Inter's Icardi enjoys dream derby

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-17 07:34

MILAN - Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Inter kept pace with Serie A leader Napoli with a 3-2 victory in a fiery Milan derby on Sunday.

Inter skipper Icardi sealed victory from the spot in the final minute in front of 80,000 spectators at San Siro to complete his hat-trick after also scoring in the 28th and 63rd minutes.

Spanish forward Suso (36) and Giacomo Bonaventura (81) twice put AC Milan back on level terms in a clash of two former European superpowers who have both been rejuvenated, at least financially if not always on the pitch, by multi-million dollar investments from their new Chinese owners.

With Juventus losing 1-0 to Roma on Saturday, Luciano Spalletti's Inter is now alone in second place, two points back of Napoli, which it faces this weekend.

"Scoring three goals in a derby is something special," said Icardi.

"The important thing is that Inter won. It's too early to talk about a scudetto challenge," he continued.

"We are doing things the right way from preseason and now we have to think about the next match against a great opponent like Napoli.

"It's a special match for me, because they are the leaders and play the best football in Europe."

Napoli maintained its perfect run of eight wins from eight games with Lorenzo Insigne scoring the only goal in a victory over Roma.

Juventus is third after Ciro Immobile's second-half brace for Lazio condemned the reigning champion to a 2-1 defeat, its first at home in over two years.

Lazio shares fourth spot with Juve at 19 points, with Roma four points back in fifth.

Milan dropped to 10th place after its fourth defeat piled the pressure on coach Vincenzo Montella.

"Looking at the table right now, everything might seem out of reach, but the season is very long and we can make up ground," said Montella.

"This squad has quality, despite what some might say, and I thought even a draw would have been hard on us today considering all the chances created.

"I think a top-four finish is absolutely possible."

In a tense first half, Inter's Antonio Candreva hit the crossbar in the 15th minute.

Suso and Joao Miranda headed wide for Milan before Inter broke the deadlock when Icardi collected a Candreva cross in the 28th.

Patrick Cutrone was introduced after the break and lifted Milan, which got back into the game thanks to a beautiful curling Suso effort.

But Icardi restored Inter's advantage from an Ivan Perisic cross before Bonaventura slid in to make it 2-2 with Samir Handanovic unable to clear.

Ricardo Rodriguez brought down Danilo D'Ambrosio and 24-year-old Icardi converted from the resulting spot-kick to earn the praise of Spalletti.

"He (Icardi) has strength, dynamism, technique. He is an all-round player, who for his age knows how to shoulder responsibility," said the Inter coach.

Earlier, Torino lost ground on Napoli after a 2-2 draw at Crotone as Atalanta also slipped up with a 3-1 defeat at Sampdoria.

Bryan Cristante opened with a 21st-minute goal in Genoa only for Giampiero Gasperini's side to concede three in a 12-minute second-half Sampdoria spree.

Duvan Zapata got the equalizer in the 56th minute, with Gianluca Caprari pulling the Genoa outfit ahead three minutes later and Karol Linetty sealing victory in the 65th.

Sampdoria's win moved it up to sixth spot, with Atalanta 12th.

Lorenzo De Silvestri nodding in an injury-time equalizer to earn Torino a point at Crotone.

Agence France-Presse

 Inter's Icardi enjoys dream derby

Inter's Mauro Icardi shows his jersey to fans as he celebrates netting the winner, which completed his hat-trick, in Sunday's 3-2 Serie A derby victory over AC Milan on Sunday.Antonio Calanni / AP

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