Inter are back in second place after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez secured a 3-0 victory over Genoa, as the Nerazzurri became the first club to feature in 3000 Serie A matches.
Atalanta were held to a 1-1 draw by AC Milan on Friday, opening the door for Antonio Conte’s men to leapfrog them in the table, and they did just that – albeit in somewhat unspectacular fashion.
Lukaku put the away side ahead in the 34th minute with a simple glancing header, while Sanchez wrapped up proceedings with eight minutes to play via a side-foot volley from in close that crashed in off the underside of the bar.
The Belgian capped off the night with a magnificent third deep in stoppage time, as he collected a Marcelo Brozovic pass on the counter before dribbling past the Grifone backline and calmly slotting home his 23rd Serie A goal of the season.
Genoa came out of the gates with a point to prove and saw an Andrea Pinamonti header go just wide of the mark, while Brozovic’s deflected effort whistled just wide after a great Inter counter.
The Nerazzurri saw half chances via Christian Eriksen and Lautaro Martinez amount to nothing before the breakthrough came in the 34th minute.
Cristiano Biraghi whipped in a great cross from the left and Lukaku shrugged off Cristian Zapata with ease before putting his glancing header past Mattia Perin at the back post.
Roberto Gagliardini will miss Inter’s match against Napoli after picking up a booking for a challenge on Valon Behrami, which saw Filip Jagiello’s resulting free kick go just wide of the upright.
The second half kicked off with a whimper, as Inter looked sluggish in attack while Genoa’s ventures forward amounted to very little.
The first real piece of attacking football came in the 69th minute. Victor Moses fired in a stinging cross from the right that looked destined for a Borja Valero tap in, but Peter Ankersen got there just in time to put the ball out for a corner.
It proved to be a rare chance for Conte’s men as they struggled to maintain any sort of presence in Genoa’s half of the field, while the home side continued their confused attempts to level the score.
The contest was put away with six minutes remaining after some more good work by Moses on the right. The Nigerian skipped past Domenico Criscito and his pull back was side-footed off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net by Sanchez.
Genoa had no response as the final minutes ticked away, and Lukaku made no mistake as to who the man of the match was by netting a great solo goal in stoppage time.
The Belgian collected a Brozovic pass and ran from midfield, dribbled past a stranded Christian Romero, and calmly fired into the far bottom corner to wrap up proceedings.