Romelu Lukaku scored from the penalty spot as Inter Milan battled previous title rivals Napoli 1-0 on Wednesday to maneuver one level behind Serie A leaders and metropolis rivals AC Milan who had been held at Genoa.
Defending champions Juventus sit three factors behind Inter after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty in a 1-1 dwelling draw with Atalanta.
Napoli — who performed the ultimate quarter of an hour a person down after captain Lorenzo Insigne was despatched off — drop to fourth, an extra level adrift.
Insigne noticed purple for arguing with the referee after goalkeeper David Ospina fouled Inter’s Matteo Darmian to concede the essential spot-kick.
“Solely in Italy gamers are thrown out for these things,” fumed Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso, blasting “a doubtful penalty”.
Napoli additionally noticed membership document scorer Dries Mertens limp off with an ankle harm within the first half.
Lukaku stepped as much as slot in on 73 minutes for his tenth league aim this season, becoming a member of Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the prime of the Serie A goalscoring chart.
Inter might additionally thank goalkeeper Samir Handanovic for his or her clear sheet, denying Insigne and Giovanni Di Lorenzo late on.
For Antonio Conte’s Inter it was a fifth consecutive league win as they aim a primary Scudetto since 2010, with their European hopes now over.
“It was a painful victory that may do us good,” mentioned Conte. “These are three essential factors as a result of towards a rival and a fantastic group like Napoli they’re value double.”
AC Milan, taking part in a fourth consecutive league sport with out the injured Ibrahimovic, got here from behind twice to safe a 2-2 draw as Mattia Destro scored a double for Genoa.
The Italian striker tapped in a rebound after Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma denied Eldor Shomurodov simply after the break.
5 minutes later, Davide Calabria’s long-range effort pulled Milan degree earlier than Destro headed in a second on the hour.
However French defender Pierre Kalulu nodded in from shut vary to rescue a second consecutive draw for Milan, who keep unbeaten in Serie A since March and want to deny Juventus a tenth straight league triumph this season.
“We had six gamers out and needed to grit our tooth however those that performed proved to be as much as par,” mentioned coach Stefano Pioli.
“Our membership has not been within the Champions League for a few years and that’s our aim.”
– Sixth Juventus stalemate –
In Turin, unbeaten Juventus had been held for the sixth time in Serie A this time period.
Federico Chiesa curled in a robust shot to place Juventus forward earlier than the half-hour mark.
However Atalanta hit again with Remo Freuler grabbing the equaliser 12 minutes into the second half, shortly after captain Papu Gomez got here off the bench.
The build-up to the sport had been overshadowed by tensions between coach Gian Piero Gasperini and Gomez, unnoticed of their final two league video games amid hypothesis he might depart the Bergamo membership in January.
Ronaldo, who had fired over the goal within the fifth minute, had a uncommon penalty miss after an hour following a Hans Hateboer foul on Chiesa.
The Portuguese striker’s weak effort was simply saved by Atalanta keeper Pierluigi Gollini.
Spaniard Alvaro Morata had missed a golden probability after 12 minutes, sending a weak back-heel flick extensive in entrance of an open aim.
On the different finish of the pitch, Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved a Cristian Romero header with 1 / 4 of an hour to go.
“You must take these video games dwelling,” mentioned Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.
“We had many alternatives and we weren’t in a position to shut it. Whenever you depart the sport within the steadiness something can occur.”
Atalanta, who additionally held Juventus the final time they performed in Turin final July, are eighth, 10 factors behind AC Milan, after a gradual begin to the marketing campaign.
“It is a fantastic end result,” mentioned Gasperini. “We had been excellent, at one level we had been satisfied of profitable it.
“We performed with character towards a group which are one of many favourites for the Scudetto.”
Fifth-placed Sassuolo drew 1-1 at Fiorentina, whose winless run stretched to seven video games.