Updated April 2nd, 2024 at 16:59 IST

Inter extends Serie A lead with win over Empoli; Bologna inches closer to Champions League

Empoli lost its last three games by 1-0 and it was a goal behind after just five minutes when Federico Dimarco turned in an Alessandro Bastoni cross.

Inter Milan | Image:AP
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Inter Milan became the second team in Serie A history to score in the season’s first 30 games when it beat Empoli 2-0 and edged closer to the title on Monday.

Only Juventus in the 2013-14 campaign scored in its first 30 games. In the big five European leagues this season, no other team has matched Inter’s feat.

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Inter extented is lead to 14 points on second-placed AC Milan. There are eight rounds left.

Empoli lost its last three games by 1-0 and it was a goal behind after just five minutes when Federico Dimarco turned in an Alessandro Bastoni cross.

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Inter was on top throughout but it couldn’t double its lead until the 82nd minute.

Alexis Sanchez, who replaced Bastoni, had the easiest of finishes after good work on the right by Denzel Dumfries.

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Empoli remained third to last and in serious relegation trouble.

BOLOGNA CLOSER TO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Bologna beat lowly Salernitana 3-0 to take another step towards Champions League football.

The eighth win in nine games for Thiago Motta’s side pushed it to within two points of third-placed Juventus. A fourth place finish would ensure Bologna of Champions League football for the first time.

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Riccardo Orsolini opened the scoring after 14 minutes with a tremendous left-foot shot from outside the box and Alexis Saelemaekers made it 2-0 a minute from halftime.

Left back Charalampos Lykogiannis completed the scoring in stoppage time after working a neat one-two with Saelemaekers.

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The result marked an unhappy debut for Salernitana coach Stefano Colantuono, the club’s fourth coach this season.

Salernitana looks doomed to spend next season in the second tier. It is 11 points from safety.

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Salernitana plays Sassuolo next Friday in a relegation six-point game made all the more urgent after Sassuolo surrendered a lead at home to Udinese.

Grégoire Defrel opened the scoring for the home four minutes before halftime following a defense-splitting pass from Matheus Henrique.

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However, Florian Thauvin equalized from close range three minutes later.

The result will satisfy neither side as the search for points becomes more desperate.

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Sassuolo remained second from bottom on the table, and although Udinese was five places above it, only four points separate them in a congested battle to avoid the drop.

CAGLIARI DRAWS WITH VERONA

Two other teams in the fight, Cagliari and Verona, started the day tied on points and they ended the day still tied after drawing 1-1.

Verona led after half an hour through Federico Bonazzoli. Goalkeeper Simone Scuffet got a hand to Bonazzoli’s flick with the outside of his boot but could not stop the ball going in.

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Ghanaian midfielder Ibrahima Sulemana scored with 16 minutes remaining to give Cagliari a share of the spoils.

Verona was in 15th place, above Cagliari on goal difference.

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ROMA STALEMATE AT LECCE

Fifth-placed Roma was held to 0-0 at Lecce. Good goalkeeping and profligate finishing ensured a stalemate.

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Roma failed to score in the league for the first time since Daniele De Rossi took over as coach in mid-January but the point still means he has taken 23 points in his first 10 matches in charge, a feat bettered previously by only two other Roma coaches in the last 30 years.

The point was a welcome one for Lecce and coach Luca Gotti. Gotti took over on March 13 and is unbeaten in his first two games.

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Lecce remained in 13th place but not out of relegation danger. Three of its next four games are against opponents below it in the table.

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Published April 2nd, 2024 at 16:59 IST