Milan must take responsibility for their draw against 10-man Fiorentina, says Stefano Pioli, but the coach was convinced his side should not have had a late penalty awarded against them.

Ante Rebic's goal put Milan ahead after 56 minutes in Saturday's Serie A clash, with Fiorentina's chances diminished further when Dalbert was sent off after a VAR check.

But Fiorentina rallied late on and were given a penalty when Alessio Romagnoli was deemed to have fouled ex-Rossoneri striker Patrick Cutrone, even though the defender seemed to have got the ball.

Erick Pulgar converted beyond Asmir Begovic – who had replaced the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma early in the second half – and Milan were ultimately fortunate to come away with a point after Martin Caceres and Dusan Vlahovic missed late chances.

Though Pioli acknowledged his side had slipped up in failing to retain their lead, he was sure Romagnoli was unfairly penalised.

"We have to take full responsibility, as we had the game in hand, did everything we needed to do, but then stopped playing once Fiorentina went down to 10 men and assumed the game was over," he told DAZN.

"There are regrets, we certainly shoulder responsibility, because we made errors.

"As for the penalty, there are no doubts, it was not a penalty. You could tell from the bench that the ball moved when Romagnoli went in.

"I do not understand why technology is not used in these situations. I do not understand it. I thought and had taken it for granted that VAR helped a referee change an incorrect decision, but apparently that is not the case.

"It's difficult to accept, because we've had some strange incidents going against us. We shoulder a lot of the responsibility, because we made mistakes, but on the other situation, there's nothing we can do to control that."

While Milan will leave Florence feeling hard done by, Cutrone – who clapped the travelling support after the game – insisted he had no intention to celebrate if he had been on spot-kick duties.

"Milan will never be an opponent for me. I thank them for all they gave me and the applause at the end," Cutrone told DAZN.

"I am happy with the point, I thank the Viola fans for their support and the Milan fans for their salute. If I had taken the penalty, I never would have celebrated because I respect Milan so much and I would never do that to them.

"I have to thank Fiorentina for believing in me. I have to repay the club with performances and I hope many goals."

Erick Pulgar's late penalty salvaged a 1-1 Serie A draw for 10-man Fiorentina against Milan on Saturday.

Fiorentina were heading for defeat at Stadio Artemio Franchi, but Asmir Begovic – on in place of the injured Gianluigi Donnarumma – was unable to keep out a Pulgar spot-kick five minutes from time after Alessio Romagnoli was adjudged to have fouled former Patrick Cutrone.

Pulgar's penalty cancelled out Ante Rebic's second-half opener, with the Croatia forward having netted his sixth goal in his last six Serie A appearances.

Matters looked even bleaker for Fiorentina when Dalbert was shown a red card for a foul on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but ultimately it was Milan who were left hanging on, Dusan Vlahovic and Martin Caceres missing late chances to win it.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Gabriel Batistuta and Fabio Quagliarella in the Serie A record books after scoring in an 11th successive league game.

Ronaldo, on his 1000th professional appearance, put Juventus ahead after 39 minutes of Saturday's clash with SPAL, tucking in from Juan Cuadrado's cross.

The goal took 35-year-old Ronaldo level with Fiorentina icon Batistuta and Sampdoria star Quagliarella, both of whom had previously scored at least once in 11 straight Serie A matches.

While Batistuta achieved the feat in the 1994-95 campaign, Quagliarella – also aged 35 at the time – did so last season.

Neither player could make it 12 games on the run, however, meaning Ronaldo will have the chance to set a new record when Juve face Inter in a crucial match in the title race on Sunday.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's determination and ambition is having a positive impact on Milan, according to coach Stefano Pioli.

Milan have lost just once since Ibrahimovic made his return to the Rossoneri on a six-month contract in December.

A win at Fiorentina on Saturday would at least temporarily move Milan into the top six.

Ibrahimovic has scored three times in eight appearances so far in his second spell, but Pioli believes he has brought more than just goals.

"We are training well and that’s the truth, here you can breathe the positive air," said Pioli. "The priority is the present and you can only determine the future by thinking about the present.

"We don't think about stuff we can't impact; we don't have the time nor the energy to think about anything else.

