Juventus have confirmed captain Giorgio Chiellini has been diagnosed with inflammation of his left Achilles tendon.

Chiellini had to pull out of Italy's crunch World Cup qualifier against Switzerland on Friday and returned to Turin for tests.

Juve are waiting to discover how long the Italy skipper will be out of action.

A club statement said: "The diagnostic tests that Giorgio Chiellini underwent this morning at J-Medical showed inflammation of the muscle tendon junction of the left Achilles tendon. His condition will be monitored daily."

Striker Moise Kean completed the entire session with his Juve team-mates on Thursday after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Defender Mattia De Sciglio continues his rehabilitation from a hamstring problem.

The Bianconeri will be eyeing a third consecutive win in all competitions when they face Lazio a week on Saturday,

Xavi has his work cut out at Camp Nou following his appointment as Barcelona head coach.

Barca have struggled on the pitch amid off-field turmoil and financial problems.

But Xavi wants to make Barca great again and he reportedly has his eyes on some players across Europe.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYE TRIO

RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo and Manchester City pair Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling are transfer options for Barcelona, according to Thursday's Mundo Deportivo.

Xavi is now at the helm of Barca and the club great is tasked with restoring the fortunes of the embattled LaLiga giants.

The Barca head coach is keen to reinforce his squad in either January or at the end of the season.

Barca have also been linked with Chelsea forward Timo Werner and Manchester United veteran Edinson Cavani.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Paul Pogba is set to leave United and Juventus are trying to re-sign the Frenchman, though his salary is proving problematic. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Inter are pressing Marcelo Brozovic to sign a new contract by Christmas, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. The Croatia international is reportedly wanted by Barca, Liverpool, PSG and United.

Steven Gerrard is expected to join Aston Villa as their new manager, reports Fabrizio Romano. The Rangers boss is set to be joined by his backroom staff at Villa.

Fiorentina are trying to sign River Plate striker Julian Alvarez as Dusan Vlahovic prepares to leave but Juve are also interested, according to Corriere dello Sport. Vlahovic has no plans to renew in Florence and the Serbia international has been linked with City, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Juve and Inter.

- The Mirror says United are confident of landing Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers as their new manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under mounting pressure at United and former Liverpool boss Rodgers has emerged as a target for the struggling Red Devils due to a release clause in his contract.

Giorgio Chiellini insists a European Super League is needed, and has also suggested the number of teams in Serie A should be reduced.

The controversial proposal for a breakaway Super League, which involved the 'big six' Premier League sides along with Juvetus, Inter, Milan, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, was announced in April.

After huge criticism from governing bodies and fan groups, the six English teams, plus Inter, Milan and Atleti, withdrew from the agreement.

Barca, Madrid and Juve, however, have stood by the plan, with UEFA's attempts to punish the trio having proved fruitless.

While the majority of players have spoken out against the proposal, Juve captain Chiellini believes it is exactly what European football requires.

"I've been talking to the [Juve] president for a few years now about this," Chiellini, who will miss Italy's clash with Switzerland on Friday due to injury, told DAZN Italia.

"The future of football is increasingly towards a European approach compared to national leagues. A player at Juve's level wants to play those games, with all due respect.

"Athletes of our level, but also perhaps the fans, want to see more of these European-level fixtures.

"We have reached the point of no return. Institutions, clubs and players must meet to reform the calendar and create new competitions to relaunch this sport, which remains the most beautiful in the world, but can also be improved.

"In the USA, who are masters of this sort of thing, they created Super Leagues in every sport."

Chiellini also thinks Serie A should be reformed and ideally cut to 16 teams.

"There are some Serie A teams who are in the way," Chiellini said.

"We really ought to go back to 16 teams, but I think 18 would allow the league to be more competitive and give extra space to European level fixtures."

New Genoa boss Andriy Shevchenko believes the club "can do great things" and is "really convinced" by the project.

Genoa's new owners, 777 Partners, acquired Italy's oldest club in September and felt the need to replace Davide Ballardini with the team sitting 17th in Serie A after just one win from their first 12 games.

Shevchenko, whose entire five-year coaching career has been as Ukraine manager, was signed to replace him on Sunday and his primary task will be saving Genoa from relegation.

"This is a very important moment in my career as a coach," Shevchenko said. 

