Inter 2-1 Sassuolo: Lukaku on target again as Conte's men go 11 points clear

By Sports Desk April 07, 2021

Romelu Lukaku maintained his impressive scoring run to help Inter to a 2-1 win over Sassuolo at San Siro that moves Antonio Conte's side 11 points clear at the top of Serie A.

The Belgium international scored for a fifth game running for club and country to open the scoring after 10 minutes and Inter did not look back in Wednesday's rescheduled clash.

Lukaku played in strike partner Lautaro Martinez for the home side's second and they held on for another win after Hamed Junior Traore had set up a nervy finale with a well-taken strike five minutes from time.

With this latest victory, Inter become just the second side in Serie A history - after Milan in 1989-90 - to win their first 10 games in the second half of a campaign.

Lukaku scored the only goal for Inter in their 1-0 win over Bologna last weekend and picked up from where he left off with Serie A goal number 21 of the season early on here.

Ashley Young sent in a right-footed cross from the left and former Manchester United team-mate Lukaku guided the ball into the far corner with a header from 10 yards.

Sassuolo were without a number of players through coronavirus concerns but would have been level if not for a fine Milan Skriniar block to thwart Jeremie Boga in the box.

The lively Boga tested Samir Handanovic the other side of the half-time interval as the visitors, who held Roma in their last match, started to pose more of a threat.

But Martinez gave Inter further breathing space by burying a low shot past Andrea Consigli once picked out by Lukaku on the counter.

Sassuolo felt Stefan de Vrij pulled back on the shirt of skipper Giacomo Raspadori in the build-up to Martinez's strike, but VAR did not feel the need to intervene.

Inter's win was not without a scare, though, as Traore curled a fine finish away from Handanovic following an Achraf Hakimi error, though there was to be no late leveller at San Siro.

Related items

  • Bayern Munich 1-0 Arminia Bielefeld: Sane strike sends record-breaking hosts back to summit Bayern Munich 1-0 Arminia Bielefeld: Sane strike sends record-breaking hosts back to summit

    Leroy Sane broke Arminia Bielefeld's resolve as Bayern Munich battled to a 1-0 win at Allianz Arena to reclaim top spot from Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.

    Dortmund's earlier 3-1 win at Wolfsburg saw them climb to the summit, but Bayern responded in Saturday's late kick-off to move a point clear ahead of next week's Klassiker. 

    After failing to forge a breakthrough in the first half of a league game for just the second time this term, Sane finally found the net for Bayern with 71 minutes played.

    That was Bayern's 102nd league goal this calendar year – a Bundesliga record – and proved enough to help the hosts bounce back from last week's 2-1 loss at Augsburg.

    Reigning champions Bayern had 11 attempts in the first half, six of those on target, without finding a way past inspired Arminia goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

    The visiting keeper did well to keep out a couple of Alphonso Davies efforts and a volley from Thomas Muller, who earlier had a header cleared off the line by Andres Andrade.

    Sane continued Bayern's wastefulness by missing two big chances early in the second half, but the Germany international eventually provided the opener.

    Collecting a pass from Muller outside the box, Sane whipped a shot past Ortega to give Bayern the goal they craved.

    Arminia held Bayern 3-3 in their previous meeting in February, but the strugglers could not find a response this time and were fortunate not to concede a second when Serge Gnabry's shot came back out off the crossbar late on.

  • Juventus 0-1 Atalanta: Zapata inflicts more woe on struggling Bianconeri Juventus 0-1 Atalanta: Zapata inflicts more woe on struggling Bianconeri

    Juventus fell further off the pace in Serie A as they slipped to a 1-0 home defeat against Atalanta.

    Massimiliano Allegri's side were thumped 4-0 by Chelsea in the Champions League on Tuesday and were unable to respond with a victory at Allianz Stadium.

    Duvan Zapata netted the decisive goal midway through the first half, taking advantage of sloppy Juve defending to hammer in his ninth league goal of the season.

    Paulo Dybala was inches away from rescuing a point in stoppage time with a wicked free-kick that hit the crossbar, but Juve ultimately suffered a fifth league defeat of the 2021-22 campaign.

    Earlier, Dybala's 10th-minute effort straight at Juan Musso punctuated an aggressive start from Atalanta, who twice went close in the opening stages, and it was the visitors who struck in the 28th minute.

    Berat Djimsiti's pass caught Juve's defence napping and, having been played onside by Matthijs de Ligt, Zapata lashed a thumping effort in off the bar.