"To have such an example of determination and ambition as Ibra has, it can do us good. If Ibra has become a champion and a unique player, it's because he is always hungry and wants to improve himself."

Though there has been speculation about Pioli being replaced at the end of the season, contrasting talk has suggested he could have his contract extended.

"It's pleasing to know that my job has been judged in a positive way," he added. "I feel that I’m the point of reference for the team.

"No coach is secure regardless of the results. In the end, the ones who make the decisions will decide.

"But I can't answer questions about my future on every press conference, let's focus on the present and see what will happen."

Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri ruled out fielding a front four as he warned it would mean having to rein in Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sarri was speaking after his team beat Fiorentina 3-0 with a pair of Ronaldo penalties to firm up top spot in Serie A.

Matthijs de Ligt headed the third goal in the final moments, on a day when Juventus began with Paulo Dybala as a substitute, Sarri preferring a front three of Douglas Costa with Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain.

Sarri earlier this season played down talk of regularly fielding an attacking three but has since often done so; however, talk of playing four forwards together was dismissed by the former Chelsea boss.

"We have many attacking players at an extraordinary level," Sarri said. "There are many solutions but they are not simple to put together."

Speaking of Costa, Sarri said: "I preferred to go with him to give us more width. When you leave out someone like Dybala you have bitterness, it's a blasphemy. But I have to deal with balance."

Asked about playing all four attackers together, Sarri added, according to Gazzetta dello Sport: "You'd have to sacrifice the characteristics of these players, starting with Ronaldo who would really have to stay out wide. It would be a waste."

Juventus bounced back well from the defeat at Napoli in their previous game, with Ronaldo reaching 50 goals for the club.

De Ligt said on the Juventus website: "It was the answer that we had to give. In the first half, we had some difficulties against a compact team, then we stepped it up."

Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso said he was "disgusted" by referee Fabrizio Pasqua after Juventus were awarded two penalties in a 3-0 win on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored both spot-kicks before Matthijs de Ligt headed a late third goal to complete a convincing victory over Fiorentina at the Allianz Stadium.

The first penalty was given for a handball by German Pezzella shortly before half-time, with the second awarded for Rodrigo Bentancur being brought down by Federico Ceccherini.

Both were decided after VAR referrals, with Pasqua taking a close look before reaching his decisions.

The latter looked to be the more questionable call, with the first clear cut.

Commisso said: "I am disgusted. I believe that a team that has €350million of signings doesn't need the referees. Juve are very strong, let the game be won on the field, not by the gifts that the referees give.

"It's not fair for Italian football, these matches go all over the world, when they see this rubbish what do they think?"

Quoted widely in Italy, Commisso added: "Matches in Italy are decided by the referees, you can't go on like this. With Genoa they didn't give us penalties, with Inter they didn't give us penalties, today they gave two penalties against us. Maybe the first one was there but the second certainly wasn't."

Commisso's verdict was rejected by Pavel Nedved, the Juventus vice-president.

Nedved, the former Juventus playmaker, said: "I don't have to answer to Commisso. I respect him, but too much is said about Juventus not winning on merit. We are fed up. We deserved to win. Let's stop pulling up the referees."

Cristiano Ronaldo slotted away two penalties and Matthijs de Ligt applied the finishing touch as Juventus beat Fiorentina 3-0 to confirm their status as front-runners for the Serie A title.

The vital double strike from Ronaldo took the Portuguese to 14 goals in his last nine league games and 19 in the Italian top flight overall this season, and crucially it ensured Juventus would remain clear at the summit of the table after this weekend's fixtures.

It also made Ronaldo the first Juventus player since David Trezeguet in 2005 to score in nine successive Serie A appearances.

De Ligt's late header increased the misery for Fiorentina.

Victory allowed Maurizio Sarri's Juventus to put behind them the disappointment of the 2-1 defeat to Napoli last time out, while keeping Inter and Lazio at arm's length.

Ronaldo proved lethal from the spot in the 40th and 80th minutes, finding the same corner each time.

Gonzalo Higuain had an early shot charged down before Fiorentina's Federico Chiesa tested Wojciech Szczesny from 25 yards, and in a lively opening Miralem Pjanic had a penalty appeal refused after tumbling in the Fiorentina penalty area.

