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.

Matteo Darmian was the unlikely hero as Inter made it 11 league wins on the spin with a 1-0 triumph over Cagliari, in the process restoring their 11-point lead at the top of Serie A.

Antonio Conte's table-topping side turned in a sluggish performance in the early kick-off on Sunday, though eventually scored the only goal of the game with 13 minutes remaining.

Darmian arrived at the back post to convert Achraf Hakimi's low cross from Inter's right flank, the former Manchester United defender's finish finally breaking Cagliari's stubborn resistance.

Milan had closed the gap to the leaders on Saturday thanks to a 3-1 triumph at Parma, despite a red card for Zlatan Ibrahimovic after 60 minutes.

Inter appeared in danger of failing to win in the league for the first time since January 23 against opponents who arrived at San Siro having lost three on the spin, a run of results that had increased the prospects of Cagliari dropping into the second tier.

However, Leonardo Semplici's strugglers frustrated their hosts for the majority of proceedings, aided by an excellent performance from Guglielmo Vicario.

The visitors' goalkeeper twice kept out long-range attempts from Christian Eriksen, as well as denying Darmian in the first half.

Stefano Sensi also saw a strike kept out by Vicario, who had some help from the crossbar when Stefan de Vrij's powerful header from Eriksen's delivery left him rooted to the spot.

Conte sent on Lautaro Martinez in the 70th minute, though it was fellow substitute Hakimi who made the more telling contribution in a cameo appearance, delivering the ball into the path of Darmian to slide in and finish.

Inter's Serie A title charge remains on course after goals from Romelu Lukaku, Matteo Darmian and Alexis Sanchez sealed a 3-0 win over Genoa at San Siro on Sunday. 

Belgium international Lukaku set them on their way to a fifth consecutive top-flight win with a goal inside the opening minute. 

Antonio Conte's side largely dominated proceedings thereafter, with Nicolo Barella striking the crossbar, and they wrapped up all three points in the second period through Darmian and Sanchez.

The result moved them seven points ahead of second-placed Milan, although Stefano Pioli's side can rein them back in with victory over Roma later on Sunday.

Inter started in blistering fashion, Lukaku firing into Mattia Perin's bottom-right corner from just outside the penalty area after 32 seconds – Inter's second-fastest Serie A goal since Opta started tracking such data in 2004-05.

Darmian clipped wide after 14 minutes, while Barella hit the bar with a long-range effort soon after.

Perin then kept out Lukaku's powerful strike shortly after the half-hour mark as Inter ultimately failed to double their advantage before the interval.

The hosts put the result beyond doubt in the 69th minute when Darmian lashed home his first Serie A goal for the club from 12 yards after being picked out by Lukaku. 

Substitute Sanchez then added gloss to the scoreline 13 minutes from full-time, heading in from close range after Lukaku's effort had been repelled by Perin. 

 

 

 

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