Late Darmian winner moves Inter closer to Serie A title


Milan (AFP) – Matteo Darmian scored the only goal with quarter of an hour to go as Serie A leaders Inter Milan held off relegation-threatened Cagliari 1-0 to stretch their winning streak to 11 consecutive games as they close in on the league title.

Moroccan Achraf Hakimi came off the bench and minutes later set up Italy defender Darmian to grab the winner in the San Siro to inflict a fourth consecutive defeat on Cagliari.

Inter move back 11 points clear of second-placed AC Milan who won 3-1 at Parma on Saturday, as a first title since 2010 beckons for Antonio Conte’s side with eight game left to play.

Inter had been pegged back against 18th-placed Cagliari with both goalkeepers pulling off saves.

Cagliari ‘keeper Guglielmo Vicario pushed out a Christian Eriksen chance early with Inter loanee Radja Nainggolan also denied an opener for the visitors.

Romelu Lukaku set up Alexis Sanchez who thought he had scored after quarter of an hour but the goal was rule offside.

Vicario kept out Darmian from an angle before the break, and pushed another Eriksen chance over the bar.

But the breakthrough came when Hakimi came on for Ashley Young after 69 minutes with the Moroccan combining with Lukaku to tee up Darmian, to push Inter closer to a 19th Serie A crown.

Struggling nine-time defending champions Juventus are 15 points behind Inter before hosting Genoa on Sunday.

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