Fiorentina's Pol Lirola and Erick Pulgar were thwarted by Szczesny midway through the first half, while Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur saw a 30-yard swerving drive pushed away by Bartlomiej Dragowski.

Ronaldo wanted a penalty after going down in the box, but there looked to be no foul.

However, Juventus had the spot-kick they were looking for when Pjanic's 22-yard shot struck German Pezzella on the left arm just inside the box.

With the calm assurance of a penalty master, Ronaldo rolled the ball into the bottom left corner.

Juventus again wanted a penalty midway through the second half when De Ligt's header struck Patrick Cutrone, but this time there was nothing doing.

Once more though, just as in the first half, an infringement was around the corner.

Bentancur's weaving run was brought to an end just inside the box when Federico Ceccherini impeded the midfielder, and Ronaldo stroked the ball home, Dragowski diving the wrong way.

De Ligt nodded in the third in stoppage time from substitute Paulo Dybala's swerving set-piece delivery.

Maurizio Sarri insists his comments suggesting he would prefer to lose to Napoli than anyone else were "twisted" as Juventus fans reacted in anger.

Juve were beaten for just the second time in Serie A this season when Sarri took the defending champions to his old club Napoli, where he spent three years as head coach before leaving for Chelsea in 2018.

Sarri said he was happy for his old team to get three points given they are languishing in 10th place in the table.

Juve supporters were far from pleased with the remarks, but Sarri believes too much has been made of what he considers to be fair comments about a team who helped him to reach "the biggest club in Italy".

"I don't know much about any controversies. It seems strange to me that certain phrases were twisted," he told reporters on Saturday ahead of the league meeting with Fiorentina.

"It seems natural to me that I remain tied to those boys I worked with for three years and who allowed me to get to top clubs like Chelsea and Juventus. There's gratitude because that's where my journey started that led to the biggest club in Italy - Juventus.

"Juve fans were rightly angry because we played badly and we lost."

Juve signed Dejan Kulusevski during the January transfer window but sent him on loan to Parma for the rest of the season, meaning Sarri has no reinforcements for the remainder of 2019-20.

The squad was trimmed further as Mario Mandzukic left for Al Duhail, with Marko Pjaca and Mattia Perin loaned out and Emre Can sent to Borussia Dortmund on an initial loan with an obligation to buy.

Can had been furious to be left out of Juve's bloated Champions League squad and started just twice in Serie A under Sarri, who considers it normal for good players to find game time difficult at top clubs.

"These are normal situations," he said. "I had a group of 27 players: if among them there are one or two who have difficulty getting into the team, that's normal. It doesn't take away from his qualities.

"I didn't ask for anything in the summer or in January. The squad is strong. I have to adapt to the characteristics of the squad. I can't think of revolutionising a whole group of players."

Manchester United left it very, very late, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was given the extra striker he wanted in the form of Odion Ighalo.

With a move for Bournemouth's Joshua King dead in the water, the Red Devils focused their efforts on a loan deal for the 30-year-old, who has been playing for Shanghai Shenhua since last February.

Ighalo's deal, which Omnisport understands does not include a purchase option, will give Solskjaer another option up front during the injury absence of Marcus Rashford.

He is expected to travel to England in the coming days before United publicly announce the signing.

Ighalo was far from the only major deal to be concluded late in the transfer window, though, as West Ham just managed to finalise the signing of Jarrod Bowen from Hull City for a reported initial fee of £22million.

Aston Villa also announced a new striker signing about 10 minutes before the window closed, Borja Baston joining on a free transfer from Swansea City.

Elsewhere in England, Tariq Lamptey took the decision to leave Chelsea and sign for Brighton and Hove Albion on a contract until 2023. The Seagulls have also brought back Alexis Mac Allister from Boca Juniors, where he was on loan.


LOANS GALORE

Sheffield United had a busy end to the window, securing the arrival of Panos Retsos - initially on loan but with the option of a permanent deal - from Bayer Leverkusen, while Ravel Morrison has been sent on loan to Middlesbrough, having made one Premier League appearance this season.