"Genoa are an important club, this is a project I care about and the number one objective for us right now is to be in Serie A again next season.

"This is the oldest club in Italy and that means something. I hope to remain here for a long time. I was really convinced by this project. I believe Genoa can do great things in future."

The former Milan striker called on the historic club's fans to play their part in driving the team on, and revealed that new signings would be necessary for the team to achieve their aims.

"I remember it was like playing against 12 men at the Marassi, because the fans were so passionate," Shevchenko continued. "I hope they can provide that atmosphere again, because we need their support.

"The team needs to be reinforced in January. Historically, it has always been a very aggressive side and we need the right mentality. Speaking to the players, I felt they too wanted to improve the situation."

This job is Shevchenko's first foray into club management and the 45-year-old name-checked three of his former coaches when asked to cite his influences.

"The Italian school is very important, so working with coaches like Carlo Ancelotti, Alberto Zaccheroni and Cesare Maldini was a great experience," Shevchenko added.

"Coming to coach in Italy means being able to challenge the best tacticians and it’s an exciting challenge for me.

"I think this side has certain characteristics, probably suited to either the 3-5-2 or the 4-3-3 formation."

Genoa's next game is against Roma and Shevchenko's former manager at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, who the Ukrainian revealed his reverence for.

"I have great respect for Mourinho," Shevchenko said. "His arrival has brought a great deal to Italian football."

Milan have rebuffed reports that their working relationship with Mino Raiola has broken down.

On Tuesday, Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport claimed that Raiola, whose star-studded list of clients includes Milan talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was not involved in negotiations over a new deal for Rossoneri captain Alessio Romagnoli.

The centre-back, who is currently out injured, will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Gazzetta's report claimed that Milan had asked Romagnoli not to involve his representative Raiola in the discussions, with the relationship between the club and agent supposedly strained following Gianluigi Donnarumma's exit on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Milan insisted that is not the case, tweeting: "Regarding the article published today by La Gazzetta dello Sport entitled "Milan expels Raiola", Milan specifies that the club maintains professional relationships with all agents, without any foreclosure."

Milan sit second in Serie A following their 1-1 derby draw with Inter on Sunday, though they are level on 32 points with leaders Napoli.

Aaron Ramsey has become an issue for Juventus, being on a bumper contract but having fallen out of favour.

Ramsey signed with Juve in 2019 on a four-year deal from Arsenal.

The 30-year-old has only made 70 appearances across almost two-and-a-half seasons, including only five this term.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE PAIR KEEN ON RAMSEY

Juventus are shopping around Aaron Ramsey with Premier League pair Everton and Newcastle United in the mix, claims Goal.

The Bianconeri are keen to find a buyer for the Wales international midfielder in January although his salary may be a stumbling block.

No formal offers have been tabled yet for the ex-Arsenal star.

ROUND-UP  

- The transfer saga involving Paul Pogba continues to twist and turn with The Star claiming Manchester United are willing to sell him in January, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus have been linked with the French midfielder.

- AS claims Manchester United are hoping to win the race for Sevilla's Jules Kounde , with Chelsea 's admiration long known.

- West Ham will turn down any approaches for England international Declan Rice , reports The Sun. The midfielder has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea .

- Newcastle are angling to land Ousmane Dembele as a free agent if he refuses to pen a new deal with Barcelona, reports Express.

- Internazionale could also seal a free transfer for Andre Onana from Ajax according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims a verbal agreement was reached months ago. Barcelona have also shown an interest in Onana.

- Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah has interest from German club Monchengladbach for a January move according to The Sun.

- Goal claims that Liverpool legend and current Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is Aston Villa 's first choice to take their vacant managerial role following Dean Smith's dismissal.

Dusan Vlahovic is believed to be Juventus' number one transfer target.

However, Juve are not the only club interested in the Serbia international, who is unwilling to re-sign at Fiorentina.

Juve are keeping their options open as they try to reinforced a stuttering squad.

 

TOP STORY – MARTIAL AND ICARDI EMERGE AS JUVE OPTIONS

Anthony Martial and Mauro Icardi are among the alternatives should Juventus miss out on Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, according to Calciomercato.

Juve are interested in Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Atletico Madrid, Inter, Tottenham and Arsenal.

