Serie A Roundup: Inter likely to clinch title in next round’s derby

It is ever more likely that Inter Milan will secure the Serie A title in the derby match against AC Milan next round. (AP/Antonio Calanni)

MILAN — It is ever more likely that Inter Milan will secure the Serie A title in the derby match against AC Milan next round after the Rossoneri were held to a 3-3 draw at relegation-threatened Sassuolo on Sunday.

Second-placed Milan, which fought back from 3-1 down, was left 13 points behind Inter and if the Nerazzuri beat struggling Cagliari, they will only need a draw in the derby on April 22 to win a 20th league title and earn a second star on the team shirts.

A star is awarded for every 10 Serie A titles. Milan, like Inter, has won the Italian league 19 times.

Sassuolo, which is in penultimate position, inched to within a point of safety.

Milan got off to the worst possible start as it found itself 2-0 down inside 10 minutes following goals from Andrea Pinamonti and Armand Laurienté.

Samuel Chukwueze thought he had pulled one back for Milan in the 17th minute but it was ruled out for a tight offside decision as a portion of his shoulder was caught out.

Milan did get back into the match three minutes later in stunning fashion. Rafael Leão cut inside the left of the area and beat two defenders before firing between the legs of another and into the far bottom corner.

Laurienté doubled his tally and restored Sassuolo’s two-goal lead early in the second half when he was left unmarked and had the time and space to control a cross and drive it past stand-in Milan goalkeeper Marco Sportiello.

Luka Jović reduced the deficit in the 59th and Chukwueze thought he had equalised four minutes later but it was again ruled out for offside.

Milan did level six minutes from time. A corner was nodded on by Olivier Giroud and the ball was then chested towards Noah Okafor, who slotted home from point-blank range with one of his first touches after coming on as a substitute.

SPALLETTI’S RETURN

Walid Cheddira scored two goals against his parent club to help relegation-threatened Frosinone draw 2-2 against Napoli.

Napoli twice took the lead through Matteo Politano and Victor Osimhen but Cheddira hauled Napoli level on both occasions.

Cheddira was signed by Napoli in August but immediately sent on loan to Frosinone.

The 26-year-old Morocco forward also won a penalty in the first half but Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret saved Matías Soulé’s tame effort.

Napoli defender Mário Rui was sent off for a second yellow card in stoppage time.

Italy coach Luciano Spalletti, who led Napoli to its first league title in more than three decades last season, was watching from the stands and he appeared to be fighting back tears as the home fans chanted his name after he was shown on the stadium’s giant screens.

Napoli is on its third coach since Spalletti left at the end of last season and is eighth in Serie A.

Frosinone moved level with 18th placed Hellas Verona.

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