After the surprise defeat of AC Milan.
The nerazzurro replaces the rossonero at the top of the Serie A: Inter Milan took advantage of the surprise defeat of AC Milan to settle in the leader’s chair on Sunday, a week away from a derby that will be expensive.
Inter Milan, whose ambitions are now reduced in the championship after the fiasco in the Champions League and elimination this week in the Italian Cup, can thank Romelu Lukaku, author of a brace and an assist against the Lazio Rome (3-1) Sunday night on Matchday 22.
Inter are one point ahead of Milan before the derby, seven over Roma (3rd) and eight over Juve (4th).
Inter on a cloud
The defeats on Saturday of Milan, surprised by the promoted La Spezia (2-0), and Juventus, in Naples (0-1), had opened a boulevard: the Nerazzurri did not miss the opportunity.
Faced with a Lazio in confidence and mistress of the ball, who remained on six victories, Inter mainly applied to defend in compact mode and then plant his banderillas against.
On one of these blocks, Lautaro Martinez got a penalty, after a somewhat desperate tackle from Wesley Hoedt. A tough decision to taste, which “guided the match”, according to Roman coach Simone Inzaghi. But Romelu Lukaku transformed him without qualms (22nd) for his 15th goal of the season.
The Belgian added the 16th just before the break, to join Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scorers standings, taking advantage of a ball returned to his feet with a little luck (45th).
Lukaku reached with this double the bar of 300 career goals, clubs and selection included.
For his 500th appearance in Serie A, Nerazzurro goalkeeper Samir Handanovic has remained vigilant in front of Manuel Lazzari (12th) then Ciro Immobile (38th).
The Milanese fortress has cracked only once: on a free kick from Milinkovic-Savic, deflected by his teammate Gonzalo Escalante (61st). But Laziali hopes lasted only three minutes, time for the relentless Lukaku to go up the field at full speed to offer an unmistakable goal to Martinez.
“It’s a starting point, not an end point,” warned Antonio Conte, praising the “good response” from Lukaku after more complicated matches but also from Christian Eriksen, author of a solid match.
Roma on the podium
The Turin defeat is also the business of Roma who returned to the podium thanks to their quiet victory over Udinese (3-0), to which Jordan Veretout, omnipresent in the midfield and double scorer, contributed greatly.
The Frenchman cleared the match quickly with a header on a cross from Gianluca Mancini (5th) and then converted a fairly generous penalty (25th).
With 15 league goals since arriving in Rome in 2019, he is now the French player having scored the most goals in the giallorosso shirt, overtaking Vincent Candela (14). This season, Veretout is at 9.
“I have a challenge with him on the number of goals scored: I told him he had to exceed ten goals” this season, underlined the coach Paulo Fonseca after this “very good match”, sealed by a third goal signed Pedro.
Atalanta on the wire
Atalanta Bergamo, long neutralized by Cagliari (18th), snatched a precious success (1-0) in a twisting end of the match marked by the decisive goal of Luis Muriel (90th), author of his 13th goal of the season , then a penalty awarded and then refused to the Sardinians (90 + 5th) after resorting to VAR.
The “Dea” (6th) thus remains in contact with Naples (5th) and Lazio (7th), a trio just two points behind Juve’s fourth place, qualifying for the Champions League.
“Taking all three points is a good signal, especially after such a difficult match,” said Bergamo coach Gian Piero Gasperini.