Cagliari cool Inter Milan charge to Serie A title with draw at San Siro

By Sports Desk April 14, 2024

Inter Milan remain 14 points clear atop Serie A after twice being pegged back in a 2-2 draw at home to Cagliari.

After closest challengers AC Milan drew 3-3 at Sassuolo earlier on, Inter could have moved 16 points ahead with six fixtures left and they led at the interval courtesy of Marcus Thuram’s early strike.

Eldor Shomurodov drew Cagliari level and while Hakan Calhanoglu put Inter back ahead from the spot, Nicolas Viola made sure of a point apiece with his 82nd-minute strike from close range.

The stalemate might just be a mere hiccup for Inter, who can seal a first Scudetto in three years by beating city rivals Milan next Monday although twice squandering one-goal leads will doubtless frustrate head coach Simone Inzaghi.

The hosts started brightly as Nicolo Barella had an early sight at goal which Simone Scuffet did well to push away before Cagliari’s defence scrambled to snuff out Thuram from latching on to the rebound.

But the visiting backline was split open as Matteo Darmian slid through to Alexis Sanchez, who hared to keep the ball in play and his cutback was tucked away by the onrushing Thuram after 12 minutes.

Zito Luvumbo made a nuisance of himself with a shot at Yann Sommer before chipping over while, at the other end, Inter were denied by the offside flag after Barella had headed past Scuffet.

The Cagliari goalkeeper was alert to paw away Calhanoglu’s long-range free-kick just after the hour mark, which proved crucial as the visitors drew level a few moments later.

A speculative long ball forward from Adam Obert was brought down by Luvumbo with his knee and led to Shomurodov lashing low beyond Sommer from the edge of the area in the 64th minute.

The equaliser spurred Inter into action and they had a golden opportunity to retake the lead when Davide Frattesi’s header hit the outstretched hand of Yerry Mina.

While the Colombian defender protested his innocence after the penalty was awarded, the decision stood and Calhanoglu directed his 74th-minute spot-kick beyond Scuffet, who guessed the right way and got fingertips to the ball but not enough to stop it from hitting the back of the net.

But it was Cagliari who had the final say as Inter half cleared a cross and Matteo Prati’s header back into the area ricocheted off fellow substitute Gianluca Lapadula, with Viola drilling low beyond Sommer.

Viola might have nicked it at the death as Cagliari hit Inter on the counter but his header was straight at Sommer and the spoils were shared.

Related items

  • Gilbert targeting continued success with Arnett Gardens as CFU Caribbean Shield awaits Gilbert targeting continued success with Arnett Gardens as CFU Caribbean Shield awaits

    Despite his extensive experience and success coaching female teams, Xavier Gilbert’s introduction to the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) was expected to be tough, especially guiding a team such as Arnett Gardens.

    Well aware of how most felt about his chances in the nation’s top-flight, Gilbert was determined to overcome the challenges of gaining experience at that level, and also prove his doubters wrong, and he did just that, for the most part. Though he didn’t lead Arnett Gardens to a long-awaited title –dating to the 2016-17 triumph –Gilbert, who is an assistant to senior Reggae Girlz Head coach Hubert Busby, believes a third-place finish was an achievement of sorts.

    This, as it not only follows a similar outcome from last season but, more importantly, earned them a spot in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Caribbean Shield where they will challenge for one of two spots to the more prestigious Concacaf Caribbean Cup.

    The “Junglists”, who placed fifth in the preliminary round on 49 points, hammered Waterhouse 5-1 in the third-place encounter to finish behind Champions Cavalier FC and beaten finalist Mount Pleasant FA.

    “Pressure is natural, and it helps us focus on meeting our objectives. So, I saw that pressure as a positive motivator for us to attain our goals. We didn't win the title or make it to the finals, but finishing third and getting a spot in the CFU Caribbean Shield is definitely an achievement.

    “The season was very competitive, especially between the teams in the top six, and then there were those teams that improved throughout the season. We prepared for all our opponents and gave our best each time we touched the field and it is just unfortunate that we couldn’t go all the way,” Gilbert told SportsMax.TV.

    “I want to applaud the players, my support staff, management, and everybody, who played a part in ensuring the players were healthy and fed, the community and the fans. I want to thank them for their support and commitment, and as we look forward to the CFU Caribbean Shield, we just want to do well to ensure that we make it to the CONCACAF level to join Mount Pleasant and Cavalier,” he added.