With competition high, United forward Martial, Paris Saint-Germain's Icardi, Benfica star Darwin Nunez, Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal and Sassuolo's Gianluca Scamacca are also being considered by Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

- El Nacional reports Real Madrid are targeting Juve star Federico Chiesa. The Italy international signed from Fiorentina on an initial two-year loan deal and Juve are desperate to make it permanent amid interest from Liverpool.

Manchester United are in no rush to sack embattled manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, per Manchester Evening News. Solskjaer is under pressure following humbling defeats to rivals Liverpool and Manchester City. Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and Zinedine Zidane have been linked.

- Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks are among Roma's transfer targets, says Calciomercato. Roma are also determined to sign Denis Zakaria from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Hellas Verona head coach Igor Tudor said his football would not be suitable for Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as he continues to work wonders in Serie A.

Since Tudor took charge of Verona in September, they have gained 16 points in nine games – in this period the Gialloblu are sixth for points earned in Serie A, behind only Napoli, Milan, Atalanta Inter and Juventus.

Verona held leaders Napoli to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, having already beaten Roma, Lazio and Juve under Tudor.

As Verona evolve under Tudor, the Croatian explained his methods and why are not suitable for all clubs.

"It would be difficult to use our training methods in a top team," former Croatia and Juve defender Tudor – who was as an assistant to Andrea Pirlo and worked with Ronaldo in Turin last season – told DAZN.

"Perhaps, we could find a compromise by attacking and doing more zonal marking. It’s a bit sick, in a good way. Surely, you can’t propose something like this to a player like Cristiano Ronaldo.

"However, football evolves and a coach must do the same, making wise use of both phases."

Since Tudor's arrival, Giovanni Simeone is the top scorer in the top-five European leagues with nine goals, two more than Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski, Jonathan David of Lille and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in this period.

Verona are 10th in the Serie A standings through 12 rounds, five points adrift of the top five heading into the international break.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not thinking about retiring from professional football despite needing a physio to watch his every step.

Since returning to Milan in January 2020, Ibrahimovic has scored 30 goals and supplied nine assists in 54 games in all competitions. 

However, the striker has struggled with injuries and featured in only half of the Rossoneri's Serie A games in 2020-21, while he was forced to pull out of Euro 2020 duty with Sweden. 

Still, he became the fourth-oldest scorer in Serie A history this season when he struck against Bologna last month and took his domestic league tally to 400 versus Roma a week later.

Ibrahimovic acknowledged he has had to learn to listen to his body more and seek treatment as quickly as he can, though it has not made him think about hanging up his boots. 

"Last season I had more injuries than I usually have and have had before. But it's because I didn't think about taking it easy when I felt something, I just powered on. I have that mentality. I give 200 per cent," said Ibrahimovic. 

"After I turned 30, I noticed the pain does not go away, it just moves within the body. 

"What I have changed is that now I have a physio that follows me everywhere in Italy 24 hours a day. At the very least, he is right there poking. 

"That's the only change I made. As soon as I feel something, I want to take care of it immediately." 

He added: "We always want to play, but I have to find the right balance considering the injuries I've had. 

"You learn something new every day. I get to know by body better with every day that passes. But as my body ages, my head becomes younger and I look more handsome. 

"I haven't set a date to quit. I want to continue as long as possible and not think about when it will end. I don't want to be sad, like someone who quits thinking he could've played again." 

Ibrahimovic retired from international duty after Euro 2016 but has since returned to the fold, making his comeback for Sweden in March. 

An Achilles injury forced him to withdraw from the squad in the previous international break, but Sweden boss Janne Andersson has been impressed by his recovery. 

If Sweden beat Georgia on Thursday, they will go into their final World Cup qualifier against Spain three days later knowing a point will be enough for them to top Group B and book their place in Qatar – assuming La Roja beat Greece beforehand.

Andersson refused to confirm whether Ibrahimovic was ready to play in both games, though. 

"If we're talking about Zlatan and his physique, he has looked surprisingly good. Last night [the Milan derby] I think he looked fit – the matches before that too," said Andersson. 

"A few weeks ago he looked a bit rusty but he has looked great since, so we will see how much I will play him." 

Italy boss Roberto Mancini has called up Atalanta's Matteo Pessina and Lazio midfielder Danilo Cataldi to his latest squad after losing Roma duo Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolo Zaniolo to injury.

