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Cagliari cool Inter Milan charge to Serie A title with draw at San Siro

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Apr 2024

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Inter Milan remain 14 points clear atop Serie A after twice being pegged back in a 2-2 draw at home to Cagliari.

After closest challengers AC Milan drew 3-3 at Sassuolo earlier on, Inter could have moved 16 points ahead with six fixtures left and they led at the interval courtesy of Marcus Thuram’s early strike.

Eldor Shomurodov drew Cagliari level and while Hakan Calhanoglu put Inter back ahead from the spot, Nicolas Viola made sure of a point apiece with his 82nd-minute strike from close range.

The stalemate might just be a mere hiccup for Inter, who can seal a first Scudetto in three years by beating city rivals Milan next Monday although twice squandering one-goal leads will doubtless frustrate head coach Simone Inzaghi.

The hosts started brightly as Nicolo Barella had an early sight at goal which Simone Scuffet did well to push away before Cagliari’s defence scrambled to snuff out Thuram from latching on to the rebound.

But the visiting backline was split open as Matteo Darmian slid through to Alexis Sanchez, who hared to keep the ball in play and his cutback was tucked away by the onrushing Thuram after 12 minutes.

Zito Luvumbo made a nuisance of himself with a shot at Yann Sommer before chipping over while, at the other end, Inter were denied by the offside flag after Barella had headed past Scuffet.

The Cagliari goalkeeper was alert to paw away Calhanoglu’s long-range free-kick just after the hour mark, which proved crucial as the visitors drew level a few moments later.

A speculative long ball forward from Adam Obert was brought down by Luvumbo with his knee and led to Shomurodov lashing low beyond Sommer from the edge of the area in the 64th minute.

The equaliser spurred Inter into action and they had a golden opportunity to retake the lead when Davide Frattesi’s header hit the outstretched hand of Yerry Mina.

While the Colombian defender protested his innocence after the penalty was awarded, the decision stood and Calhanoglu directed his 74th-minute spot-kick beyond Scuffet, who guessed the right way and got fingertips to the ball but not enough to stop it from hitting the back of the net.

But it was Cagliari who had the final say as Inter half cleared a cross and Matteo Prati’s header back into the area ricocheted off fellow substitute Gianluca Lapadula, with Viola drilling low beyond Sommer.

Viola might have nicked it at the death as Cagliari hit Inter on the counter but his header was straight at Sommer and the spoils were shared.

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