Inter 1-0 Hellas Verona: Nerrazzuri edge closer to Serie A title after Darmian strike

By Sports Desk April 25, 2021

Inter took another significant stride towards a first Serie A title since 2009-10 after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Hellas Verona at San Siro on Sunday. 

The result means Antonio Conte's side are 13 points clear at the league summit, although that could be scaled back to 10 if Milan overcome Lazio on Monday. 

Inter struggled for long periods against Verona, but sealed a 13th consecutive Serie A home win for just the second time in their history 14 minutes from full-time courtesy of substitute Matteo Darmian. 

The wing-back powered forward, collected Achraf Hakimi's pass and slotted past Marco Silvestri from 10 yards to help his side return to winning ways after two draws in the top flight.

Inter started sluggishly and could have fallen behind shortly after the midway point of the first half.

Samir Handanovic got down well to keep out Daniel Bessa's initial effort before Federico Dimarco dragged his follow-up strike narrowly wide with the goal at his mercy.

The hosts rarely looked like scoring during a tepid opening 45 minutes and went in at the break having had just a solitary shot on target.

Lautaro Martinez was denied by Silvestri shortly after the hour as Inter continued to struggle following the restart.

Hakimi went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock after 69 minutes but his superb 25-yard free-kick crashed against Silvestri's left-hand post.

With Martinez and Romelu Lukaku misfiring, it was left to Darmian to snatch three points, the former Manchester United man showing superb composure to slot home his third league goal of the season in the 76th minute.

Related items

  • Argentina 1-0 Paraguay: Gomez strikes as La Albiceleste reach Copa QFs with drought-ending win Argentina 1-0 Paraguay: Gomez strikes as La Albiceleste reach Copa QFs with drought-ending win

    Argentina qualified for the Copa America quarter-finals after ending their drought against Paraguay with a 1-0 victory.

    Not since the 2015 Copa had Argentina tasted a win over Paraguay – a run of four consecutive matches – but La Albiceleste snapped that winless streak thanks to Papu Gomez on Monday.

    Gomez scored the winner in the 10th minute, scooping an effort over onrushing Paraguay goalkeeper Antony Silva, for his second goal from just his sixth international appearance.

    As Lionel Messi equalled the record for most Argentina appearances, Lionel Scaloni's men extended their winning streak to 16 games in Brasilia.

    Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero were named in the starting XI for the first time during this year's Copa, and the veteran Argentina pair were heavily involved early.

    Aguero had a great chance to put Argentina ahead in the seventh minute after some woeful defending saw the ball fall to his feet inside the six-yard box, however, the Barcelona recruit's reactive effort went just over the crossbar.

    Argentina did break the deadlock three minutes later via Gomez, who beat the offside trap and finished delicately over Silva after Di Maria cut a ball perfectly to the Sevilla star.

    Paraguay ended the half with more possession – 55.2 per cent to 44.8 per cent – as Argentina dropped off after scoring the opening goal.

    Argentina did find the back of the net for a second time on the stroke of half-time, wheeling away in celebration after Gomez's cross was inadvertently put into his own net by Paraguay defender Junior Alonso but it was ruled offside.

    There was a promising spell of sustained pressure from Paraguay, who had not lost to Argentina in six years, to start the second half.

    Paraguay continued to dictate proceedings without creating anything meaningful as Argentina booked their spot in the knockout phase in pursuit of a first major title since winning the 1993 Copa America.

     

    What does it mean? Argentina roll on

    Argentina are a tough team to beat at the moment. Not since the 2019 Copa America have La Albiceleste tasted defeat – a run of 16 consecutive matches without a loss. They have kept seven clean sheets during that run.

    Messi milestone

    The six-time Ballon d'Or winner celebrated another milestone on Monday, equalling Javier Mascherano for the most senior Argentina appearances – 147. Messi is already the country's all-time leading scorer (73).

    Toothless Paraguay

    Paraguay enjoyed more possession and a better passing accuracy, but it did not translate to anything meaningful up front. Eduardo Berizzo's side ended the contest without a shot on target.

    What's next?

    Argentina will conclude their Group A campaign against winless Bolivia in Cuiaba on Monday, while Paraguay meet Uruguay on the same day.

  • Denmark thinking about Eriksen 'all the way' as Hjulmand revels in magical night Denmark thinking about Eriksen 'all the way' as Hjulmand revels in magical night

    Kasper Hjulmand said Denmark after thinking about Christian Eriksen "all the way" as the head coach revelled in the nation's magical night at Euro 2020.

    Denmark remarkably booked their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 with a stirring 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen on Monday, setting up a showdown against Wales.

    After losing 1-0 to Finland – a game overshadowed by the cardiac arrest suffered by star midfielder Eriksen – and 2-1 to star-studded Belgium, Denmark's hopes of making the knockout stages were slim before the clash at the Parken Stadium. 

