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Serie A: Inter hangs on, Koulibaly bags Napoli brace

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Inter struck twice in the opening half and hung on from there as they top Frosinone 2-1 for a critical boost in the Champions League race. Radja Nainggolan opened the scoring inside the opening 20 minutes, heading home a Danilo D’Ambrosio cross to put Inter one-up. They went 2-0 in front as Ivan Perisic finished from the spot after Raman Chibsah wrestled Milan Skriniar to the ground in the box.

Frosinone grabbed one back just past the hour mark as Francesco Cassata rifled a low shot from the top of the box that went off the hand of a diving Samir Handanovic, but Inter clung to its lead, finishing with 72% possession and an 18-12 shot advantage. The win pushes third-placed Inter to 60 points, five points above fourth-placed AC Milan in the last Champions League place.

Center-back Kalidou Koulibaly picked up a brace as Napoli moved seven points adrift in second place with six matches to go by beating Chievo Verona 3-1. The Senegalese international shook off a defender on his back to head home a corner in the 14th minute to open the scoring. Arkadiusz Milik doubled the lead just past the hour mark with a looper from outside the top of the box, and Koulibaly put the game away with nine minutes to go, again off a corner that was only partially cleared, blasting a left-footer into the back of the net. Chievo picked up a late consolation from Bostjan Cesar but that was all they could muster out of their four shots on target.

Simone Zaza scored on the doorstep and then was sent off as Torino drew nine-man Cagliari 1-1. Three total players were sent to the showers, including Zaza who put Torino in front in the 52nd minute before earning a key red 20 minutes later. His goal, the third league strike of his campaign, came off a rocketed baseline cross from Armando Izzo, and thanks to the power on the cross, Zaza just had to make contact from five yards out to redirect it into the back of the net.

The 27-year-old was then sent off for what appeared to be dissent after an innocuous foul. The moment was key, as Leonardo Pavoletti used the man advantage to bring Cagliari back level just two minutes later with a header. While the goal was initially ruled out for offside, VAR confirmed it as a legal score. While Cagliari saw two men sent off from there, both for second yellow cards, the match ended level, a big blow for Torino in the chase for a European position as the point pushed them two back of sixth-placed Atalanta who still has yet to play.

36-year-old Fabio Quagliarella played provider and finisher as Sampdoria topped Genoa at home 2-0 to slide into ninth place, four points back of a European place. Gregoire Defrel put the hosts up for good in just the third minute, sliding in to poke home a baseline cross from Quagliarella. The captain then scored himself in the 53rd minute, striking from the penalty spot after Davide Biraschi was sent off for a handball in the box as the ball bounced up and hit his outstretched arm.

Fiorentina whipped off 15 shots to Bologna’s four, but neither side could find the back of the net as it finished 0-0 at Artemio Franchi Stadium. The disappointing season for Fiorentina continued, remaining in 10th on 40 points, eight back of ninth-placed Sampdoria.

Sassuolo and Parma also drew 0-0 as both sides stayed put in the bottom half of the table. Sassuolo dominated the match, holding 72% possession and ripping off 20 shots to just three for the visitors.

Salah leads Liverpool to crucial win against Chelsea (video)

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  • Liverpool go top of the table
  • Mane, Salah both score
  • Hazard hits post, misses key chances

Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Anfield on Sunday as Jurgen Klopp‘s took another huge stride towards winning their first-ever Premier League title.

In an even game, Sadio Mane put Liverpool ahead in the second half and moments later Mohamed Salah scored a Goal of the Season contender from distance to seal the win. Eden Hazard missed two glorious chances after that, but Liverpool held on for victory.

With the win Liverpool move two points clear at the top of the table on 85 points, although they have played a game more than second-place Man City. Chelsea remain on 66 points in fourth place, but their hopes of finishing in the top four took a hit.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Liverpool started brightly and Mane whipped in a cross which found Salah at the back post, but his shot on goal was saved by Kepa.

Hazard was caught by both Fabinho and Joel Matip early on and forced Alisson into a low save, while Naby Keita pushed an effort towards danger but Kepa again saved comfortably.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Jordan Henderson‘s shot deflected off David Luiz and looped over as Liverpool pushed hard for an opener in the first half. Willian broke free on the counter and smashed a shot just wide as the game opened up at the end of the half.

Mane then curled a shot wide after Salah surged into the box, while Chelsea lost key defender Antonio Rudiger through injury as the German international couldn’t recover from an early knock.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Liverpool started the second half well and went ahead after Jordan Henderson dinked a cross to the back post which Mane nodded home. Anfield went wild as the home side were worthy of their 1-0 lead.

