Inter’s title charge hits the breaks

Edwin  - CEO March 17, 2024
Updated 2024/03/17 at 11:04 PM
5 Min Read
Credit Image: Vavel
Credit Image: Vavel

After a 1-1 Napoli draw at the San Siro

French defender <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Theo Hernandez;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Theo Hernandez</a> celebrates after scoring <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:AC Milan;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">AC Milan</a>'s first goal against <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Verona;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Verona</a> (Piero CRUCIATTI)French defender Theo Hernandez celebrates after scoring AC Milan‘s first goal against Verona (Piero CRUCIATTI)/Yahoo Sports



Inter Milan‘s march towards a 20th league title was slowed down on Sunday by reigning champions Napoli, who escaped the San Siro with a creditable 1-1 draw, AFP reports via Yahoo Sports (y!sports).


Juan Jesus nodded home Napoli’s leveler with nine minutes remaining after fighting back from Matteo Darmian‘s opener shortly before half-time.


Leaders Inter still need 14 more points from their remaining nine fixtures to claim a 20th league title after their huge advantage on AC Milan was cut to 14 points with their local rivals winning 3-1 at Verona.


It was another disappointing result for Simone Inzaghi’s Inter following their painful exit from the Champions League at the hands of Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. Their 10-match domestic winning streak came to an end.


It was a symbolic fixture for Inter, as they outperformed Napoli’s incredible charge to their historic third league crown last season.


Even after Sunday’s draw, Inter has more points, scored more goals, and had a significantly better goal difference than Napoli did at the same stage last season.


However, their dream of securing the title with a record-equalling five matches to spare by beating Milan in next month’s derby is now less realistic than before kick-off.


Napoli were missing Victor Osimhen after the Nigeria forward picked up a hamstring problem in training and put up a brave fight after being dumped out of Europe by Barcelona on Tuesday.


However, assuming Italy gets five Champions League spots next season, Napoli are still six points from a place in Europe’s top club competition as Roma, in fifth, beat Sassuolo 1-0 thanks to a goal from Lorenzo Pellegrini.


– Milan on a roll –


Goals by Theo Hernandez and Christian Pulisic shortly before and after half-time put Milan two ahead at Verona before Samuel Chukwueze volleyed the away side out of sight with 11 minutes remaining.


Sunday’s win moved Milan three points ahead of third-placed Juve, who were held to a goalless draw by Genoa in the race for Champions League football.


Stefano Pioli’s side might be miles behind Inter, but they are all but guaranteed a spot in next season’s Champions League as they sit 11 points above Roma.


“We played very well as a team and created a huge amount. It was a positive performance,” said Pioli to DAZN after his team’s fifth straight win in all competitions.


Verona put on a good show, and Tijjani Noslin’s unstoppable strike in the 64th minute gave the hosts hope to pull off another good result after winning their previous two matches.


Instead, Verona stays two points above the relegation zone with a potentially massive clash at fellow strugglers Cagliari after the international break.


Serie A confirmed to AFP that Fiorentina‘s fixture at Atalanta had been postponed “to a later date” due to general manager Giuseppe “Joe” Barone’s being taken ill with what Italian media reported as a heart attack.


The Gazzetta Dello Sport reported that Barone was whisked to Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital from the hotel where Fiorentina stayed before the match.


Barone, who was born in Sicily in 1966 but moved to New York City as a child, is a long-time colleague of Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso.


Fiorentina is eighth in Serie A, four points behind Atalanta, who sits sixth in the division’s Europa Conference League spot.


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