Romelu Lukaku was Inter's hero, converting an injury-time penalty for his second goal of the game as Antonio Conte's men came from behind to beat Bologna 2-1 at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara.

Despite enjoying the better of the first half, title-chasing Inter looked set to drop points when Roberto Soriano opened the scoring in the 59th minute, courtesy of a shot that took a deflection off Stefan de Vrij.

However, Lukaku pulled the Nerazzurri level with 15 minutes remaining, pouncing to convert a rebound from a tight angle.

And the striker held his nerve from the penalty spot to secure three points after strike partner Lautaro Martinez had been clumsily fouled by Riccardo Orsolini.

Bologna's players and coaching staff were left furious by the decision to award Inter a spot-kick, soon after former Inter forward Rodrigo Palacio had seen an appeal of his own turned down at the other end, but Inter will not care after they claimed their ninth win from 11 league games to reclaim top spot ahead of Juventus' clash with Torino.

Antonio Conte is not concerned about speculation linking Lautaro Martinez with Barcelona and has challenged the Inter forward to take his game to the next level.

Reports in Spain have suggested Barcelona are eyeing the Argentina international as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, while Manchester United are also rumoured to be interested in the player.

Martinez scored for Inter in their 2-1 Champions League loss at Camp Nou last month and already has seven goals in all competitions this term, striking up an excellent partnership with Romelu Lukaku.

Yet despite the speculation, Conte has told the 22-year-old to continue working hard if he wants to maximise his obvious potential.

"We look to the present to build the future," Conte said at his pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Bologna.

"He is working well and has made good progress. He can still make further progress because he is still only 22 years old.

"He has to continue to work hard. Much of the transfer talk comes from that and it cannot be seen as a problem at this moment - there are bigger concerns.

"He must try to be more selfish when he has a chance to score. It's all part of his growth process. I want to improve all of my players.

While Martinez has thrived under the coaching of Conte, team-mate Valentino Lazaro has struggled since arriving from Hertha Berlin in a €22million deal during the close season.

Amid talk that Inter are looking to bring in a new right-sided player, Conte has vowed to give the Austria international a chance to justify his price tag.

"He has been used seven times this season and for his national side he is very promising," he said. "At Hertha there is less pressure than he has found in Milan. 

"He is working hard and we will give him the opportunities to start games. It was a big investment for him."

Inter have won eight of their opening 10 league matches - equalling their best Serie A return at this stage - but are still one point behind champions Juventus.

The Bianconeri's period of dominance started with Conte at the helm, but the Italian coach has played down comparisons between his first seasons at Juve and his early work at Inter.

"There is an important difference - we did not have cup competitions in the first year at Juve," he said. "We could dedicate ourselves, heart and soul, to the league. We played in the league, and then the league again.

"It is not the same thing here - the expenditure is very high. One thing that I am sure of, here we also have to play a thousand miles per hour. If we take our foot off the accelerator, it will be difficult to win games.

"We must sweat for the victory. That is beyond doubt and must be clear to all the players."

Barcelona are planning for life after Luis Suarez.

With Suarez now aged 32, the clock is ticking on his career at Camp Nou.

Barca are identifying potential replacements and have their sights on an Argentina international setting Serie A and Europe alight.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ INTERESTS BARCA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are interested in Inter star Lautaro Martinez, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Ernesto Valverde's Barca are looking for a long-term replacement for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who turns 33 in January. 

And the front page of Friday's newspaper says Argentina international Martinez fits the bill for Barca amid reported interest from Manchester United.

 

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Roma have opened talks with Manchester United about signing Chris Smalling permanently, according to the Express. Smalling is on loan from United and the English defender scored his first goal for Roma during the week. The Red Devils are reportedly seeking £17.2million (€20m).

- Remaining at Old Trafford and Sport Italia claims Paul Pogba was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain during the previous transfer window. Pogba was heavily linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus .

- Tuttosport says Juventus are ready to make another attempt to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco. The Spain international has struggled for regular game time and Madrid are reportedly holding out for €70m. The Italian champions have also been linked to Manchester United teenager Tahith Chong, who is out of contract at the end of the season, via the Daily Mail.

- Barcelona's Arturo Vidal is ready to snub the Chinese Super League in favour for a move to Inter, says InterNews. Vidal continues to be heavily linked to a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter, while Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG are reportedly interested.

United could be set for a raid on Juve. Tuttosport claims the Old Lady will allow Emre Can to leave in January as United, Bayern Munich and PSG eye the Germany international.

- According to the Daily Mail, former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is the front-runner to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal. Emery is under mounting pressure in London.

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham may have been humiliated 7-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but he is a target for the German giants.

