Inter outclasses Roma to reclaim the top spot in Serie A

Inter Milan recovered first place in Serie A on Saturday, defeating Roma 3-1 at home to go one point ahead of AC Milan.

Denzel Dumfries and Marcelo Brozovic scored in the first half at San Siro, and Lautaro Martinez added a third just after the interval to give Inter their fourth straight victory.

Inter ended a good week that started with a 3-0 win against Milan in the second leg of their Italian Cup semi-final on Tuesday with a late consolation goal from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

“We were quite concerned about this game a few days after putting up a lot of energy in the derby,” Inter coach Simone Inzaghi remarked.

“We played a fantastic match against an opponent that was in tremendous form, both physically and tactically. It’s a significant indication.”

Milan can reclaim top position if they win against Lazio on Sunday, but Inter have a game in hand against Bologna in midweek.

On Sunday, third-placed Napoli face Empoli, who have not won in 16 matches since defeating Luciano Spalletti’s title rivals 1-0 in Naples on December 12.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma came to Milan undefeated in 12 games, putting them in with a chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

They had crushed Napoli’s Scudetto chances earlier in the week with a last-gasp equalizer in a 1-1 draw, but Inter made sure there was no such slip-up against the man who led them to the treble in 2010.

After Roma defender Gianluca Mancini just missed with a header, Hakan Calhanoglu passed Dumfries through, and the Dutchman scored past Rui Patricio to put Inter ahead.

After sprinting past multiple Roma players, Croatia international Brozovic smashed into the top corner.

Martinez rose unchallenged at a corner seven minutes into the second half to head in his team-leading 16th goal of the season.

Mkhitaryan scored from Eldor Shomurodov’s cutback five minutes from time, but Roma are still five points behind Juventus in fourth place.

Atalanta Venezia

Atalanta halted a three-game losing streak earlier in the day by defeating Venezia 3-1, with Colombia attacker Duvan Zapata scoring his first goal in four months.

Atalanta’s Mario Pasalic broke the stalemate shortly before halftime in Venice, and Zapata doubled the advantage seconds later after being set up by compatriot Luis Muriel.

Zapata hadn’t scored in the league since late November and had missed the first three months of the season due to injury, which coincided with Atalanta’s fall out of the top four.

“I’ve been waiting for this goal since my return, but especially for this win that we needed,” Zapata said after scoring his 10th Serie A goal of the season.

Muriel added a third for Atalanta shortly after the hour mark, before Domen Crnigoj grabbed a consolation for Venezia, which dropped to the bottom of the table after an eighth straight defeat.

Atalanta remained eighth but closed the gap on the European places to two points. Venezia are on the same point as Salernitana and Genoa, both of whom are six points from safety.

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