Milan — Inter Milan is proving to be a serious threat to Juventus’ bid for an eighth successive Serie A title, AP reports.
Roberto Gagliardini scored twice and Matteo Politano, Joao Mario and Radja Nainggolan added the other goals as Inter beat Genoa 5-0 Saturday to move to within three points of Serie A leader Juventus, which hosts Cagliari later.
It was a seventh successive Serie A win for Inter with the Nerazzurri level on points with Napoli, which beat Empoli 5-1 on Friday.
The result will boost Inter’s confidence ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League game at home to Barcelona. The Catalan club beat Inter 2-0 two weeks ago.
Genoa, which is the only team to have taken points off Juventus this season, remained 11th but only four points off fourth spot in a tight Serie A table.
Inter captain Mauro Icardi was rested for the match, while Genoa forward Krzysztof Piatek was surprisingly also on the bench despite having scored a leading nine goals.
Inter took control of the match with two goals in as many minutes — both of them following mistakes by the Genoa defense.
Genoa failed to clear a ball in the area and Davide Biraschi inadvertently deflected Joao Mario’s pass to Gagliardini, who swept in from six yards.
Moments later it was Darko Lazovic who completely miskicked his attempt at clearing Joao Mario’s through-ball and Politano ran on and slotted it past Genoa goalkeeper Ionut Radu — who is on loan from Inter.
Genoa offered little, even when Piatek was brought on for former Inter forward Goran Pandev, five minutes into the second half.
By that point Inter was even further ahead. Radu had done well to claw Ivan Perisic’s attempt off the line but Gagliardini fired in the rebound.
Gagliardini had several chances to complete his hat trick before Joao Mario capped off a good performance with a lovely finish into the bottom right corner in stoppage time.
There was still time for Inter to score a fifth as Joao Mario sent in a cross for Nainggolan to head in, having come off the bench minutes earlier for his first appearance since injuring his ankle in the derby against AC Milan last month.