Inter suffer Fiorentina defeat, Atalanta boost top-four hopes

Inter suffer Fiorentina defeat, Atalanta boost top-four hopes

© AFP 2022
Giacomo Bonaventura (R) scored the only goal for Fiorentina at Inter Milan
Giacomo Bonaventura (R) scored the only goal for Fiorentina at Inter Milan. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP
Source: AFP

Inter Milan slumped to a 1-0 home defeat by Fiorentina on Saturday as Giacomo Bonaventura's second-half goal dealt a blow to their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League from Serie A.

Simone Inzaghi's Inter, who will face Benfica in this season's Champions League quarter-finals, remain in third place.

But they are only two points clear of AC Milan and fifth-placed Atalanta who beat Cremonese 3-1 earlier Saturday, with Roma one point further behind ahead of their game against Sampdoria on Sunday.

Inter, who won the title two seasons ago, have now lost three successive matches in Serie A and four of their last five.

The hosts dominated for long periods at the San Siro but struggled to find a breakthrough as Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Romelu Lukaku both went close in the first half.

Inter should have forged ahead five minutes after the restart, but Lukaku somehow failed to get proper contact on Alessandro Bastoni's low cross while standing three yards out from an open net.

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He was made to pay less than three minutes later, as Bonaventura nodded in from close range after Inter goalkeeper Andre Onana had saved Arthur Cabral's initial header.

Inter never seriously threatened an equaliser as Fiorentina extended their winning streak in the top flight to five games, moving within seven points of the European places.

Atalanta moved level on points with fourth-placed AC Milan thanks to a comfortable win at bottom club Cremonese.

Gian Piero Gasperini's team made it back-to-back victories either side of the international break to leapfrog Roma into fifth, behind Milan on head-to-head record.

Runaway leaders Napoli are 19 points clear as they romp towards a first Scudetto since 1990, but the next five teams are separated by only five points.

Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon gave Atalanta the lead just before half-time, although they were pegged back by Daniel Ciofani's penalty for relegation-destined Cremonese.

But Jeremie Boga put the visitors back in front with 17 minutes remaining.

The Ivorian tapped in after an excellent run and low cross from fellow substitute Rasmus Hojlund, who scored five goals in two games for Denmark in their recent Euro 2024 qualifiers.

"Rasmus has very important qualities and he has shown that extensively," Gasperini said of 20-year-old forward Hojlund.

"The steps to go higher and higher are endless. He must never lose that mentality and this concentration that he has."

Ademola Lookman wrapped up the three points in injury time with his 15th goal of the season but first since January.

Later on Saturday, Juventus take on Verona.