Inter title hopes hit as Monza snatch late draw

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(Reuters) -Fourth-placed Inter Milan’s Serie A title ambitions took a hit after Luca Caldirola’s last-gasp equaliser earned lowly Monza a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Brianteo on Saturday.

Matteo Darmian gave Inter an early lead but Patrick Ciurria replied almost instantly before Lautaro Martinez put the visitors back in front only for Caldirola to snatch a point. 

The draw comes three days after Inter broke Napoli’s 11-match winning streak in the league with a 1-0 victory at home and leaves the Milan side seven points adrift of the leaders.

“We were coming off a good period of form, we beat Atalanta and Napoli, so this slows us down and we feel we’re penalised,” Inter manager Simone Inzaghi told Sky Sports Italia.

“Unfortunately, we dropped points at the start of the season and must now try to recover by taking it one game at a time. It’s disappointing, because the points were within our reach tonight.”

Monza had the first chance of the match after four minutes when Matteo Pessina sent a cross into the box, but Dany Mota headed the ball just over the bar.

nter went ahead through Darmian after 10 minutes when he met Alessandro Bastoni’s cross by getting ahead of his marker and tapping the ball in from close-range.

Monza replied a minute later when Ciurria was found inside the box by Matteo Pessina and had just enough time and space to curl the ball into the lower left corner.

Martinez then put Inter ahead again in the 22nd minute when he stole possession from Pablo Mari inside the area and fired the ball into the far corner.

Monza tried to equalise before the break, with Carlos Augusto firing wide from the edge of the box two minutes into first-half stoppage time.

Inter took the initiative in the second period, with Martinez’s header from a set piece going just over the bar five minutes after the break and the scoring looked to be over.

But just as the visitors looked set to leave with all three points Caldirola spoiled their party three minutes into stoppage time when he headed the equaliser from inside the box.

Caldirola could then have scored a winner six minutes into stoppage time but Andre Onana saved his header.

Inter have 34 points from 17 games behind Napoli, who have 41 ahead of their visit to Sampdoria, and are two points off third-placed AC Milan before they host AS Roma also on Sunday. Juventus are second on 37 points after beating Udinese 1-0.

“Now we have to keep going, aware we’ve got to work better, recover all our players at 100% and not forget we were coming off important wins against Atalanta (3-2 away in mid-November before the World Cup break) and Napoli,” Inzaghi said.

Late Danilo goal earns title-chasing Juve eighth straight league win

Jan 7 (Reuters) – Juventus extended their Serie A winning streak to eight games as Danilo’s late goal secured a 1-0 victory at home to Udinese on Saturdayto boost their title hopes.

Juve, who have not conceded a goal in their winning run, sealed the points in the 86th minute when Federico Chiesa elegantly chested down a high ball inside the box and crossed for an unmarked Danilo to score into an open goal.

The win moved Juventus up to second on 37 points from 17 games, within four of Napoli, who next visit Sampdoria, and a point above AC Milan before they host AS Roma also on Sunday.

“We are in a good period of form, but we must raise the bar in terms of performances,” Juve manager Massimiliano Allegri told DAZN as his side now prepare to visit Napoli on Friday.

“We didn’t have the right concentration against Cremonese (in Wednesday’s 1-0 win), it was better with Udinese who are a strong side and we had more chances in the second half.

“Napoli are still clearly the favourites to win the Scudetto, they have a big advantage, whereas we want to consolidate the top four. We’re almost halfway through the season and are doing well,” Allegri added.

There was a minute’s silence for former Juventus players Gianluca Vialli and Ernesto Castano before Saturday’s game.

Vialli passed away on Friday aged 58 after a long battle with cancer, while Castano died on Thursday at the age of 83.

Udinese’s Walace had the first chance of the match after 18 minutes when he sent a header towards Juve’s right-hand post from a cross, but goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved it.

A minute later, visiting keeper Marco Silvestri made a crucial save for Udinese when he managed to push away a header from Daniele Rugani inside the box.

Juventus forward Moise Kean then managed to get free outside the box after 27 minutes when he received a pass from Angel Di Maria but sent the ball wide of the target.

Adrien Rabiot went close to helping put Juve ahead when he was played through inside the box after 61 minutes but no one managed to reach his cross from near the byline.

It was left for Chiesa to come up with a moment of magic and set up Danilo who gleefully fired home to seal the points.

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)


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