Roma leveler blocks Inter as Juventus close Serie A gap

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Milan (AFP)

Inter Milan’s title push took a hit on Sunday as a 2-2 draw with rivals Roma saw AC Milan end the weekend with a three-point lead at the top of the classification of Serie A.

Juventus also took advantage of the standoff, placing fourth with a 3-1 victory over Sassuolo, at 10.

Inter are three points behind AC Milan, who beat Torino 2-0 on Saturday, with Roma three more points behind in third.

Juventus are just one point behind Roma after claiming a third consecutive victory for the first time this season.

“It was important to give continuity and win tonight, because otherwise the game played on Wednesday in San Siro was useless,” said Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo, whose team ended the 27 matches without defeat of AC Milan in the middle of the week.

In Rome, Inter’s standoff was a blow to Antonio Conte’s side, whose eight-game winning streak ended against Sampdoria in midweek.

In search of a first Serie A title since 2010, Inter will face Juventus at San Siro next weekend in what could be one of the defining clashes of the season.

Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Roma the lead after a quarter of an hour at Stadio Olimpico.

Inter fought back with Milan Skriniar leading the equalizer 11 minutes after the break with Achraf Hakimi adding a second seven minutes later with a superb curling effort.

But with time passing, Inter couldn’t resist the Roman pressure with defender Mancini heading for a Gonzalo Villar cross four minutes from time.

“At the end of the game, sometimes there is a certain fear of an important result that makes you give up,” said Conte.

“We were lucky enough to kill the game, but we couldn’t handle it. ”

Roma could also regret their missed opportunities when they face eighth-place rivals Lazio, who beat Parma 2-0, next weekend.

“We had 15-20 minutes in the second half which were fatal,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca.

– Juve feels the pain –

In Turin, it was a deadly clash for the defending champions, who are trying to win their 10th straight title, as they lost striker Paulo Dybala and Weston McKennie to injury in the first half.

Midfielder McKennie stopped after 18 minutes due to a muscle problem and was replaced by Welsh international Ramsey.

Dybala was substituted three minutes before the break for a blow to the left knee.

Juve are already without Alex Sandro, Juan Cuadrado and Matthijs de Ligt who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

There was also fear for striker Federico Chiesa, who was left to scream in pain and cling to his left ankle after a tackle from Pedro Obiang which saw Sassuolo’s midfielder see red before the break.

Defender Danilo put Juventus in the lead in the 50th minute.

But seven minutes later, Sassuolo equalized Gregoire Defrel by brilliantly finishing a Hamed Junior Traoré by ball.

Ramsey put Juventus ahead again with eight minutes left when he tapped a Gianluca Frabotta cross to claim his first goal of the campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo completed the scoring in added time, scoring his 15th league goal this season.

“It was a tough game, badly managed after our advantage, but the important thing was to win even if we were a little disorganized,” added Pirlo.

Sassuolo falls seventh after his third loss in five games.

Napoli bounced back from their midweek home shock to defeat at Spezia with a 2-1 dying victory at Udinese to sit sixth.

Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne converted a 15th-minute penalty following Kevin Bonifazi’s foul on Hirving Lozano.

Kevin Lasagna brought Udinese to a level in the 27th minute, with the hosts missing out on chances to kill the game before Tiemoue Bakayoko led his winner.

“The team is alive. We suffered, but we have managed to recover what we lost a few days ago, ”Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso said.

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