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Tuesday, 04 August 2020

Inter title hopes all but over after Bologna defeat

AFP , Sunday 5 Jul 2020
Gambian
Gambian forward Musa Barrow scored a late winner for Bologna AFP
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Inter Milan blew a goal and a man advantage to lose 2-1 at home to Bologna on Sunday and saw their Serie A title challenge all but ended in dramatic fashion.

Antonio Conte's men needed a win to move back to within eight points of leaders Juventus, and one of second-placed Lazio, but despite leading through Romelu Lukaku's 20th league goal of the campaign and playing against 10 men, contrived to collapse to defeat.

Juventus sit seven points clear at the top after beating Torino in the Turin derby on Saturday, when second-placed Lazio were thumped by AC Milan.

Inter are now 11 points off the pace with only eight matches of the season remaining.

The third-placed hosts forged ahead midway through the first half as Lautaro Martinez headed Ashley Young's left-wing cross against the post, but Lukaku was on hand to tap in.

It was the Belgian's 20th league goal since joining Inter from Manchester United last year and his 26th in all competitions.

Mid-table Bologna always carried a threat, though, and Riccardo Orsolini twice went close to equalising before half-time.

But Inter were gifted a golden opportunity to take total control 12 minutes into the second half when Bologna midfielder Roberto Soriano was sent off for dissent.

A crucial three points appeared almost certain when Martinez stepped up to take a 61st-minute penalty, but the Argentinian striker saw his effort saved by visiting goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski.

That was the cue for Inter, chasing a first league title since winning the treble under Jose Mourinho in 2010, to collapse in the closing stages.

Musa Juwara, on as a substitute, fired home a 74th-minute leveller through the weak attempted save by Inter stopper Samir Handanovic, before the home side also saw their numerical advantage disappear shortly afterwards as Alessandro Bastoni was dismissed for a second yellow card.

The comeback was completed with 10 minutes left, as Gambian striker Musa Barrow finished off a sweeping Bologna counter-attack with a fine left-footed shot past Handanovic.

Inter piled on the pressure during six minutes of injury time, but failed to rescue even a point, with Alexis Sanchez denied by Skorupski.

Bologna moved up to ninth, five points off the Europa League places.

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