Serie A: Inter leapfrog AC Milan for top spot; Juventus fail to capitalize

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A roundup of the weekend’s results in Serie A, where Inter Milan finally passed AC Milan in the title race, and Juventus missed their best opportunity yet to close the gap and ramp up the pressure…

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Inter Milan 3-1 Lazio

After chasing their Milan rivals for the vast majority of the season, Inter Milan finally caught AC Milan and made their brilliant run of form (13W-4D-1L in their last 18 league games) pay off.

Romelu Lukaku pulled level with Cristiano Ronaldo (16 goals) in the Golden Boot race with a brace in Sunday’s win over Lazio. The big Belgian scored Inter’s first (from the penalty spot) and second goals on 22 and 45 minutes. Lazio hit back through Gonzalo Escalante right on the hour mark, but Lautaro Martinez restored the two-goal advantage with his 11th league goal just three minutes later.

Inter and AC Milan have, regrettably, already played twice this season with each side claiming a 2-1 victory.


Spezia 2-0 AC Milan

The main takeaway is undoubtedly that Milan were beaten and lost the top spot in the Serie A title race, but make no mistake — Spezia beat them, and they did so handily.

Giulio Maggiore slotted the ball into an empty net for the opening goal, but the move which preceded the finish was a thing of beauty. Spezia completed four passes inside the penalty area, the final of which found Maggiore all by his lonesome inside the six-yard box.

As good as the first goal was, goal no. 2 was lightyears better. With a free kick down the left side of Milan’s penalty area, Spezia elected to play the ball to the top of the box, where Simone Bastoni was waiting to have an almighty hit with his left foot. The ball traveled through a sea of bodies and swerved away from Gianluigi Donnarumma, who could do nothing about it, as it narrowly missed the inside of the post and rippled the inside netting.

Milan were out-shot 17-7 (4-0 on target) by the 13th-place side.


Napoli 1-0 Juventus

Juventus’s bid to complete their decade of dominance — 10 straight scudettos — took a serious blow on Saturday, before Milan had slipped up themselves. A win away to Napoli would have pulled Juve to within five points of first place, with a game still in hand. Instead, Andrea Pirlo’s side remains 4th in the table and trails Inter by eight points, still with the game in hand.

It goes without saying that the chance to cut their deficit to two points, rather than five, would have been hugely preferable.

Lorenzo Insigne converted from the penalty spot just after the half-hour mark, and Juventus couldn’t find their way through despite out-shooting Napoli by a margin of 24-8 (6-2 on target) and hogging more than 62 percent of possession.


Other Serie A results

Roma 3-0 Udinese
Cagliari 0-1 Atalanta
Bologna 1-1 Benevento
Torino 0-0 Genoa
Sampdoria 2-1 Fiorentina
Crotone 1-2 Sassuolo

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