With Niko Kovac overseeing an inconsistent start to the season in Munich, Bayern are reportedly willing to move on from the former Eintracht Frankfurt boss.

That could open the door for Pochettino, whose Tottenham have struggled to reach the heights of last season following their memorable run to the Champions League final.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN CONSIDER POCH

Bayern Munich are considering Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino as a replacement for Niko Kovac, according to Sport1.

Kovac has found himself under increasing criticism following Bayern's inconsistent start to the season.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag – who previously worked with Bayern's reserve team – has also been linked, but sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has reportedly identified Pochettino as the man to replace Kovac should he depart.

 

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- According to Mundo Deportivo, Atletico Madrid are eyeing Napoli's Faouzi Ghoulam. The left-back is out of favour and set to leave the Serie A outfit in January.

- Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are keen to sign Borussia Dortmund's Lukasz Piszczek and Juventus midfielder Emre Can, claims Soccerlink. Piszczek's contract expires at the end of the season, while Can is reportedly eager to leave after being left out of Juve's Champions League squad.

- Sport Bild says Liverpool have joined the race to sign Valencia sensation Ferran Torres. The 19-year-old winger has attracted interest from Dortmund and Barcelona.

Arkadiusz Milik has agreed a contract extension with Napoli, reports Calciomercato. The Poland international's current deal runs out in 2021.

- Former AC Milan boss Gennaro Gattuso is favourite to take charge of Udinese. It comes as Sky Sport Italia, Tuttomercatoweb and La Gazzetta dello Sport claim Igor Tudor's position is being considered after consecutive 7-1 and 4-0 routs in Serie A.

Dortmund have set their sights on Hertha Berlin's Javairo Dilrosun, according to Bild. As the German side reportedly prepare for life without Jadon Sancho amid ongoing links to Manchester United, former Manchester City youth-team player Dilrosun is on their radar.

Juventus are not resting on their laurels.

Despite their domestic dominance, Juve are craving European glory as they eye a first Champions League crown since 1995.

So much so that they have three Premier League stars on their mind.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE WATCH SALAH, SON & ERIKSEN

Juventus scouts watched Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen during Liverpool's Premier League clash with Tottenham, according to Tuttosport.

Seeking a ninth successive Scudetto, Serie A champions Juve are prepared to spend heavily in pursuit of Champions League glory.

With money no obstacle as they reap the benefits of Cristiano Ronaldo's presence, Liverpool star Salah and Tottenham duo Son and Eriksen are reportedly on Juve's list.

 

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- The Sun claims Jose Mourinho wants to become the first manager to win major trophies with three English clubs as the former Manchester United boss is linked to Arsenal. Gunners head coach Unai Emery is under pressure at the Emirates Stadium amid growing fan frustration.

Manchester United are hopeful of completing a deal for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in January, reports Soccerlink. With Dembele's future uncertain, Lyon are lining up Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.

- Staying at Old Trafford and United's name has again been thrown into the mix for Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old Italy international is fast becoming one of the most sought-after players in Europe, attracting interest from Juventus, Manchester City and Inter. Now, The Suns says United are weigning up a £40million move for Tonali after sending scouts to watch him once more.

- Calciomercato claims Napoli are considering a January move for Benfica full-back Alejandro Grimaldo. The 24-year-old Spaniard has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham and Barcelona.

Newcastle United are close to agreeing a deal to sign Strasbourg's Ibrahima Sissoko. The 21-year-old French midfielder is poised to make the switch when the transfer window opens in January.

Antonio Conte fears Inter's hectic schedule could eventually catch up with his team despite the Nerazzurri moving top of Serie A on Tuesday.

Inter leapfrogged Juventus by two points atop the summit, albeit having played a game more, after beating Brescia 2-1 thanks to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku at Stadio Rigamonti. 

However, head coach Conte – who is without the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Stefano Sensi due to injury – admitted his concerns about Inter running out of steam amid a busy domestic and European schedule. 

"It becomes difficult to talk about the game, because the same players are out there constantly. They struggled to an extraordinary degree," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"It was our fourth game in nine days, with the same players. Any situation or result is acceptable at that point. All we can do is thank them for the spirit they showed to hang in until the end.

"Now we're only halfway there, as we have another game with Bologna, then Borussia Dortmund and we'll have seven games in 20 days before we get to rest. It's an anomaly and I haven't seen any other side with a fixture list like that, so it seemed very strange to me.

"Some games you need to win just by suffering. They must understand that for many reasons, as for example the hosts are pushing to turn the result around, you have to soak up the pressure, hang in there and I challenge anyone to play four games in nine days while getting a victory at Brescia."

