x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Inter Milan deny surprising Verona

Inter took a 4-2 win from Saturday's round of Serie A action, while Leverkusen and Dortmund kept pace behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

Rodrigo Palacio celebrates after scoring in Saturday's win over Verona. Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters
Rodrigo Palacio celebrates after scoring in Saturday's win over Verona. Alessandro Garofalo / Reuters

Agence France Press

MILAN // Inter Milan resisted a spirited fightback to secure a 4-2 win over Verona at the San Siro and leapfrog the league newcomers into fourth in Italy’s Serie A on Saturday.

A day after club president Massimo Moratti set a date of November 15 for an official takeover by Indonesian businessman Erick Thohir, Inter closed the gap on leaders Roma to five points.

Roma, who have won nine games out of nine, face Udinese away Sunday when second-placed Napoli and Juventus, in third, face Torino and Genoa respectively in a bid to close their own five-point deficit on the leaders.

Inter, Italy’s last winners of the Champions League, in 2010, have made a solid start to this campaign following a disastrous ninth-place finish last season.

But despite dominating an entertaining and open encounter at the San Siro, Walter Mazzarri’s side were aided by the defensive lapses which have been one of Verona’s unwelcome characteristics so far this season.

Verona’s second goal in the 71st minute from Romulo, however, underlined Inter’s own lapses and Mazzarri told Sky Sport Italia: “We showed unnecessary naivety at times – we can’t ever afford to let our guard down in this league.

“We played really well up to a certain point but if we want to be a side to be reckoned with, we can’t afford to have these kind of slip-ups.”

Inter were gifted a welcome early lead when Vangelis Moras deflected a volley from unmarked Brazilian defender Jonathan past compatriot Rafael in the Verona goal in the ninth minute.

More dubious defending from the visitors allowed Inter to double their lead only three minutes later.

Rolando nodded the ball into the path of Fredy Guarin and although his shot was cleared off the line it ricocheted off the chest of Rodrigo Palacio and into the net from point-blank range.

Verona came close just before the half hour when Luca Toni headed just over the bar and, after Jonathan sent an angled shot wide, Raphael Martinho reduced arrears when he burst through to drive the ball past Juan Pablo Carrizo in the Inter goal.

However the visitors’ hopes of levelling before the interval were cut short when Esteban Cambiasso tapped home after Guarin had sent Yuto Nagatomo’s curling shot into his path.

Verona emerged fired up after the restart but all hope of rescuing a share of the points faded after their defence allowed Portuguese defender Rolando to bundle the ball over the line following a corner in the 56th minute.

Inter looked to be cruising, but against Romulo reduced the defict when he drilled the ball past Carrizo after Toni’s delivery.

Verona came close twice through Juan Iturbe and then scored through Toni although his effort was waved off for a shirt-pulling infringement.

Sniffing the chance of a late fightback, Verona coach Andrea Mandorlini threw on three strikers in the dying minutes although it was Inter who came closest when Saphir Taider’s snap shot was saved by Rafael.

At the final whistle both Moras and Ishak Belfodil were involved in a scuffle and received a red card.

Sampdoria, hanging around the relegation line coming into Saturday, pulled an important three points away from a 1-0 win over Atalanta.


Bayer Leverkusen conceded a 24th-minute goal to Augsburg but fought back with an equaliser in the 34th from Simon Rolfes and Emre Can struck an 83rd-minute winner for a 2-1 victory. Leverkusen kept pace in the tussle behind Bayern Munich with Borussia Dortmund, who also picked up three points with a 3-1 away win over Schalke. Dortmund cruised to the victory behind goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng, Nuri Sahin and Jakub Blaszczykowski. The two sides each have 25 points from 10 matches, with Dortmund gaining the slight edge thanks to a plus-17 goal difference to Leverkusen’s plus-12.

Woflsburg moved into fifth on the Bundesliga table, beating Werden Bremen 3-0. Hoffenheim jumped into the top half of the table with a 4-1 away win over Hannover, and Mainz defeated bottom-of-the-table Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0.


Guingamp stunned Ajaccio with an 86th minute equaliser from Claudio Beauvue and a 90th-minute winner from Mustapho Diallo in a 2-1 victory that pushed the side into fifth on the Ligue 1 table. With the loss, Ajaccio fell into relegation territory at 18th with seven points from 11 matches.

Marseille slid to sixth behind Guingamp with a 3-2 loss at home to Stade de Reims. Stades Rennes meanwhile hammered Toulose away 5-0 thanks to goals from four different players.

Nice fell to Bastia 1-0 and Sochaux sank further with a 2-1 loss to Lorient, who crawled just outside relegation territory into 17th with three points. Evian Thono Gaillard also topped bottom-placed Valenciennes 1-0, as well.


Ajax lost ground in the Dutch Eredivisie title race with a disappointing 0-0 draw with bottom-of-the-table Waalwijk. Twente Enschede, at the top of the table, also suffered a loss to a relegation candidate, going down 2-3 to 16th-place Den Haag.