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Inter Close Gap On Leaders AC Milan, Ronaldo Penalty Miss Stalls Juve

Inter Milan’s Belgian ahead Romelu Lukaku (L) passes the ball underneath stress from Shakhtar Donetsk’s Brazilian defender Vitao through the UEFA Champions League Group B soccer match Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk on December 9, 2020 on the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)


Romelu Lukaku scored from the penalty spot as Inter Milan battled previous title rivals Napoli 1-0 on Wednesday to maneuver one level behind Serie A leaders and metropolis rivals AC Milan who have been held at Genoa.

Defending champions Juventus sit three factors behind Inter after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty in a 1-1 dwelling draw with Atalanta.

Napoli — who performed the ultimate quarter of an hour a person down after captain Lorenzo Insigne was despatched off — drop to fourth, an extra level adrift.

Insigne noticed crimson for arguing with the referee after goalkeeper David Ospina fouled Inter’s Matteo Darmian to concede the essential spot-kick.

“Only in Italy players are thrown out for this stuff,” fumed Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso, blasting “a dubious penalty”.

Napoli additionally noticed membership file scorer Dries Mertens limp off with an ankle harm within the first half.

Lukaku stepped as much as slot in on 73 minutes for his tenth league aim this season, becoming a member of Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the prime of the Serie A goalscoring chart.

Inter may additionally thank goalkeeper Samir Handanovic for his or her clear sheet, denying Insigne and Giovanni Di Lorenzo late on.


(From L) Inter Milan’s Slovak defender Milan Skriniar, Inter Milan’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic, Inter Milan’s Italian defender Danilo D’Ambrosio, Inter Milan’s Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen and Inter Milan’s Belgian ahead Romelu Lukaku (R) react subsequent to Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic on the finish of the UEFA Champions League Group B soccer match Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk on December 9, 2020 on the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

For Antonio Conte’s Inter it was a fifth consecutive league win as they aim a primary Scudetto since 2010, with their European hopes now over.

“It was a painful victory that can do us good,” mentioned Conte. “These are three important points because against a rival and a great team like Napoli they are worth double.”

AC Milan, taking part in a fourth consecutive league recreation with out the injured Ibrahimovic, got here from behind twice to safe a 2-2 draw as Mattia Destro scored a double for Genoa.

The Italian striker tapped in a rebound after Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma denied Eldor Shomurodov simply after the break.

Five minutes later, Davide Calabria’s long-range effort pulled Milan stage earlier than Destro headed in a second on the hour.

But French defender Pierre Kalulu nodded in from shut vary to rescue a second consecutive draw for Milan, who keep unbeaten in Serie A since March and need to deny Juventus a tenth straight league triumph this season.

“We had six players out and had to grit our teeth but those who played proved to be up to par,” mentioned coach Stefano Pioli.

“Our club has not been in the Champions League for many years and that is our goal.”


Inter Milan’s Belgian ahead Romelu Lukaku (L) and Inter Milan’s Slovak defender Milan Skriniar (3rdL) reacts after Inter missed a aim alternative as Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ukrainian defender Valeriy Bondar (2ndL) and teammates protest because the referee (R) grants a nook kick to Inter through the UEFA Champions League Group B soccer match Inter Milan vs Shakhtar Donetsk on December 9, 2020 on the Giuseppe-Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)


Sixth Juventus stalemate

In Turin, unbeaten Juventus have been held for the sixth time in Serie A this time period.

Federico Chiesa curled in a robust shot to place Juventus forward earlier than the half-hour mark.

But Atalanta hit again with Remo Freuler grabbing the equaliser 12 minutes into the second half, shortly after captain Papu Gomez got here off the bench.

The build-up to the sport had been overshadowed by tensions between coach Gian Piero Gasperini and Gomez, overlooked of their final two league video games amid hypothesis he may go away the Bergamo membership in January.

Ronaldo, who had fired over the goal within the fifth minute, had a uncommon penalty miss after an hour following a Hans Hateboer foul on Chiesa.

The Portuguese striker’s weak effort was simply saved by Atalanta keeper Pierluigi Gollini.

Spaniard Alvaro Morata had missed a golden probability after 12 minutes, sending a weak back-heel flick large in entrance of an open aim.

At the opposite finish of the pitch, Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved a Cristian Romero header with 1 / 4 of an hour to go.

“You have to take these games home,” mentioned Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

“We had many opportunities and we weren’t able to close it. When you leave the game in the balance anything can happen.”

Atalanta, who additionally held Juventus the final time they performed in Turin final July, are eighth, 10 factors behind AC Milan, after a gradual begin to the marketing campaign.

“It’s a great result,” mentioned Gasperini. “We were very good, at one point we were convinced of winning it.

“We played with personality against a team that are one of the favourites for the Scudetto.”

Fifth-placed Sassuolo drew 1-1 at Fiorentina, whose winless run stretched to seven video games.

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