Conte added: "We're top of the table, but pushing the engine to the max and it can't go much longer."

Martinez made it seven club goals for the campaign but conceded it was a tough night for Inter, who were made to sweat following Milan Skriniar's late own goal.

"It was difficult, a very intense game against a team that moves very well," Martinez told Sky Sport Italia.

"We knew that it was going to be tough to take the three points here, but we tried to impose our football, knowing full well Brescia would clam up and defend.

"Some fatigue is natural, as we play with a great deal of intensity every three days, so that needs a lot of physical effort. We are nonetheless happy with the work we're doing for our coach.

"As always, we take it one game at a time, know we are doing very well and it's important to once again return from an away fixture with three points."

Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku were on target as Inter moved top of Serie A with a 2-1 victory at Brescia.

Martinez opened the scoring with a deflected first-half effort before Lukaku got in on the act with a stunning 63rd-minute solo goal in Tuesday's clash at Stadio Mario Rigamonti.

Milan Skriniar's own goal 14 minutes from time gave Brescia hope, yet they were left to rue missed chances by Mario Balotelli on what proved a frustrating outing for the striker against the side where he made his name.

The win sent Antonio Conte's side two points above reigning champions Juventus at the summit, although the Bianconeri can reclaim top spot when they face Genoa on Wednesday.

Inter were deservedly ahead by the 23rd minute, although there was more than a slice of luck about their goal. Martinez's long-range effort took a wicked deflection off Andrea Cistana and looped over Brescia goalkeeper Enrico Alfonso.

Brescia were much improved in the second half, with Balotelli threatening with a low strike before failing to get a decisive touch from close range following a goalmouth scramble.

The home side were made to pay in the 63rd minute when Lukaku cut in superbly from the right and fired a fine left-footed shot from 20 yards inside the far post.

Balotelli had a header kept out by Samir Handanovic and blasted the rebound over, but Brescia pulled one back when the goalkeeper blocked Dimitri Bisoli's cross but saw it rebound in off Skriniar.

However, an equaliser in the closing stages proved beyond them and Inter held on to return to winning ways after a 2-2 draw against Parma on Saturday.

The Gareth Bale transfer saga continues to roll on as he remains frozen out at Spanish giants Real Madrid with seemingly no way back.

The 30-year-old was linked with a move to China in the summer but the move did not materialise and Bale has since continued to find himself out of favour with Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

All is not lost for Bale though with three Premier League clubs battling for the Welshman's signature in January, as he builds towards a possible Euro 2020 campaign with Wales next June.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TRIO KEEN TO SIGN BALE IN JANUARY

Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all been linked with a January swoop for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, according to AS.

The three Premier League giants are seeking solutions to solve inconsistent starts to their respective seasons and believe the Welshman could provide a timely boost leading into 2020.

Bale is seen as the perfect fit for a return to Premier League football, having maintained his good reputation from time spent with Southampton and Spurs, but it remains to be seen whether Madrid's asking price or the player's wage demands will be met. 

Marca believe Bale could revisit a potential move to China, however, with the player's agent believed to be in talks with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.

 

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- Inter Milan are hopeful of signing Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen on a free transfer this summer, according to The Guardian.

- Sky Italia say Inter are also considering a move for out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic, which would see the Serbian reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Staying in Serie A and Corriere dello Sport claim Roma have rejected the opportunity to sign former Sunderland flop Jack Rodwell on a free transfer.

- Corriere dello Sport also believe Napoli have pulled the plug on a potential move for Salzburg star Erling Braut Haaland as they expect the 19-year-old to join Manchester United in January.

- Manchester City will replace Leroy Sane with Real Sociedad playmaker Mikel Oyarzabal should the Germany winger get his move to Bayern Munich, according to Sky Sports.

- Turkish news outlet Takvim claim Besiktas are keen to cancel their two-year loan agreement with Liverpool for goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Gianluigi Buffon says it could take another two months before Maurizio Sarri's masterplan for Juventus is fully implemented.

The former Chelsea and Napoli boss is attempting to instil a more attacking approach in the Serie A champions following the departure of Massimiliano Allegri and his more pragmatic style at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Despite sitting atop Serie A after nine games, four teams have scored more goals than them this season – something Buffon expects to change by the start of 2020.

"You are starting to see something different; a constant pursuit of attacking football that we did not have in the last few years," he told TV show Tiki Taka.

"We will see his full system in two months because we could not rely on some important players in the initial part of the season."

Inter are just a point behind Juve at the Serie A summit and look well placed to threaten the Bianconeri's chances of securing a ninth consecutive league title.

