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Inter, Napoli join Juventus top of Serie A

Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi (R) celebrates after scoring in the Serie A match against SPAL at the San Siro stadium in Milan, on September 10, 2017 © AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA

Milan, Italy, Sep 10 – Napoli and Inter Milan made it three wins out of three to keep pace with six-time title holders Juventus at the top of Serie A Sunday as AC Milan fell at Lazio.

Luciano Spalletti’s Inter beat promoted SPAL 2-0 in the San Siro after Juventus eased past Chievo 3-0 in Turin on Saturday.

Napoli also remain unbeaten as they warmed up for a midweek Champions League trip to Shakhtar Donetsk, winning 3-0 at Bologna with late goals from Jose Callejon (66), Dries Mertens (83), and Piotr Zielinski (88).

“To go 70 minutes and lose 0-3 is heavy for the boys,” said coach Roberto Donadoni of Bologna’s first loss this season.

“Naivety cost us and Napoli punished us. This has to teach us a lesson.”

Juventus — who travel to Barcelona for Champions League duty on Tuesday — are top of the standings on goal difference, equal on nine points with Napoli and Inter Milan, with Lazio fourth on seven.

AC Milan dropped to seventh after suffering their first defeat of the season as a Ciro Immobile hat-trick lifted Lazio 4-1 at home.

Simone Inzaghi’s side ran riot over the Chinese-owned Milan with an on-fire Immobile scoring three in 10 minutes, including a penalty, in a match delayed for an hour due to torrential rain in the capital.

Napoli’s forward Dries Mertens (C) celebrates with his teammates after scoring on September 10, 2017 © AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE

Riccardo Montolivo pulled one back for the visitors off a deflected Hakan Calhanoglu free-kick, but Vincenzo Montella’s side fell to their first defeat in three games.

“Not many teams will get four goals past Milan,” said Immobile, who also scored for Italy in a World Cup qualifier this week.

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“I think we’re on the right track.”

After two easy matches against Crotone and Cagliari, Milan got a reality check against Lazio.

Immobile’s first was from a penalty on 38 minutes, and four minutes later he added a second with a volley off a Senad Lulic cross.

The Italian international then got his third six minutes later and quickly assisted Luis Alberto for the fourth.

Earlier, Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi added to his Serie A tally with a 27th-minute penalty, giving him a fifth goal of the season.

The spot-kick was awarded after the intervention of the video assistant referee (VAR), after Joao Mario was tripped inside the box with Icardi slotting in.

Ivan Perisic sealed the victory after 87 minutes with a powerful volley into the top corner.

“They are valuable points which allow us to consolidate our place and build self-confidence,” said Inter assistant manager Marco Domenichini.

– Fiorentina five –

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SPAL boss Leonardo Semplici believes Inter under former Roma boss Luciano Spalletti can now challenge Juventus’ dominance.

Lazio’s forward Ciro Immobile celebrates after scoring his second goal against AC Milan on September 10, 2017 at the Olympic stadium in Rome © AFP / Vincenzo PINTO

“Inter will challenge for the Scudetto, but I still have to compliment my boys for their performance. I tip my hat to Luciano Spalletti, who is both a friend and a great coach,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“We caused Inter problems and had a few chances to score too, but I think if we play like this, we will ensure our Serie A safety.”

Emilia-Romagna side SPAL are sitting eighth.

Fiorentina bounced back from successive defeats with their first win of the season — a 5-0 rout at Verona.

Argentine striker Giovanni Simeone, son of Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, scored his first goal for the Tuscany club after two minutes.

Elsewhere, Atalanta won 2-1 at home against Sassuolo while Cagliari achieved their first win in their new stadium, beating Crotone 1-0, and Udinese defeated Genoa 1-0.

Torino left it late with Iago Falque scoring three minutes into time added on to beat Benevento 1-0.

Saturday’s game between Sampdoria and AS Roma in Genoa was postponed because of adverse weather conditions.

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