The European champions face Switzerland and Northern Ireland in their final two qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 World Cup and currently sit top of Group C on goal difference, level on 14 points with the Swiss ahead of their crucial encounter in Rome on Friday.

Mancini, who is already without Marco Verratti due to a hip injury, confirmed earlier on Monday at a media conference that Pellegrini (knee) and Zaniolo (calf) will return to their club.

"Zaniolo was a bit unlucky because he suffered two serious injuries. He is young and he has the qualities to get over it," he said.

"It could have been an important game for him, but he has a problem and we can't take any risk. I don't think he needs my advice, he has the quality and he can improve in everything.

"We will surely replace them [Pellegrini and Zaniolo] because we also need to assess [Nicolo] Barella. We didn't call Pessina because he is not ready."

Despite this, Mancini ultimately did decide to turn to Pessina, as well as Cataldi, who receives his first senior call-up since 2017 after a solid start to the season at Lazio.

The former Manchester City manager did have better news about his defence, with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci appearing to be fit to play despite missing Juventus' 1-0 win against Fiorentina at the weekend.

"They feel well, we have a training session today. We'll see how everyone feels." 

Can Cataldi step up for the Azzurri?

While Mancini is suffering from something of a midfield crisis, having players with the quality of Pessina and Cataldi to call on is not a bad problem to have.

It may be the first call-up for Cataldi in over four years, but he has achieved it off the back of some eye-catching performances at club level for Maurizio Sarri's men.

When measured against Pellegrini, whose role he will fill, Cataldi leads the way in pass success percentage (91.2), albeit the 27-year-old has only started four of his 10 league appearances, while the Roma captain has started 11.

Cataldi also has a superior pass completion rate in the opposition half, with 84.7 per cent compared to Pellegrini's 79.7, so his numbers do not appear to be indicative of him only playing easy passes.

Whether Cataldi gets an opportunity to win only his second cap remains to be seen, but he has clearly caught the eye of Mancini at least.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future is in doubt as Manchester United continue to struggle.

United were outclassed effortlessly by neighbours Manchester City in Saturday's Premier League derby.

Struggling for form, Solskjaer could pay the price at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER SET FOR AXE?

Manchester United are considering the departure of under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to the Daily Mail.

Manchester City eased past United 2-0 in the Premier League derby showdown at Old Trafford, where Solskjaer's side were left sixth and nine points off the pace.

There are reports of a player revolt as Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo grow frustrated with life in Manchester.

Zinedine Zidane and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag have been linked as possible replacements.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Real Madrid and Newcastle United are interested in Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. The Egypt international, who is contracted to Liverpool until 2023, is keen to sign a new deal at Anfield.

City are weighing up a move for Juventus and Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, says El Nacional. De Ligt has also been linked with Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

Karim Benzema is open to joining Paris Saint-Germain should Madrid sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, per El Nacional. Benzema has reportedly snubbed a move to Newcastle, while Haaland has been linked with City, United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, PSG, Chelsea and Juve.

Gerard PiqueSergio BusquetsSergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will be allowed to leave Barca under new head coach Xavi, according to El Nacional. Fabrizio Romano adds Xavi will look to re-sign Pablo Gavi and Ousmane Dembele.

- Calciomercato claims Atletico Madrid are interested in Udinese's Nahuel Molina, who is also wanted by Inter.

Genoa appointed former Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko as their head coach, the Serie A strugglers announced on Sunday.

Shevchenko was available after stepping down following a five-year spell in charge of his native Ukraine, who reached the quarter-finals for the first time at Euro 2020.

Milan great Shevchenko – contracted until June 2024 – takes over a Genoa side only above the relegation zone on goal difference ahead of Sampdoria after 12 rounds after Davide Ballardini was sacked following a 2-2 draw with Empoli on Friday.

Shevchenko's first task will be a showdown with under-fire Jose Mourinho and his out-of-form Roma following the international break on November 21.

A 111-cap Ukraine international, Shevchenko won the Scudetto and Champions League during his initial seven-year stint at San Siro, where the 45-year-old scored 173 goals after arriving from Dynamo Kiev in 1999.

Shevchenko joined Premier League giants Chelsea in 2006 and was part of the team that won the FA Cup and EFL Cup in his debut campaign before returning to Milan on loan in 2008.