Leicester City have loaned Ryan Bennett from Wolves, with Filip Benkovic allowed to leave for Bristol City for the remainder of the campaign with a view to earning regular game time.

Everton have sent Jonas Lossl back to Huddersfield Town on loan, while Connor Wickham is also heading to the Championship, the Crystal Palace striker moving to Sheffield Wednesday on loan.

Wolves have secured the signing of Luke Matheson, who famously scored at Old Trafford in September as a 16-year-old, and loaned him back to Rochdale for the remainder of the season.

Leverkusen have also brought in a signing for the future, with Edmond Tapsoba arriving from Vitoria SC for a fee said to be between €16m and €18m.
 

SERIE A FLURRY

Italy's window closed a little earlier than some others and there was a flurry of deals around the deadline.

Marko Pjaca will get the chance to kick-start his career with Anderlecht, Juventus having allowed the winger to leave on loan for the remainder of the season as he looks to earn regular first-team football.

Milan have signed Alexis Saelemaekers, a highly rated 20-year-old from Anderlecht who arrives on loan with the option of a permanent move.

Fiorentina have had a busy end to the window. Kevin Agudelo has joined the Viola from Genoa on an 18-month loan deal, while Valentin Eysseric has been sent to Hellas Verona until June.

Maya Yoshida secured a switch to Sampdoria from Southampton, while Gaston Pereiro's move from PSV to Cagliari was ratified. He will be joined in Sardinia by Alberto Paloschi, with Alberto Cerri heading the other way to SPAL.

Gervinho, meanwhile, has taken another step in his nomadic career by moving to Al Sadd from Parma, who brought in Vasco Regini on loan from Samp.
 

BUSY BARCA

Barcelona will give new €10m signing Matheus Fernandes for time to acclimatise to LaLiga, spending the rest of 2019-20 with Real Valladolid.

Barca have also sent Moussa Wague on loan to Nice, who have the option of a €10m permanent deal, while Ligue 1 rivals Lyon have signed Camilo Reijers de Oliveira for €2m.

Kevin-Prince Boateng was a shock signing for Barca 12 months ago and the experienced forward is on the move again, this time heading to Besiktas on loan from Fiorentina.

Leganes bolstered their attacking depth with two loan deals, bringing in Roger Assale from Young Boys and former player Miguel Angel Guerrero from Olympiacos.

Getafe have landed Erick Cabaco on a permanent deal, the defender joining from Levante, Granada have signed Gil Dias on loan from Monaco, and Real Sociedad have sold Ruben Pardo to Bordeaux.

Celta Vigo, meanwhile, have loaned Emre Mor to Olympiacos, while a late, late deal that saw Nicolas Gaitan sign for Lille for the rest of the season was completed in time.

Barcelona signed Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes and Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao on transfer deadline day, but both players must wait for their chance to shine at Camp Nou.

Fernandes will join Quique Setien's squad from Palmeiras in July after a €10million package was agreed for the 21-year-old, who has played for the Brazil Under-20 team.

Braga accepted a €31m offer from Barca for 20-year-old forward Trincao, and he will also formally join the Catalan club's ranks at the end of the season.

Both players have agreed five-year contracts, the Blaugrana announced, with Fernandes' contract including a €300m buy-out clause and Trincao's deal showing a €500m clause.

Braga will take Barca's 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz on loan until the end of the season and then make the deal permanent for €8m, with the LaLiga club having a buy-back option.

Barca were not the only Spanish club busy in the market though, with Celta Vigo signing striker Fyodor Smolov on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow until the end of the season.

Atletico Madrid re-signed Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco, almost two years after he left to join Chinese side Dalian Yifang. The 26-year-old joined until the end of the season on loan.
 

STAYING PUT

Deadline day was as notable for the deals that looked to have fallen through as those that were completed.

Paris Saint-Germain ruled out allowing Edinson Cavani to leave, as a host of clubs fancied taking the Uruguayan off their hands, while Chelsea refused to let France striker Olivier Giroud depart Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham were among the clubs keen on Giroud, but Jose Mourinho looked like missing out on the striker he wanted to strengthen a front-line depleted by the loss of injured England captain Harry Kane.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United remained linked with Bournemouth forward Joshua King, but time was running out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to add new faces to his Old Trafford squad.