    Dybala spurned a swift chance to respond, though Juve could easily have been two behind by the break had Matteo Pessina capitalised on Wojciech Szczesny's dreadful clearance.

    Juve were dealt a further blow by an injury to Federico Chiesa, who did not return for the second half, and it was not until Leonardo Bonucci played in Weston McKennie before the hour that they crafted an opening.

    Djimsiti was on hand to block the midfielder's path to goal, with McKennie suffering a knock in the process, ending his involvement.

    Musso did brilliantly to steer Adrien Rabiot's effort beyond the post soon after, while Bonucci headed well wide from a corner.

    Atalanta wanted a penalty for Juan Cuadrado's clumsy block on Mario Pasalic, and Juve had a late chance to make their fortune count when Zapata fouled Federico Bernardeschi. Dybala's free-kick had Musso beaten, but the woodwork ensured Atalanta claimed a first league win at Juve since 1989.

     


    What does it mean? Juve a shadow of their former selves

    The gulf in quality between Chelsea and Juventus in midweek will have been a chastening experience for Allegri, but if the Bianconeri are not careful, they might well be hard pushed to qualify for the Champions League next season, barring of course a remarkable run to glory in Europe this term – that seems unlikely, however.

    They sit eighth in Italy, 11 points adrift of league leaders Napoli and second-placed Milan, who both play on Sunday. Atalanta, with this triumph – their first Serie A away win at Juve in 25 attempts – are seven points above Allegri's men, in fourth.

    Zapata back to haunt Juve once more

    Since the start of 2017, Zapata has scored eight goals in 11 appearances against Juve across all competitions, more than any other player in the same timeframe.

    Anywhere but home for Juve

    Juve have now lost three of their first seven home games in Serie A this season. It equals their worst such total so early in a top-flight campaign, matching poor runs from 1956-57 and 1948-49.

    What's next?

    Juve have an ideal chance to recover when they travel to lowly Salernitana on Tuesday, while Atalanta host Venezia on the same evening.

  • Jota feasts on poacher's treats as Liverpool thump Southampton Jota feasts on poacher's treats as Liverpool thump Southampton

    Diogo Jota hailed ruthless Liverpool and declared himself a lucky man after scoring two close-range goals in a 4-0 drubbing of Southampton.

    The Portuguese forward converted crosses from Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah to give Liverpool an early two-goal lead, and Jurgen Klopp's team were later described as "on fire" by beaten Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.

    Jota's opener just one minute and 37 seconds into the game was Liverpool's earliest in a Premier League game since Naby Keita scored after 15 seconds against Huddersfield Town in April 2019.

    Thiago Alcantara's deflected shot and a strike from Virgil van Dijk completed the rout and Liverpool, armed with a four-goal lead after 52 minutes, were able to ease through to the final whistle.

    Southampton's three-man defence proved hapless against Jota, Sadio Mane and Salah.

    Salah's assist for Liverpool's second means he has been directly involved in 25 goals in all competitions this season (17 goals, 8 assists), more than double that of any other Premier League player.

    Jota can point to impressive figures too. The former Wolves man has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last 14 starts in all competitions for Liverpool, scoring nine times in this run and adding one assist.

    "In the end, it is a good game for us," Jota told Sky Sports. "I think we adapted well to their three at the back. They changed again in the second half and were slightly better.

    "I think we took advantage. There were a lot of spaces in the first half. We got the result and a clean sheet, so a good performance today.

    "I think it's always easier when you start well with a good team goal and go 1-0 up at home. We knew in the past we have been 2-0 up and didn't win the game, but today we did a job and that is important.

    "I'm taking advantage of playing in a really good team. Fortunately for me, I'm being able to score some goals, and hopefully I can keep on doing it."

    Liverpool moved one point behind leaders Chelsea, who face Manchester United on Sunday. Klopp's team have scored 39 goals in their 13 Premier League games this season, and that ranks as their highest goal total at this stage of a top-flight campaign.

    For Southampton, it was an afternoon of regrets, with Hasenhuttl admitting his team's defensive shape proved a failure. In the end, the visitors were looking to limit the damage.

    Hasenhuttl said: "The first half was simply not good enough to be competitive against this team.

    "We tried a different way of defending... it absolutely was not working and in the second half we changed to our normal behaviours and felt a little more comfortable and could release the pressure, although in the second half they also made it a little bit calmer.

    "But they are at the moment on fire. It's very tough for a defending team. It's very tough to defend against this side when they are in this shape and this is what we have seen today. It was for us today no chance to take something after the start."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.