Inter take derby honours as Juventus suffer setback
ROME - Inter won an enthralling derby against arch-rivals AC Milan last week-end to ensure they earned bragging rights and reclaimed third spot in the Serie A. Inter went into the game off the back of some turbulent recent form. Dropped points against Fiorentina and Cagliari had seen lose pace with second-placed Napoli and allow to Milan leapfrog them in the league.
However, Luciano Spalletti’s men took no time in stamping their authority on the game as Matías Vecino turned in a Lautaro Martínez header from four yards out only three minutes in. Inter continued to dominate the game, and when Stefan de Vrij scored with a thundering header six minutes after the break, the three points looked to have been wrapped up.
Milan had other ideas, however, and on-loan midfielder Tiémoué Bakayoko brought the Rossoneri back into the contest with a header of his own soon after. Milan pushed for an equaliser, but some tired defending from Castillejo saw them concede a penalty which Martínez buried to add a goal to his earlier assist.
Mateo Musacchio did soon pull another goal back for Milan, and it took heroics from shot stopper Sami Handanović to keep out a Milan equaliser deep into injury time, but Inter clung on to take all three points.
The result means that have now won both Milan derby’s this season and will hope this result can spark a resurgence as they look to consolidate their provisional spot in next year’s Champions League.
Napoli ensured they maintained breathing space between them and the two Milan sides with a 4-2 win over Udinese, but the result was overshadowed by an injury to goalkeeper David Ospina that saw him rushed to hospital.
The Colombian international collided with Udinese forward Ignacio Pussetto early in the match, the latter accidentally catching Ospina’s head with his knee as he followed through on a shot that failed to break the deadlock.
Ospina received treatment and carried on, but collapsed just before half time with the scores level at 2-2, and was taken to hospital for further treatment and scans.
Carlo Ancelotti said after the game: “Fortunately it is nothing serious, he’s conscious. They did a CAT scan that is negative.”
Napoli had surged into an early lead through Amin Younes and Jose Callejón, but two quick goals from the away side following some lackadaisical defending from Napoli saw Udinese right back in it.
Eventually though Napoli’s class showed through as strikes from club top-scorer Arkadiusz Milik and then Dries Mertens saw them comfortably home.
Juventus suffered their first defeat of the campaign, losing 2-0 away at mid-table Genoa.
Juventus, who travelled without midweek hero Cristiano Ronaldo, were a far cry from the outfit that convincingly brushed aside Atletico Madrid this week. After a goalless first-half, Paolo Dybala thought he had an opener only for his effort to be ruled out for an offside in the build-up.
Genoa capitalised on this let-off and former Juventus man Stefano Sturaro put the hosts in front with a curled effort into the bottom corner. Goran Pandev then sealed the victory with nine minutes left to play.
Juventus will now have to wait just a little longer before they are crowned champions for the eighth successive season.
The fresh start that Roma hoped Claudio Ranieri’s tenure would bring has not yet materialised as they fell to a 2-1 defeat away at SPAL. Unconvincing in their midweek victory, Roma still have a lot of work to do in the coming weeks if they are to hold onto fifth place, let alone claim a Champions League spot.
Four first half goals, including a brace from Luis Alberto, were enough to see Lazio ease past Parma and keep their bid for European football next season very much alive. While Parma did grab a goal back through Mattia Sprocati courtesy of some very sloppy defending from the home side, this turned out to be no more than a consolation goal.
Sampdoria continued their good scoring record and put five past Sassuolo, including one for league top scorer Fabio Quagliarella in the first half, as they closed the gap on Torino in eighth to just two points.
Elsewhere, Atalanta could not beat a struggling Chievo team, drawing 1-1 at home. Empoli beat Frosinone 2-1 to stay just out of the relegation zone and above Bologna who also claimed all three points in their match away at Torino to keep their hopes of survival alive. Fiorentina continued to lose pace with the top sides as they fell to a 2-1 defeat away at Cagliari.