There was just two minutes and 22 seconds to wait for the next goal, and Salah scored a simply amazing goal. The Egyptian winger cut in from the right and smashed an unstoppable effort into the far top corner which sparked pandemonium at Anfield.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Roberto Firmino then flashed a shot wide and Hazard then had two glorious chances to pull a goal back for Chelsea. The Belgian forward was clean through on goal and beat Alisson, but his shot hit the post, and moments later Alisson denied his scuffed effort and then Cesar Azpilicueta broke free but his cutback couldn’t find a host teammates in the box.

Liverpool settled themselves down late in the game to hold on for the win, as Klopp’s men moved back to the top of the table and handled their biggest remaining test comfortably.

Chelsea bash Brighton and Hove Albion (video)

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  • Hazard, Loftus-Cheek score beauties
  • Loftus-Cheek adds assist
  • Hudson-Odoi lively, gets assist in first PL start

Ruben Loftus-Cheek had a goal and an assist as Chelsea clobbered Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge.

Callum Hudson-Odoi had an assist in his first Premier League start, while Olivier Giroud and Eden Hazard also scored.

Chelsea rises fifth with 63 points, level with fourth place Arsenal and a point back of Spurs. Manchester United has 61.

Brighton has 33 points, five points clear of the drop zone.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Hudson-Odoi was making his first start and saw his bid for an opener deflected over the bar.

He also nearly played set-up man, but a cross was headed high by Cesar Azpilicueta.

Giroud was the goal scorer, however, getting his 78th Premier League goal by popping a Hudson-Odoi-produced chance past Mat Ryan.

The 38th minute goal came on Chelsea’s 10th attempt to Brighton’s one.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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Hazard buttressed Chelsea’s advantage at the hour mark, taking a pass from Loftus-Cheek and skewering Lewis Dunk before curling home.

Loftus-Cheek got a goal of his own moments later from almost the same distance as Hazard. Cruising.

VIDEO: Carragher gives linesman relief with VR display of Chelsea equalizer

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Jamie Carragher may have not meant to do it, but the longtime Liverpool man successfully argued the case for Video Assistant Referee on Monday.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Carragher used the VAR without the A — virtual reality — to show why the linesman was unlikely to catch a yards-offside Cesar Azpilicueta in Chelsea’s comeback win over Cardiff City on Sunday.

[ MORE: PL midweek storylines ]

The loss may well cost Cardiff City its place in the Premier League, but the linesman would’ve been forced to stay on the end line for the attempt and — apparently — would’ve understandably had his line of sight blocked by Willian‘s dome.

It’s fascinating stuff. Well done, Sky and Jamie.

And Neil Warnock, you should still be angry. The eye in the sky wouldn’t have lied.

Chelsea extremely fortunate in comeback v. Cardiff City

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  • Camarasa gives hosts lead
  • Azpilicueta scores offside equalizer
  • Controversial non-red before Chelsea winner

Controversial poor calls marred what could’ve been a wonderful day for Cardiff City, as Chelsea came back to win 2-1 in Wales on Sunday.

Cesar Azpilicueta scored an offside goal and Ruben Loftus-Cheek nabbed a winner moments after Chelsea was absolved a pretty obvious red card for denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock stood in front of the referee Craig Pawson’s maligned unit to applaud fans after the match.

Victor Camarasa put Cardiff ahead just after halftime, and Cardiff was unlucky not to take three points (let alone one).

The Bluebirds remain five points back of safety, while Chelsea moves level on points with fifth place Arsenal. The 60-point total is one fewer than Spurs and Manchester United.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

As expected, Chelsea had most of the early play, but Lee Peltier did hit Kepa Arrizabalaga with a strike just after the half hour mark.

And the Blues paid for their sleepy first half moments after the start of the second, with fine first touch passing leading to Camarasa’s side-footed wonder.

Harry Arter chopped down substitute Hazard in the 54th minute to give the Blues a prime free kick from the left, but Chelsea was unable to convert the opportunity.

Sean Morrison looked set to deny Chelsea its equalizer with two timely interventions, but the Blues went level off a corner when Azpilicueta nodded past Neil Etheridge.

Antonio Rudiger was shown a yellow card after taking down Kenneth Zohore in what seemed to be a clear denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

And as sure as Cardiff boss Warnock berated the fourth ref, Chelsea scored its winner moments later through a clever Loftus-Cheek header.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]