Henrikh Mkhitaryan makes the difference

 

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored the only goal of the game as Roma made it 10 games unbeaten in Serie A with a hard-fought victory over Sampdoria on Sunday evening.

Mkhitaryan was in the right place at the right time to lash home the loose ball in the 27th minute, the decisive moment of the match as the Giallorossi ran out 1-0 winners at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Sampdoria, still fighting to ensure their survival this season, pushed for an equaliser throughout but in truth struggled to test Rui Patricio – who was only forced into a handful of saves that he did with casual ease.

Mourinho’s side, meanwhile, failed to capitalise on the occasional chances they created to kill off the match – ensuring the game felt in the balance until the final whistle.

Nevertheless, the visitors saw out the contest without undue stress, improving their European aspirations ahead of the closing stage of the campaign.

Napoli move level with leaders Milan after a hard-earned win at Atalanta

Napoli moved level on points with Serie A leaders AC Milan after a hard-earned 3-1 win at Atalanta on Sunday.

The home side had the majority of the first-half openings but found themselves 2-0 down at the break after Lorenzo Insigne’s penalty and Matteo Politano’s fine finish put the visitors on course for victory.

Atalanta kept coming forward in Bergamo and deservedly got themselves back into the contest in the 58th minute when Marten de Roon headed home, with several other chances having come and gone as they chased an equaliser.

With the hosts committing bodies forward, title-chasing Napoli put the game to bed nine minutes from time as Elif Elmas added the finishing touch to a counterattack.

Napoli players and staff celebrated with their travelling supporters at the final whistle as they joined Milan on 66 points before the leaders welcome Bologna on Monday, as Luciano Spalletti’s side look to win their first Scudetto since 1990.

“We have made some steps forward, especially in terms of character,” Spalletti told DAZN. “Today we showed that we are a top-level team against a team that is difficult to face.

“There is still a long way to go (in the title race), we will see how many games we will win like this. We must not let our guard down.”

The defeat was a blow to Atalanta’s top-four hopes, with Gian Piero Gasperini’s team remaining in sixth spot and eight points behind fourth-placed Juventus, who have also played 30 games and later on Sunday host Inter Milan in third on 60.

Inter Milan edge out Juventus on a controversial penalty to keep pressure on Serie A leaders

A first-half penalty was enough to earn champions Inter Milan a crucial 1-0 win at Juventus on Sunday, dragging Simone Inzaghi’s side back into the Serie A title race.

Juve wasted a host of chances in the opening period, with veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini guilty of missing the most glaring of them, and their profligacy proved costly as Inter earned a penalty in first-half stoppage time following a VAR review.

The home side were furious at the awarding of the spot-kick but felt justice was done when Wojciech Szczesny saved Hakan Calhanoglu’s penalty, only for the referee to order a retake, which the Turkey midfielder converted to give Inter the lead.

The goal did not change the balance of play, however, as Paulo Dybala and Dusan Vlahovic both went close to an equaliser in the second half, before Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic tipped Denis Zakaria’s brilliant strike onto the post.

It remained one-way traffic until the final whistle, but Juve, who had 23 shots at goal to Inter’s five, could not make the pressure pay, as the visitors held on to seal all three points.

Juve’s first league defeat since November leaves them on 59 points in fourth in the standings, four points behind Inter in third, with the champions now three behind leaders AC Milan.

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Courtesy: Reuters and Roma’s official website

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