Appointed by Ukraine in 2016, Shevchenko finished with a 48.1 winning percentage having won 25 of his 52 international fixtures.

 

Simone Inzaghi believes Inter deserved all three points in their 1-1 derby draw with Milan on Sunday.

Hakan Calhanoglu – who joined the blue half of Milan from the red side on a free transfer in July – won and then converted an early spot-kick to put the Rossoneri ahead.

The Turkey international became the fourth player to score in his first Milan derby in Serie A after having played the previous encounter with the opposing team (since 1994-95), after Hernan Crespo (2006), Ronaldo (2007) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2010).

Inter were pegged back soon after as Stefan de Vrij scored an own goal – the first in a Milan derby since Samir Handanovic's in December 2017.

The Nerazzurri were handed a second penalty in the first half, but Ciprian Tatarusanu saved Lautaro Martinez's strike from 12 yards to keep his side level. 

Martinez has now missed three of the last six penalties he has taken in all competitions for Inter.

"The glass is half-empty because we had so many chances and missed a penalty, so in my view we deserved far more," Inzaghi told DAZN.

"We were up against a great team who are deservedly [joint-] top of the table. We're behind them in terms of progress, but there is time to get back on track and performances like this will give us confidence.

"Over the past six games we drew with Juventus and Milan when we probably deserved to win. Milan and Napoli are keeping up a remarkable tempo, but there's a long way to go and we are up there.

"We wanted to give our fans a victory and I feel we did enough to deserve it. The tempo was very high and both teams probably could have done a lot better on a technical level, but it was intense.

"Milan are a very technical side, so you have to tire them out, make them move. We did well in the opening 20 minutes and generally I think we deserved more, we only struggled a little in the final 15 minutes."

 

Despite Calhanoglu having already scored from the spot, Inzaghi said he had no issues with Martinez stepping up to – unsuccessfully – take Inter's second penalty of the game.

"Our penalty takers are Martinez and Calhanoglu, while Ivan Perisic can take them too," the head coach added. "Hakan asked to take the first, Lautaro took the second.

"It's between them to decide, we know how those moments work."

Inzaghi also provided an update on Nicolo Barella, Edin Dzeko and Alessandro Bastoni, who were substituted with apparent injuries in the second half.

"Barella felt a twinge and asked for the substitution," he explained. "I had a few issues with Dzeko and Bastoni in the first half, so naturally playing with this tempo and so often, the muscles are under strain. Hopefully they are nothing serious."

Stefano Pioli is remaining positive despite Milan missing the chance to go top of Serie A with a 1-1 derby draw against Inter at San Siro.

Former Rossoneri midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu scored an early penalty before Stefan de Vrij's own goal levelled the scores, and Ciprian Tatarusanu was needed to deny Lautaro Martinez after a second spot-kick was conceded.

However, the result means Milan have picked up 32 points in the opening 12 games of a Serie A season for the first time in the three-points-for-a-win era (since 1994-95) and remain unbeaten in the league after 12 games.

Rossoneri boss Pioli feels there is plenty to be encouraged by from his side's season so far and from the performance against reigning champions Inter.

"The glass is half-full," Pioli said to DAZN. "You aim to win, but it was complicated, the team showed a lot of spirit and we struggled a bit too much in the first half, but then emerged after the break.

"In all of Europe's top five Leagues, only Napoli and Milan are still unbeaten this season, and that says a lot about how we are doing.

"Inter are a strong side and we proved that we are strong too. It was a positive performance. Look at the average age difference for the starting 11 between Milan and Inter.

"We needed time to gain that experience, form that confidence and now we can fight it out with the best in Serie A. There can be difficulties, but we showed courage tonight again and both teams had the opportunities to win.

"We made a naive error on the penalty but maintained our ideas and approach to turn this around. We could've sought Zlatan Ibrahimovic more, as we didn't give him enough service, but it's also true that we fought for every ball and never stepped back.

"We were courageous in attack, but also in defence, where we accepted one-on-one situations with players like Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez. We were eager to bring home another positive result."

Ante Rebic's introduction off the bench following his recovery from an ankle injury coincided with Milan's best period of the game and Pioli was full of praise for the 28-year-old, while admitting that Rafael Leao looked a little jaded after featuring in every game for the club so far this season.

