Atalanta come from behind to make it six Serie A wins in a row
Atalanta made it six wins in a row in Serie A after coming from behind to earn a 2-1 victory at Hellas Verona on Sunday.
The home side had much the better of the opening stages and edged into a deserved lead when Giovanni Simeone, eldest son of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone, netted his 12th league goal of the season in the 22nd minute from a tight angle.
La nostra striscia in trasferta:
Per la prima volta nella storia 6 vittorie di fila lontano da Bergamo! ?
— Atalanta B.C. (@Atalanta_BC) December 12, 2021
Atalanta responded well, with Mario Pasalic denied by the post before Aleksey Miranchuk converted from close range in the 37th minute to level.
After the break, the visitors stayed in the ascendancy and completed the turnaround in the 62nd minute thanks to Teun Koopmeiners’s deflected strike.
Verona tried again, but Simeone’s effort that clipped the post was the closest they got to claim a point as Atalanta held on to climb to third in the standings above Napoli, who play Empoli later on Sunday, while Verona drop to 10th.
Internazionale climbed to the top of Serie A in style as Lautaro Martinez’s double helped them thrash Cagliari 4-0 at the San Siro on Sunday.
The champions dominated from start to finish to earn their fifth league win in a row, with Argentine striker Martinez getting the scoring up and running with a bullet header in the 29th minute.
? | JOB DONE
— Int❄️r ??? (@Inter_en) December 12, 2021
Martinez could have doubled his side’s advantage before halftime but saw a tame penalty saved. The hosts did not have to wait long for their second, however, as Alexis Sanchez, on a rare start, volleyed home five minutes after the break.
Cagliari were dead and buried from that moment on, and Hakan Calhanoglu soon added a third.
Martinez completed the scoring in the 68th minute with a delicate finish after bringing Nicolo Barella’s inch-perfect long pass under control, while a host of further chances came and went to make the win even more comprehensive.
With AC Milan and Napoli both dropping points this weekend, Inter took full advantage to hit the summit, one point ahead of city rivals Milan, while Cagliari dropped to 19th having taken 10 points from 17 matches.
Milan and Napoli’s long unbeaten start to the Serie A season meant champions Inter, under new coach Simone Inzaghi, have been playing catchup for much of the campaign.
But as their Scudetto rivals have faltered, Inter have hit top form, just ahead of the Serie A winter break, with Cagliari no match for the in-form champions.
Visiting goalkeeper Alessio Cragno was kept busy all match, with Inter having 15 shots on target in the 90 minutes, and it was his brilliance that managed to keep the hosts at bay for 29 minutes.
? | PHOTOS
— Int❄️r ??? (@Inter_en) December 12, 2021
Inter’s 14th goal from a set-piece this season, however, broke the resistance, with Martinez powering a brilliant header home from Calhanoglu’s corner.
After Denzel Dumfries was upended by Cragno just before the interval, Martinez looked set to double his tally, but the overworked Cagliari stopper made a fine save.
Sanchez was enjoying his rare run-out and took his first Serie A goal of the season expertly, volleying into the bottom corner.
The Chilean forward then turned provider for Calhanoglu, who unleashed a stunning strike into the top corner from 25 metres out, before Martinez netted his second and 10th Serie A goal of the season to put the icing on the cake.
Empoli stun Napoli
Napoli slipped to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Empoli in Serie A on Sunday, their third loss from their last five league games.
The hosts were out of sorts in the first half but still went closest to breaking the deadlock as Eljif Elmas saw his curling effort flick the top of the crossbar and head over.
Opportunities came and went for Napoli after the break, and Patrick Cutrone’s header, which he knew little about, crept home to settle the contest in the 70th minute.
Buonanotte tifosi azzurri ? pic.twitter.com/eNe6fkDvMY
— Empoli Fc Official (@EmpoliCalcio) December 12, 2021
Luciano Spalletti’s side threw everything at Empoli late on – the hosts finished the match having had 30 shots at goal – but without injured striker Victor Osimhen, and a host of other key players, they could not muster an equaliser.
Having gone unbeaten in their first 12 league matches this season to sit top of the standings, fourth-placed Napoli finished the weekend four points behind Inter Milan, who beat Cagliari later on Sunday to climb to the summit.
Empoli continue to be Serie A’s surprise package this term, with their third win in their last four league games helping them climb to seventh.