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Saturday April 13, 2024

Inter close in on title with 2-0 win over Empoli

By REUTERS
April 03, 2024
Federico Dimarco celebrates opening the scoring against Empoli. — AFP/File
Federico Dimarco celebrates opening the scoring against Empoli. — AFP/File

MILAN: Runaway leaders Inter Milan continued their seemingly unstoppable march to the Serie A title after an early goal from Federico Dimarco and a late effort from Alexis Sanchez secured a 2-0 win at home against Empoli on Monday.

Inter are top of the table with 79 points, 14 ahead of city rivals AC Milan in second place with eight matches left to play. Their sizeable lead means that Inter could potentially clinch the Scudetto during the city derby against Milan on April 22.

The result pushed 18th-placed Empoli into the relegation zone, level on 25 points with Frosinone in 17th and one point ahead of 19th-placed Sassuolo. Inter manager Simone Inzaghi, who celebrated his 100th victory with the club, lost his voice during the match, with assistant coach Massimiliano Farris taking over the post-match duties.

“The tactics are working very well, the mobility of our defenders, but also the ability of the midfielders to cover the spaces when the defenders go forward, that is all teamwork,” Farris told DAZN.

“We did better in the second half and the substitutions gave us a big hand to bring home the result, confirming the strength in depth of this squad.”

Dimarco broke the deadlock for Inter in the sixth minute when he fired the ball left-footed into the bottom corner from the edge of the box. The rest of the first half ebbed and flowed, with Inter pressing to extend their lead, and Empoli goalkeeper Elia Caprile standing firm to deny them. Yet Empoli gained momentum towards the end of the half, creating chances that were narrowly off target.

Inter came back with renewed vigour after the break and Nicolo Barella was inches away from scoring after beating three Empoli defenders.

Substitute Sanchez was left unmarked to tap home Denzel Dumfries’ cross and double Inter’s lead in the 81st minute after a flowing passing move from the hosts. Davide Frattesi almost grabbed a third for Inter with the last kick of the match, but the ball slipped just past the post. Inter will next play Udinese away on Monday while Empoli host Torino on Saturday.