"Ante is very important, as he has that change of pace and is very aggressive," Pioli continued. "We saw Rafael Leao was a little less sharp tonight, inevitably because he played practically every game for the last three weeks."

Milan travel to face Fiorentina after the international break as they look to maintain their unbeaten league record and keep the pressure on Napoli in the title race.

Juventus' long domination of Serie A finally ended last season thanks to Inter, but their success never looked likely to be the start of a new monopoly in Italy's top flight.

With Inter not only losing their mastermind Antonio Conte but also arguably their two best players in Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, Simone Inzaghi was always going to have a tough task on his hands in their attempts to successfully retain the Scudetto.

Milan fans will have watched on frustrated last season, their own improvement paling in comparison to that of their bitter rivals, who finished 12 points clear of the Rossoneri at the top.

Of course, Milan only secured a top-four finish at all on the final day of the season – but there is much cause for optimism at the club and Sunday's Derby della Madonnina suggested the positivity is well-placed, even if Stefano Pioli's team only got a 1-1 draw.

Let's not forget, Milan's record in this fixture has been dreadful in recent times. Inter won five of the past six in Serie A, while the Rossoneri's run of three successive home defeats in the derby was their worst such run since 1934.

Milan went into the match knowing a win would take them top after Napoli dropped points against Hellas Verona, but arguably the most important thing here was to avoid a defeat – victory for Inter would have brought them to within three points of their bitter rivals.

And to be fair to Inter, they looked every inch a side out to win.

It didn't take long for one of the main pre-game narratives to come into focus as Hakan Calhanoglu, playing his first derby for Inter since leaving Milan in pre-season, won a penalty from Franck Kessie and then stepped up to take the resulting kick.

His celebration left no doubt about his thoughts on the jeers being aimed his way, as he cupped both ears in the direction of the home fans, with the Turkey midfielder becoming only the fourth player since 1994-95 to score in his first Milan derby after making his previous appearance in the fixture for the other team.

It was the kind of start you hope from every derby match, with the emotions and intensity turned right up inside the first 10 minutes, and Milan were certainly up to the challenge.

Their response was quick – though they had more than a helping hand. Fikayo Tomori was the man who ran off in joyous celebration as the Inter net bulged, though replays amusingly showed he didn't even touch the ball as Stefan de Vrij put past his own goalkeeper.

The gripping end-to-end nature of the match soon brought another twist.

Matteo Darmian darted onto the ball, surging inside Fode Ballo-Toure and into the box, luring the Milan left-back into a clumsy lunge. Penalty.

But Calhanoglu didn't fancy the opportunity to get a second, instead allowing Lautaro Martinez to step up, and the Argentinian failed to beat Ciprian Tatarusanu in the Milan goal.

 

Milan started to fade towards the end of the first half, with Inter creating two more fine opportunities just before the break and then remaining in the ascendancy in the second period.

Martinez saw a stinging drive go just over and then Calhanoglu inexplicably failed to get a volley on target at the back post as he blasted across the face of goal.

But Pioli's substitutions worked very well. Ismael Bennacer's introduction brought a little more poise and intricacy to the Milan midfield, while Alexis Saelemaekers showcased his trademark endeavour.

In fact, the Belgian went closest to breaking the deadlock as his long-range effort came back off the post and Kessie put the rebound wide.

Inter managed to hold on in the face of the late onslaught, and while a point seemed a fair result, it's already a fourth draw for Inzaghi's men. That's five matches they've failed to win, and although they remain third, you get the feeling they need to start turning those into victories if they are to stand a chance of retaining the title.

They certainly have the personnel to do so, while Milan's showing provided a little more evidence that last season's second-place finish wasn't a fluke, with this the first time in the three-points-for-a-win era that the Rossoneri have amassed as many as 32 points from their first 12 matches.

Of course, Napoli will hope to prove otherwise, but there remains the very real possibility that the Scudetto will be staying in Milan at the end of the campaign.

The second derby of the season will likely have some say in which of the two clubs prevails, and that in itself is glorious.

It had arguably lost much of its lustre in the eyes of the neutral in recent years, with the collective standard of their squads somewhat lacking in comparison to the fixture's glory days back in the early 2000s and it rarely having relevance due to Juve's domination.

But one thing Sunday's contest showed is that the Derby della Madonnina is once again becoming Italy's most relevant fixture.

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