Inter win title clash with Juve to move four points clear

Inter Milan’s French forward #9 Marcus Thuram (R) in action against Juventus’ Brazilian defender #3 Bremer (L) during the Serie A football match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the San Siro stadium in Milan, on February 4, 2024. AFP

Inter Milan won Sunday’s highly-anticipated Serie A title clash with Juventus 1-0 to move four points clear of their closest rivals for the Scudetto.

Simone Inzaghi’s side prevailed in a tense clash at the San Siro thanks to Federico Gatti’s own goal eight minutes before half-time.

Home fans who packed the stands for the biggest match of the season roared in delight as Inter put daylight between themselves and Juve with their sixth straight win in all competitions.

Inter also have a game in hand — at home against Atalanta at the end of the month — giving Inter a big advantage just as they head into a run of tough fixtures featuring their Champions League last-16 tie with Atletico Madrid. They also travelled to Riyadh last month to win the Italian Super Cup.

Juventus have no cup or European distractions.

Serie A’s two leading goalscorers Lautaro Martinez and Dusan Vlahovic were on the San Siro pitch but it was the unfortunate Gatti who provided the decisive touch.

Advantage Inter 

Inter made most of the running but bumped up against a black and white wall as Juve set up to frustrate the hosts and hit them on the break.

Marcus Thuram thought he was about to put Inter ahead midway through the first half but just as he prepared to sweep home Federico Dimarco’s low cross Bremer nipped in to take the ball from his toes.

Juve rarely ventured outside their own half but Vlahovic could have put Juve ahead just after the had he not miscontrolled the ball after Weston McKennie’s powerful burst upfield.

But Inter got the stroke of luck they needed in the 37th minute when Nicolo Barella’s cross missed both Benjamin Pavard and Thuram before deflecting over the line off Gatti’s stomach.

The second half was played at a much faster pace and both teams exchanged half chances until Wojciech Szczesny’s brilliant reaction stop denied Barella from close range in the 69h minute.

The Juventus goalie pulled off another miracle with four minutes remaining when he somehow stopped Marko Arnautovic tucking home Denzel Dumfries’ perfect low cross, but Inter had done enough for a huge win.

Kvaratskhelia saves Napoli 

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia struck a wonder goal to fire ailing champions Napoli to a morale-boosting 2-1 win over struggling Verona.

Georgian star Kvaratskhelia curled home a long-range finish with three minutes remaining at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona to snatch a comeback victory.

Walter Mazzarri’s side are seventh and were temporarily a single point away from Italy’s Champions League positions until fourth-placed Atalanta beat Lazio 3-1.

“When you win like that it’s a great feeling… but in reality, it would’ve been better to take an early lead and get it done without suffering so much,” admitted Mazzarri to DAZN after another underwhelming performance from his team.

Cyril Ngonge set Napoli on the way to victory with 11 minutes remaining when he levelled Diego Coppola’s opener with his first goal for the southern club since signing from Verona last month.

Napoli are firmly in the fight for Champions League football but the top four wasn’t their target after their stunning Scudetto triumph last season.

Next weekend Napoli travel to the San Siro to take on AC Milan, a difficult trip for a team who have only won four league matches since Mazzarri took over from Rudi Garcia in November.

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