Saturday, April 13, 2024

Inter Milan restore 14-point lead at top of Serie A with victory over Empoli

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Apr 2024

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Inter Milan restored their 14-point lead at the top of Serie A as a goal in each half from Federico Dimarco and substitute Alexis Sanchez helped them to a 2-0 win against struggling Empoli at San Siro.

Sanchez had been on the pitch for only four minutes when he converted a cross from Denzel Dumfries in the 81st minute, sealing the victory after Dimarco had lashed home an instinctive first-time volley early in the first half to give the home side the lead.

Inter were not at their incisive best and the league’s top scorers looked like they might be made to pay for their imprecise and wayward finishing before the game was made safe late on.

For Empoli, Sanchez’s strike at the end condemned them to drop into the relegation zone on goals scored from Frosinone, who climbed out of the bottom three despite not being in action.

Victory for Simone Inzaghi’s team means that, should they win their next two league fixtures against Udinese and Cagliari, they will go into the Milan Derby on April 22 knowing that three points against their city rivals will wrap up a first title since 2021.

Inter’s nerves were settled early on. After five minutes, Marcus Thuram raced onto a ball played high into the right channel and worked it back inside as far as Alessandro Bastoni, who was up from full-back on the opposite flank.

He clipped a ball into the edge of the 18-yard box where Dimarco was waiting to crash it into the bottom corner of Elia Caprile’s goal with a cool swing of the left boot.

From there on, Inter were guilty of wayward finishing and were fortunate not to concede a penalty for a clumsy challenge made by Francesco Acerbi on Sebastiano Luperto late in the half.

The league leaders had been far from at their best, but the game was settled courtesy of two substitutes.

Dumfries took the ball into his stride down the right and looked up to see Sanchez in space in the centre.

Sebastian Walukiewicz just failed to get a foot to his low cross and the ball bobbled in off the foot of Sanchez, who was fortunate that his clumsy finish did not go awry.

That sunk Empoli into the bottom three with eight games to play, though a win next week against Torino could see them recover to 14th in a tight battle to beat the drop.

For Inter, the title is in their sights.

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