MILAN: Juventus maintained their slim hopes of making it to next season’s Champions League when Filip Kostic’s goal earned them a 1-0 win at Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday.
Kostic struck midway through the opening half to put Juve, who in January were deducted 15 points by an Italian football court investigating their transfer dealings, on 41 points after 27 games.
They trail fourth-placed AC Milan, who occupy the last Champions League qualifying spot, by six points after the defending champions lost 3-1 at Udinese on Saturday.
Inter are third on 50 points, 21 behind runaway leaders Napoli, who thrashed Torino 4-0 in the night’s earlier match.
At the San Siro, Nicolo Barella had a couple of chances denied by Wojciech Szczesny as Inter dominated the early stages.
But Juve went ahead on 23 minutes when Kostic fired home with a low crossed shot after being set up by Adrien Rabiot — a goal that was validated after a lengthy review following a suspected handball by the France midfielder.
Some good defending by Matteo Darmian on Dusan Vlahovic kept Inter in the game early in the second half but the hosts lacked a cutting edge up front and ended up with their third defeat in their last four Serie A games.
Elsewhere, Lazio remained Napoli’s closest challengers thanks to Mattia Zaccagni’s 65th-minute winner which ensured his team did the double over 10-man Roma.
A typically fiery derby rolled into action with Roma’s Roger Ibanez seeing red in the 32nd minute for two daft tackles.
That was the first of what would end up being five red cards, each team having a staff member sent off near half-time before Roma’s Bryan Cristante and Lazio’s Adam Marusic were also dismissed following a post-match scuffle.
Roma were denied a leveller seconds after Zaccagni put Lazio ahead, Nicolo Casale’s own goal ruled out after Chris Smalling had strayed offside to the dismay of their fans and the delight of Lazio’s.
Fifth-placed Roma missed the chance to move into the top four positions.
Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2023
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