United made one signing, but it was a low-profile deal as England Under-20 goalkeeper Nathan Bishop arrived from third-tier Southend United.

Arsenal brought in defender Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, champions Celtic shipped out Scotland international Lewis Morgan to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are part-owned by David Beckham.

Belgian side Genk allowed attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian great Gheorghe Hagi, to join Scottish giants Rangers on loan.
 

KOUAME, DUNCAN IN

Serie A transfer activity was dominated by Fiorentina, who signed Ivorian forward Christian Kouame from Genoa, initially on loan. The deal will be made permanent at the end of the season.

They also brought in Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Duncan from Sassuolo in a similar deal, a loan with an obligation to buy.

Reports in Italy said Kevin-Prince Boateng was set to leave Fiorentina among the incomings, with Besiktas his destination. Turkish giants Besiktas also snapped up 18-year-old Croatian midfielder Ajdin Hasic from Dinamo Zagreb on permanent terms.

Atalanta agreed a loan deal with Nice, acquiring defender Adrien Tameze from the Ligue 1 outfit with a purchase option.

World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi cut short a season-long loan from Roma to Galatasaray, returning to his French homeland with Rennes on a six-month loan with an option for a further year.
 

HERTHA BUSY

In the Bundesliga, Emre Can left Juventus for Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening, initially on loan until the end of the campaign but with a €25m fee agreed for a potential permanent transfer.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin followed up Thursday's signing of Krzysztof Piatek by prising 20-year-old Brazilian winger Matheus Cunha from table-toppers RB Leipzig, for whom he scored nine goals in 52 games.

Hertha managing director Michael Preetz said on the club's website: "We wanted to increase the quantity and improve the quality up front, which we have been able to do with the Piatek and Cunha transfers."

Leipzig also offloaded Austrian midfielder Stefan Ilsanker to Eintracht Frankfurt. He spent four-and-a-half years at Leipzig, joining them in the second tier.

Werder Bremen signed striker Davie Selke on an 18-month loan from Hertha, the 25-year-old returning to the club where he began his professional career.

Antonio Conte was reluctant to introduce Christian Eriksen for his Inter debut so soon, only doing so due to a lack of midfield options in the 2-1 win over Fiorentina.

Eriksen completed a move from Tottenham to Inter on Tuesday, becoming the Serie A club's third addition of the January window after Ashley Young and Victor Moses.

He was brought on as a substitute with 24 minutes remaining in Wednesday's Coppa Italia quarter-final, with Nicolo Barella scoring what proved to be a stunning winner 42 seconds later.

The playmaker, who replaced Alexis Sanchez from the bench, thought he had capped his debut with an assist when he fed Lautaro Martinez, only for the offside flag to rule out Inter's third goal. 

However, Conte revealed he did not plan on utilising his latest signing so soon after Eriksen's arrival at San Siro.

"We did not intend to use Eriksen so soon, as he only started training with us yesterday, but Matias Vecino and Barella were the only available midfielders," Conte told Rai Sport.

"Eriksen has character and raises the quality level of the squad. I hope to get more players back, because we really are limited in the middle.

"We tried a system with a trequartista today to deal with the absence of Stefano Sensi and Marcelo Brozovic. Eriksen can play in a few different roles, and we'll see - it could be an option, but we need to work on it a lot more.

"We were rather forced into using the three strikers together because I found out about the problems in midfield."

Inter had the better of proceedings for large swathes of Wednesday's meeting at San Siro, but Martin Caceres had cancelled out Antonio Candreva's opener prior to Barella's wonderful half-volley.

"I tried and it went right into the far bottom corner. I must learn to score easier goals," joked Italy international Barella to Rai Sport. 

"We deserved this victory. We must give more in Serie A, but we've also been a little unlucky in some circumstances. There's time, it's a long campaign."

Barella seems set to compete with Eriksen for a starting spot in Inter's midfield, but the 22-year-old is relishing the opportunity to play alongside the former Spurs man.

"My adventure at Inter is going very well, everyone has faith in me and we are doing something important," Barella added.

"Eriksen is world class and will raise the quality level of the whole squad. I hope he can soon make San Siro burst with joy."