Buffon is looking forward to an almighty battle with the Nerazzurri and says he has been particularly impressed with striker Lautaro Martinez, who has six goals in all competitions this season.

"I have great respect for them; they are a great competitor this year," he added. "If Champions League was out of the picture, we would go toe-to-toe up until the end. The continental competition could make you lose some points.

"[Inter coach] Antonio Conte is extraordinary and can pull off some miracles. Lautaro Martinez is in great form. He is very confident and has something more than their other attackers."

After a 1-1 draw with Lecce on Saturday, Juventus will hope to return to winning ways when they host Genoa on Wednesday.

Rumours linking Paul Pogba to Real Madrid are refusing to go away.

Pogba – nursing an ankle injury which is set to keep him sidelined until December – wanted to leave Manchester United in the previous transfer window but a move did not materialise.

With the January window approaching, Madrid are eyeing the French star again.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID PLOTTING POGBA PURCHASE

Real Madrid are preparing to make a January bid for Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to OK Diario.

Pogba was wanted by Madrid and former club Juventus in the previous window as he eyed an Old Trafford exit, yet United were unwilling to part with their prized asset.

But with Pogba reportedly set to make it clear he will not renew his United contract beyond 2021, Madrid are lining up a €150million (£129.5m) offer.

 

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- Another Frenchman is also reportedly high on Madrid's radar. AS reports the Spanish powerhouse are hoping to take advantage of a tense relationship between Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe and head coach Thomas Tuchel. Madrid are determined to lure Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season.

- Linked with Madrid and LaLiga champions Barcelona, in-demand Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is also wanted by Premier League holders Manchester City. Gazzetta dello Sport claims City are set to make an approach for the Spain international.

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona are interested in Inter forward Lautaro Martinez. The Argentina international has been linked with Barca after his agent previously revealed the club's interest in Martinez. Now, Ernesto Valverde's side are eyeing the in-form marksman – who has also reportedly attracted the attention of Manchester United – as Inter pursue Barca pair Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal.

United are prepared to meet Borussia Dortmund's demands for England sensation Jadon Sancho, reports the Mirror. Sancho has also been linked to Liverpool and Madrid.

Stefano Sensi's exploits at Inter have not gone unnoticed. On loan from Sassuolo with the option to buy, Sport says there is already contact between Barca, Inter and the player's agent.

Take your pick: Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City?

Napoli star Fabian Ruiz is in demand following his exploits in Serie A since leaving Real Betis in 2018.

LaLiga giants Madrid are keen to bring Spanish midfielder Fabian to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEPPING UP FABIAN INTEREST

Real Madrid are prepared to offer €20million and Isco for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Mundo Deportivo.

In-demand Napoli star Fabian is wanted by Madrid, LaLiga champions Barcelona and Premier League holders Manchester City.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and Madrid are determined to bring the Spain international to the Santiago Bernabeu, though Napoli are reportedly uninterested in an exchange and wanted a bigger transfer fee.

 

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- According the Mirror, Manchester United have been given the green light for a £125million double swoop to sign Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller. Havertz is wanted by Europe's elite, while Muller is searching for more game time.

United have been put off signing Real Madrid's Gareth Bale due to his injury record, reports the Daily Mail. Bale's name continues to be mentioned amid Madrid's interest in United midfielder Paul Pogba.

Inter are ready to make January bids for Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal and Manchester United's Nemanja Matic, according to Corriere della Sera. Sport also claims Inter are in talks with Barca for Ivan Rakitic.

- AS claims Barcelona want Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman to replace head coach Ernesto Valverde, who is out of contract at season's end. PSV's Mark van Bommel is also on the list of alternatives.

Manchester City are set to offer Wayne Rooney's son Kai the chance to join their academy, says the Mirror. Kai joined City in 2016 during Wayne's time at Premier League rivals Manchester United.

- Soccer Link reports Lyon are open to selling Manchester United target and star striker Moussa Dembele.

AC Milan director Paolo Maldini believes "fear" could hold Zlatan Ibrahimovic back from returning to Serie A.

LA Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic's contract is set to expire and the former Milan, Inter and Juventus striker has been linked with a move back to Italy.

Ibrahimovic, whose side were eliminated from the MLS play-offs by Los Angeles FC, claimed he would score 20 goals a season in Serie A amid growing links to Napoli, Bologna and Inter.

The possibility of Ibrahimovic returning to Milan has also been mentioned as the Rossoneri struggle for goals, however, Maldini cast doubt over the 38-year-old's Italy comeback.

"Ibra would be a dream return for many reasons, but I think within his mind there is a little fear that he won't be the dominant Ibra of old," Maldini told Sky Sport Italia.

