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Leagues: Serie A

Inter gift Milan the upper hand after drawing at Torino


Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan handed local rivals AC Milan the advantage in the Serie A title race on Sunday despite snatching a last-gasp 1-1 draw at Torino, as Napoli leapfrogged them into second place with a 2-1 win at Verona.

Alexis Sanchez hit the leveller in the third minute of stoppage time of a entertaining encounter in Turin which left Inter in third, four points behind Milan.

Simone Inzaghi’s side have a game in hand, but they are now looking over their shoulders at Juventus, who are only three points behind their old rivals in fourth after stringing together a 14-match unbeaten run.

That would have been unthinkable at the turn of the year when Inter were four points clear at the top and 12 ahead of Juve.

Sanchez’s equaliser was laid on by Edin Dzeko, who was Inter’s worst culprit in front of goal after heading just wide on the hour and then nodding over from point-blank range moments before his Chilean teammate did the honours.

However Inter could easily have lost after a deeply disappointing display. 

After Brazilian defender Bremer gave the hosts the lead with 11 minutes gone, Samir Handanovic brilliantly tipped wide Armando Izzo’s free header in the 64th minute.

Seconds before Robin Gosens had saved his goalkeeper with a desperate lunge to stop Josip Brekala from scoring what would have been a superb individual goal after the Croatian international weaved his wave into the box.

They were also saved by the officials when Andrea Ranocchia was ruled to have not fouled Andrea Belotti in the area nine minutes before the break.

– Picture perfect Osimhem –

Victor Osimhen struck the first of his brace for Napoli in the 14th minute at the Stadio Bentegodi by thumping home a perfect header from Matteo Politano’s cross.

In an eventful match for both Osimhen as the rest of his team, at one point it looked as though Napoli would have to do without their star forward for over half an hour when the 23-year-old was out of action for four minutes with a shoulder problem following a clash with Koray Gunter.

He carried on however and doubled Napoli’s lead with his ninth league goal of the season in the 71st minute before snatching a camera and taking a snap of the Napoli fans.

“(Kalidou) Koulibaly gave me the camera to take a picture of the fans who have been amazing from the blast of the whistle to the very end. I think they deserved to get a shot,” he told DAZN.

There was still time for more drama as Marco Faraoni headed the hosts back into the game six minutes later, but just as Verona pushed for the draw Napoli were saved by Federico Ceccherini being sent off for a second bookable offence, infuriating captain Marco Faraoni so much he was handed a red card for dissent after the final whistle.

– Atalanta, Roma held –

Verona, whose hardcore fans caused outrage in the run up to the match with a banner which indicated the coordinates of Naples as a bombing target for Russia, stay ninth after a defeat which dented their hopes of continental football next season.

They are five points behind eighth-placed Fiorentina who beat Bologna 1-0 in Sunday’s early match to move to within touching distance of the European places.

Vincenzo Italiano’s side are two points behind both Roma and Atalanta who occupy sixth and fifth after their respective draws with Udinese and Genoa.

Atalanta look to have forfeited their fight for the Champions League after a goalless stalemate with struggling Genoa, who have now drawn all seven matches under coach Alexander Blessin.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s side are eight points behind fourth-placed Juventus, albeit with a game in hand.

Both Atalanta and Roma can be overtaken by Lazio, who are two points behind the pair before their match with Venezia in Rome on Monday night.

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