Inter completed the semi-final line-up of the Coppa Italia as Nicolo Barella's stunning strike secured a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina on a night where Christian Eriksen made his Nerazzurri debut at San Siro.

Coming into Wednesday's encounter on the back of three successive 1-1 draws in Serie A, Inter looked to be heading for the same result after Martin Caceres cancelled out Antonio Candreva's 44th-minute opener.

Yet within seconds of Eriksen entering the fray for his Inter bow, the home side retook the lead thanks to a sublime half-volley from Barella.

Napoli now await Inter in the last four next month, with Juventus and Milan meeting in the other semi-final.

Pol Lirola and Alexis Sanchez exchanged efforts early on - Fiorentina's wing-back drilling wide before the Inter forward directed a close-range header at Pietro Terracciano.

A tepid first half looked set to end scoreless, but despite creating very little since the opening minutes, Inter had the lead when Candreva slotted into an empty net after Lautaro Martinez had bundled the ball into his path.

Martinez could have turned from provider to scorer moments after the restart but sent a powerful effort into the side netting.

Sanchez was just inches away from putting the hosts 2-0 up when his low strike crept wide, while Martinez sent a half-volley just over.

But just after Terracciano denied Matias Vecino a goal against his former club, Inter were made to pay for their profligacy on the hour as Caceres outmuscled Martinez to head home.

Samir Handanovic pulled off a brilliant save from Dusan Vlahovic to keep the scores level, and Antonio Conte quickly responded by bringing on Eriksen for his debut.

And though Eriksen was not involved, Inter led less than a minute after his introduction, Barella arrowing a wonderful half-volley into the bottom-left corner.

Martinez later had a goal - teed up by Eriksen - ruled out for offside, but the Nerazzurri sealed progression.

 

What does it mean? Inter ease Serie A frustration with cup run

It has been a frustrating start to 2020 in the league for Inter, with their draws allowing Juve to establish a three-point lead at the top.

But they are well in the hunt for silverware now in a competition they have not won since 2010-11, which is also the last time the Nerazzurri reached the final.

Barella sets the bar for new boy Eriksen

Eriksen had been on the pitch for just 42 seconds when his fellow midfielder restored Inter's advantage, Barella showing his worth to Conte's side with a brilliant all-round display capped off with a fantastic goal.

Playmaker Eriksen will surely be starting soon enough, but on this evidence, it will certainly not be at Barella's expense.

Sanchez the man at risk?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has surprisingly claimed Sanchez does have a future at Manchester United, but it seems the Chilean's first priority must be to ensure he is in Inter's starting XI.

He drifted in and out of Wednesday's clash and, with Eriksen chomping at the bit, could be the player to make way.

What's next?

Both sides return to Serie A action on Sunday, with Inter travelling to Udinese as Fiorentina face league leaders Juventus.

Inter completed the semi-final line-up of the Coppa Italia as Nicolo Barella's stunning strike secured a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina at San Siro.

Coming into Wednesday's encounter on the back of three successive 1-1 draws in Serie A, Inter looked to be heading for the same result after Martin Caceres cancelled out Antonio Candreva's 44th-minute opener.

Yet within seconds of Christian Eriksen entering the fray for his Inter bow, the home side retook the lead thanks to a sublime half-volley from Barella.

Napoli now await Inter in the last four next month, with Juventus and Milan meeting in the other semi-final.

Pol Lirola and Alexis Sanchez exchanged efforts early on - Fiorentina's wing-back drilling wide before the Inter forward directed a close-range header at Pietro Terracciano.

A tepid first half looked set to end scoreless, but despite creating very little since the opening minutes, Inter had the lead when Candreva slotted into an empty net after Lautaro Martinez had bundled the ball into his path.

Martinez could have turned from provider to scorer moments after the restart but sent a powerful effort into the side netting.

Sanchez was just inches away from putting the hosts 2-0 up when his low strike crept wide, while Martinez sent a half-volley just over.

But just after Terracciano denied Matias Vecino a goal against his former club, Inter were made to pay for their profligacy on the hour as Caceres outmuscled Martinez to head home.