"I remember when [former Milan head coach] Carlo Ancelotti put me on the bench for a derby and that's when I realised, I could not accept a season like that. I don't know if Ibra could accept that either.

"Krzysztof Piatek is a good striker. He needs to think more about playing with the team, but his strength is scoring goals."

Ibrahimovic has flourished since moving to Los Angeles from Manchester United in 2018 – scoring 53 goals across two seasons for the Galaxy.

 

 

Bayern Munich sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic strongly dismissed reports linking Thomas Muller with a January exit from the Bundesliga champions.

Muller has been heavily linked to struggling Premier League giants Manchester United and Serie A outfit Inter since revealing he was considering his future at Bayern.

Frustrated with his lack of game time under Niko Kovac, Germany international Muller has started Bayern's last two matches, including Saturday's 2-1 win over Union Berlin.

Amid the speculation regarding Muller, Salihamidzic told Sky Sport pre-game: "We have two long-term injuries, and you're trying to convince us that we're giving someone up.

"This is a novel you write all the time. We are not thinking about the players we should give up but looking to bring the team back to running again and playing stable football."

After the match, which was won by Benjamin Pavard and Robert Lewandowski, Muller joked about the rumours.

"I've heard that it will be colder here from Monday, then I have the change in air here too," the 30-year-old said.

Muller emerged from Bayern's youth system in 2008, and he has since won eight Bundesliga trophies with the Bavarian powerhouse.

He has also celebrated Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, DFB-Pokal and DFL-Supercup titles during his time in Munich.

Antonio Conte said he is worried about injuries affecting his Inter squad in the coming weeks after his side were held to a 2-2 draw by Parma.

Kwadwo Asamoah and Stefan de Vrij were left out of Conte's starting line-up at San Siro, where goals in either half from Antonio Candreva and Romelu Lukaku helped to earn the Nerazzurri a point.

The result leaves Inter a point behind Serie A leaders Juventus, who drew 1-1 with Lecce earlier in the day, and Conte expressed his concerns in the midst of a busy fixture schedule.

Inter play their next three games away at Brescia, Bologna and Borussia Dortmund in the space of eight days, and Conte told Sky Sports: "This was our third game in six days. We play more or less the same again and we will have difficulties.

"We are not calm about this. We have four other games in a short time.

"De Vrij had a problem with his adductor and Asamoah with his knee. It becomes difficult to play in two competitions with a squad reduced to the minimum."

Conte is without Alexis Sanchez until after Christmas due to a foot tendon problem and he will monitor the fitness of Danilo D'Ambrosio and Stefano Sensi as they recover from injuries over the coming weeks.

The Inter boss picked out 20-year-old defender Alessandro Bastoni, who started against Parma, and 17-year-old forward Sebastiano Esposito as focal points of Inter's future plans, but indicated that he would consult with the club's board to establish a plan for his squad given the growing list of absentees.

"We must make assessments with the club and understand where we can do better," said Conte.

"I understand that it is part of a growth project, and we are also focusing on young people like Bastoni and Esposito and we need to be patient, but I am worried anyway."

Parma forward Yann Karamoh scored one and set up another on his San Siro return to help his side earn a 2-2 draw and deny Inter top spot in Serie A.

Juventus dropped points for just the second time this season in their 1-1 draw with Lecce earlier on Saturday but Inter, despite taking the lead, could not take full advantage.

Karamoh, whose loan to Parma from the Nerazzurri is set to become permanent at the end of the season, cancelled out Antonio Candreva's fortuitous opener and set up Gervinho to put Parma ahead in the 30th minute. 

Romelu Lukaku equalised early in the second half despite being in an offside position in the build-up - his sixth Serie A goal awarded after a lengthy VAR check - but Inter could not find a winner and remain a point adrift of leaders Juve.

No Serie A side had scored more first-half goals this season than Inter prior to kick-off and they were ahead inside 23 minutes - Candreva's half-volley from the edge of the box deflecting off Kastriot Dermaku to leave Luigi Sepe wrong-footed.

The visitors responded in style as Karamoh pounced on a loose pass from Marcelo Brozovic, carried the ball forward and picked out the top-left corner with a stunning strike.

Gervinho put Parma in front four minutes later following another sloppy ball from Brozovic, which Karamoh again profited from by surging forward and picking out his team-mate for a low finish from 10 yards.

Inter were back on level terms six minutes into the second half through Lukaku's close-range finish, the goal allowed to stand despite the Belgian standing in an illegal position when Brozovic played in Candreva to tee him up.

Gervinho was denied by Samir Handanovic and Karamoh also had an effort kept out as Parma refused to give up, but the match finished all square

 

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