Serie A: Inter takes pole in front of Milan, Naples stalls

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Rome, 12 Dec 2021 (AFP)

With the approach of the mid-season in Serie A, Inter Milan took advantage of the points lost on Saturday by AC Milan to take pole by putting on a show against the relegation Cagliari (4-0), Sunday during the 17th day.

Naples on the other hand missed the opportunity to come back up to the Rossoneri: again beaten at home by Empoli (1-0), the Neapolitans even slipped at the foot of the podium (4th), overtaken by an Atalanta in turbo mode in the league with a sixth victory in a row, at the expense of Hellas Verona (2-1).

Inter on pole

The defending champion finds himself alone in the lead for the first time this season. Decided not to miss the opportunity offered by Milan, hanging on to Udine (1-1) on Saturday, Inter stifled the relegation Sardinian.

Lautaro Martinez found the flaw on a corner (29th). And if he missed a penalty, well repulsed by Alessio Cragno (44th), the Argentinian “toro” was rewarded for his activity with a second technical goal (68th).

In the meantime, Inter had taken shelter thanks to Alexis Sanchez with a superb volley (50th) and Hakan Calhanoglu with a strike in the top corner (66th).

Inter consolidates its status as the best attack in the championship (43 goals). With two matches to come against Salernitana and Torino, Simone Inzaghi’s team can contemplate the honorary title of winter champion, having set off again on the right foot of the second half of their last season.

Naples brakes

Three days after a decisive victory against Leicester (3-2) in the Europa League, Napoli found Lorenzo Insigne but was abandoned by success. He was surprised by an involuntary header from Patrick Cutrone who deceived David Ospina (70th).

The Tuscan goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, very good, was able to count on luck with two Neapolitan shots returned by his amounts. It allows the promoted Empoli, astonishing seventh, to do it again after his victory against Juventus at the start of the season.

Napoli concede their second straight league defeat at home. Here he is fourth before going to challenge Milan at San Siro.

“We would need an episode that turns in our favor and conversely it takes us in the opposite direction,” regretted Luciano Spalletti, who lost early in the meeting Piotr Zielinski, released for “breathing difficulties”. No issues were detected during post-match reviews, however, according to the club.

Atalanta exceeds

The Neapolitan defeat made the business of Atalanta (3rd), returned to only two points of Milan (2nd).

In Verona, Hellas got off to a better start with the 12th goal of the season from Giovanni Simeone (22nd). Despite fatigue and disappointment after Thursday’s Champions League defeat against Villarreal (3-2), the “Dea” responded well by quickly equalizing by Aleksej Miranchuk (37th). Teun Koopmeiners scored the decisive goal for the Bergamasques with the help of a deflection from the unfortunate Adrien Tameze (62nd).

“Coming back to such a match, against a very strong team, is a demonstration of great strength, of great will,” said coach Gian Piero Gasperini.

Lazio en panne

Like Naples, Lazio (9th) is down, dominated and logically beaten at Sassuolo (2-1).

The Laziali quickly opened the scoring through Mattia Zaccagni. But they were picked up by the Neroverdi (12th), led by a trio of Italian international strikers who had to please coach Roberto Mancini.

Gianluca Scamacca hit the post (25th) before Domenico Berardi with his eighth goal of the season (63rd) then Giacomo Raspadori (69th) reversed the situation after the break.

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Serie A: Inter takes pole in front of Milan, Naples stalls