Samir Handanovic pulled off a brilliant save from Dusan Vlahovic to keep the scores level, and Antonio Conte quickly responded by bringing on Eriksen for his debut.

And though he Eriksen was not involved, Inter led less than a minute after his introduction, Barella arrowing a wonderful half-volley into the bottom-left corner.

Martinez later had a goal - teed up by Eriksen - ruled out for offside, but the Nerazzurri sealed progression.

 

What does it mean? Inter ease Serie A frustration with cup run

It has been a frustrating start to 2020 in the league for Inter, with their draws allowing Juve to establish a three-point lead at the top.

But they are well in the hunt for silverware now in a competition they have not won since 2010-11, which is also the last time the Nerazzurri reached the final.

Barella sets the bar for new boy Eriksen

Eriksen had been on the pitch for just 42 seconds when his fellow midfielder restored Inter's advantage, Barella showing his worth to Conte's side with a brilliant all-round display capped off with a fantastic goal.

Playmaker Eriksen will surely be starting soon enough, but on this evidence, it will certainly not be at Barella's expense.

Sanchez the man at risk?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has surprisingly claimed Sanchez does have a future at Manchester United, but it seems the Chilean's first priority must be to ensure he is in Inter's starting XI.

He drifted in and out of Wednesday's clash and, with Eriksen chomping at the bit, could be the player to make way.

What's next?

Both sides return to Serie A action on Sunday, with Inter travelling to Udinese as Fiorentina face league leaders Juventus.

Gennaro Gattuso said Napoli players have decided to go into a training retreat after hitting "rock bottom" following a 2-0 loss at home to Fiorentina.

Napoli's season hit a new low after Saturday's defeat against Fiorentina – a third consecutive Serie A loss leaving Gattuso's side languishing in 13th position.

Gattuso has lost four of his first five league matches in charge since replacing Carlo Ancelotti in December as frustration grows and tension builds.

Now, Napoli are going into a training retreat ahead of games against Lazio and Juventus, revealed head coach Gattuso post-match.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis took legal action when first-team stars reportedly rebelled against a training retreat during Ancelotti's tenure earlier this season.

"I spoke to the squad and they made the decision to go into a training retreat from this evening," Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia. "It was their decision. We can't underestimate any detail. We need to look each other in the eye, stay together and say what needs to be said.

"We have to find solutions, because what we're doing right now is not enough."

Runners-up last season and in 2017-18, Napoli have looked a shadow of themselves – lacking energy, creativity and passion.

"We must first and foremost apologise to the fans and the whole city, because the performance was embarrassing," Gattuso told DAZN.

"In the past we had decent performances, but here other than the first 20-25 minutes, there was a lot that needed work.

"We can't look for alibis, we have hit rock bottom here and need to find out what is happening. It looks as if we just met this morning, put the jerseys on and went on to the pitch. There is no organisation or unity, we are all at sea.

"It's strange, because the team trains hard during the week and does well, then we get out there on match day and don't do anything. We're sluggish, we let the opposition through, we create little. Nothing worked this evening and it's only right we take responsibility for that.

"I can't explain it, as I felt the team would put in a great performance tonight and I was let down. The team has no soul. We thought that we were recovering from the earlier situation, but evidently we're still sick."

Patrick Cutrone has left Wolves and returned to Italy, signing for Fiorentina on loan.

Fiorentina stated the loan was for two years and included an obligation to buy, while a release from Wolves detailed it as an 18-month deal with a purchase option.

Wolves shelled out a reported £16million to sign Cutrone from Milan in July and the striker made 24 appearances in all competitions.

However, the Italy international started just nine games in all competitions and failed to complete the 90 minutes once.

Cutrone, who scored three goals for the club, was picked in Nuno Espirito Santo's starting line-up once in the past 15 matches and has opted to return to Serie A.

Fiorentina will hope Cutrone can rediscover his best form in familiar surroundings, with the club sitting 15th in Serie A, four points above the relegation zone.

The 22-year-old made his professional debut for Milan in May 2017 and went on to score 27 goals in 90 appearances.

Cutrone's only senior international cap came against Argentina in March 2018. He has more recently been part of the Under-21 set-up.

Page 1 of 6
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.