Atalanta did a great service to Ac Milan and neighbors Inter by defeating Napoli 3-2 at home to enter the title fight in the 16th stage of Serie A.
Milan had temporarily snatched first place earlier with an expected 2-0 victory over Salernitana, Inter followed with a 3-0 victory over Roma away, but Milan remained in the lead after Atalanta’s victory.
Milan have 38 points against Inter’s 37, while Napoli slipped to third with 36 and Atalanta consolidated their lead in fourth place with 34 points. Milan settled the score in the first 20 minutes after Ivorian midfielder Frank Kessie opened the scoring, taking advantage of a cross from Brazilian Rafael Leao (5) before Belgian Alexis Saelemaekers added a volley(18). With 38 points from 16 games, Milan, the seven-time European champion, have achieved the best run to this round since the 2004 season, with his last league title dating back to 2011.
At the Olympic Stadium, last season’s champions Inter continued their positive results series, they did not lose in11 recent matches in various competitions. Turkey’s Hakan Calhanoglu opened the scoring for Inter from a direct free kick (15) and soon managed to pass a decisive ball towards Bosnian veteran striker Edin Dzeko, who added the second goal (24) without celebrating in his former team’s net. Dutch right-back Denzel Dumfries hit with the knockout blow to the capital team and scored the third goal (39) opening his tally with Inter, who signed him earlier this season after starring for his country in the last European nations.
At Diego Maradona stadium, Napoli failed to regain first place by falling to Atalanta 2-3 in a match in which the result fluctuated more than once. The team suffered from several absences, most notably for Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen, who will be out for three months due to a cheek injury, his teammate Lorenzo Insigne and Senegalese defender Kalidou Coulibaly.
The visitors scored a goal for Ukrainian Russian Malinovsky after seven minutes, but Napoli responded twice by equalizing by Poland’s Piotr Zielenski (40) and Belgian international Dries Mertens giving them the lead early in the second half (47). But the final word was for Atalanta, who added two goals through Turkish defender Demiral (66) and Swiss Remo Freuler (71).