    Gilbert knew his decision to take the reins at Arnett Gardens would prove a sound one, as he made astute changes to their tactical approach along the way that contributed to his fairly successful debut season.  Still, the tactician credited the players led by veteran Fabian Reid and rising star Keheim Dixon for delivering at very high standards, so that he could realise his ambitions of keeping the team competitive.

    “Every team offers a different level of competition and you have to adjust accordingly based on what is happening on the day. Sometimes you plan to play a particular way, but based on how things are unfolding on the day, you just have to change and make that adjustment and adapt as quickly as possible. That is among some of the things that I learned through the season,” Gilbert revealed.

     “Also working with the players was a major high point, the level of respect and professionalism that they showed throughout the campaign was great and that was a rewarding experience. Technically we played well, but the results didn’t always match our performances. So going forward we’re trying to learn from the mistakes of the season and hope to perform better in the CFU Shield and hopefully, the Concacaf Club Championships,” he shared.

    Every coach has a unique philosophy, and for Gilbert dedication to hard work and giving people what they deserve are crucial factors for success. In fact, he was quick to point out that belief in teamwork and harnessing individual potential for the collective good are just as important and that is the inspiration they are taking into the Caribbean Shield set to unfold from July 25 to August 4, at a venue to be announced.

    “Our expectation is to build on what we have achieved so far and finish in the top two and advance. We know it is not going to be easy, but the players are excited, they are looking forward to it and it is just for them to go out and make themselves, the club and the community proud. It is also a good way for them to market themselves, so I know they want to make the most of it,” Gilbert ended.

  • West Ham's Paqueta charged by FA over alleged breaches of betting rules West Ham's Paqueta charged by FA over alleged breaches of betting rules

    Lucas Paqueta has been charged by the Football Association (FA) over alleged breaches of betting rules, with the West Ham midfielder accused of intentionally seeking to receive a card in four different games.

    Last August, it was reported that the FA had opened an investigation into suspicious betting activity surrounding Paqueta.

    In March, the Brazil international said he was cooperating with the FA's probe and was "happy to be helping".

    On Thursday, the FA brought charges against Paqueta, who is accused of attempting to get himself carded in four different Premier League fixtures, three in the 2022-23 season and one on the opening matchday of 2023-24.

    An FA spokesperson said: "West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of FA Rules E5 and F3.

    "The player has been charged with four breaches of FA Rule E5.1 in relation to his conduct in the club's Premier League fixtures against Leicester City on 12 November 2022; Aston Villa on 12 March 2023; Leeds United on 21 May 2023; and AFC Bournemouth on 12 August 2023. 

    "It's alleged that he directly sought to influence the progress, conduct, or any other aspect of, or occurrence in these matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting."

    Paqueta, who has until June 3 to respond to the charges, immediately addressed them on social media, vowing to clear his name.

    He wrote on Instagram: "I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me. For nine months, I have cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

    "I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name."

    The news comes after Brentford striker Ivan Toney served an eight-month ban following his admission of 232 breaches of betting rules between 2017 and 2021.

    Newcastle United's Sandro Tonali, meanwhile, is midway through a 10-month suspension for breaking the Italian Football Federation's gambling rules and was recently given a suspended two-month sanction over 50 breaches investigated by the FA.

  • Bologna confirm Motta departure with Juventus move imminent Bologna confirm Motta departure with Juventus move imminent

    Bologna have confirmed head coach Thiago Motta will leave the club at the end of the season, with the former midfielder expected to take over at Juventus. 

    Motta has overseen an incredible season for the Rossoblu, who have clinched a top-five Serie A finish and Champions League qualification with one game remaining.

    He has been touted as a leading contender to succeed Massimiliano Allegri at Juventus, after he parted company with the Bianconeri in the aftermath of last week's Coppa Italia triumph.

    Motta's move to Turin now appears imminent after Bologna announced he would not be extending his contract on Thursday.

    "In the past two years, I have got to know a well-prepared and winning coach," club president Joey Saputo said in a statement. 

    "He has instilled a brilliant style of play in this time. Reaching the Champions League means he and all these players will go down in our club’s history. 

    "I would have liked him to stay at Bologna but I can only ever thank him and his staff for these amazing two seasons and I wish him the best for the future."

    Bologna face Genoa – with whom Motta started his senior managerial career – in their final game of the season on Friday, knowing a victory will guarantee a top-four finish.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.