zapata put them ahead on 20 minutes. Jakub Jankto and Cyril Thereau scored just after the break to put the result beyond doubt. Sulley Muntari’s consolation goal gave the home fans something to cheer but a return to the Serie B looks a certainty for the hosts.

Finally, Mattia Destro’s second half goal gave Bologna a 1-0 victory away at Sassuolo in a monotonous mid-table clash at the Città del Tricolore.