    But Denmark produced a devastating performance to open their account at Euro 2020 and seal second spot in Group B thanks to goals from Mikkel Damsgaard, Yussuf Poulsen, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle.

    Denmark became the first team in European Championship history to reach the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group-stage games, while it also marked the first time Denmark had scored four goals in a major tournament game since a 4-1 victory over Nigeria at the 1998 World Cup.

    "What a night. We hoped that it would be a magic night at Parken," Hjulmand told reporters. "I want to start by saying thank you to all the people who have been supporting us and have shown so much love.

    "I don't think it would have been possible without all the support. I could feel that it really affected the players, so thank you so much for all the support. It means the world to us.

    "The motivation, the team spirit and the friendship among the players were amazing. We played three games at a very high level, and if anyone deserves this, it's our players. I can't imagine how they managed to come back from what they went through, so a big credit to the boys. Thanks a lot for the support we've got from the whole of Denmark.

    "I think it helps the team and hopefully it gives the country some good moments. It's something we all love, so thank you and a huge congratulations to the boys. It's really awesome."

    Hjulmand added: "I have to say that the team spirit we have, and how everyone contributes, is amazing. And then mixing it up with amazing performances is just fantastic.

    "AC [Andreas Christensen] is one of the best defenders out there. He has everything that a player needs. Joakim [Maehle], I don't know if he is still running out there. He just runs. He's very, very strong. He runs a lot. I don't know what he's taking, but he runs a lot. He manages the left side, but that's of course with more players. That's part of the team spirit, and people who didn't get to play today, I respect them a lot. I respect the people who did contribute on the pitch, the technical staff.

    "It's hard to describe what this team has been through in the past four weeks. We're thinking about Christian [Eriksen] all the way, and Wales are a very tough opponent. They came very far last time. They have really great players, so I think it's going to a very equal game. They're very flexible, they change their strategies and their positions, so it's going to be hard to know what to expect from that time.

    "It's just like with ourselves. We started a little weakly, but we moved AC and changed a few positions, and that's what Wales do a lot. It's going to be a very interesting and equal game."

    Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov said: "I thanked the guys for what they've done. They were up for this game but it just didn't go our way. We could have taken our chances in the first half but didn't, then conceded a goal from a half-chance and couldn't get back in the game. We have to think about all of this and move forward."

  • 76ers have plan to help beleaguered Simmons amid trade talk – Rivers 76ers have plan to help beleaguered Simmons amid trade talk – Rivers

    Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said the franchise have a plan to address Ben Simmons' shooting woes as speculation over the embattled All-Star's future intensifies.

    Simmons was subjected to boos after the top-seeded 76ers crashed out of the NBA playoffs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals following a shock 103-96 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 on Sunday.

    Philadelphia fans vented their frustration after Simmons attempted just four shots for five points in the series decider, while tallying 13 assists and eight rebounds against the fifth-seeded Hawks.

    Simmons also passed on a wide-open dunk during the closing stages against the Hawks, instead passing to Matisse Thybulle – who was fouled and made just one of the two free throws.

    Amid trade rumours after Simmons was reportedly at the centre of Philadelphia's attempts to acquire James Harden in January before the former MVP was dealt to the Brooklyn Nets by the Houston Rockets, Rivers discussed the Australian.

    "I believe, without going into detail with what we're doing, I believe we know what the right work is, and the right type of work, and the right way to do it," Rivers told reporters on Monday when asked why this offseason will be different for Simmons.

    "You can do the work all the time. But if it's not done in the right way and the right type of work, you may not improve.

    "After being here for a year, I really do believe we've identified what and how, and now we have to do the do part.

    "We have to work to do it. It's not going to be an easy job. But it's definitely a job that Ben can do."

    It comes after Rivers casted doubt over Simmons' future with the 76ers following another failed run at a first NBA championship since 1983.

    The debate around Simmons – an elite defender and creator – centres on his offense or lack thereof, with the 76ers often handicapped by his unwillingness to shoot.

    Simmons' field-goal percentage has regressed, dropping from 58.0 in 2019-20 to 55.7 this season – he only managed worse in his 2017-18 rookie campaign (54.5).

    The 24-year-old only averaged 10.1 field-goal attempts in 2020-21 – a career low, which dropped to 7.9 in the playoffs. It is the same story with his scoring as it dropped to a career low 14.3 points per game and 11.9 in the postseason – both career lows.

    Asked if he thought Simmons could be a guard on a championship team, Rivers told reporters post-game: "I don't know the answer to that right now.

    "I don't know. He struggled from the free throw line and that became a factor in the series. There's no doubt about that. Still believe in him.

    "But, we have work to do. We're gonna have to get in the gym, put a lot of work in, and go from there."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.