Inter 4-2 Sassuolo: Lukaku scores double as Nerazzurri tighten top-four grip

By Sports Desk May 13, 2023

Inter's great week continued as Romelu Lukaku scored a brilliant double in a 4-2 win over Sassuolo at San Siro on Saturday.

With one foot in the Champions League final after Wednesday's 2-0 first-leg victory over city rivals Milan, Inter took advantage of the Rossoneri losing at Spezia to put even more space between the two sides in Serie A.

Lukaku put the hosts ahead when he arrowed in from distance before Ruan put through his own net, while Lautaro Martinez scored via a deflection as the Nerazzurri earned a seventh straight win in all competitions.

Matheus Henrique and Davide Frattesi pulled goals back for the mid-table visitors, but Lukaku smashed in a fourth for Simone Inzaghi's men late on as they move up to third and crucially five points above Milan in fifth, putting them in the driver's seat to seal Champions League qualification with three games to play.

A VAR review came to Inter's rescue early on, ruling Armand Lauriente offside after his cross was poked home at the back post by Domenico Berardi.

The hosts had a goal of their own ruled out minutes later, Andrea Consigli unable to keep out Joaquin Correa's effort only for the offside flag to curtail the celebrations.

Henrique and Frattesi spurned golden opportunities to put the visitors ahead, and they were made to pay for those misses as Lukaku's long-range drive flew into the top corner four minutes before half-time.

Martinez came on at the break as Inter pressed to double their lead, and they would do exactly that when Ruan sliced Raoul Bellanova's cross-shot into his own net.

The hosts received another huge slice of luck to make it 3-0 before the hour mark, Martinez seeing his effort hit the beleaguered Ruan and completely wrong-foot Consigli before nestling in.

Sassuolo narrowed the deficit through late headers by Henrique and Frattesi but Lukaku would seal the win when he coolly fired past Consigli from Marcelo Brozovic's pass to make the points safe.

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    In an unfortunate developing situation, Jamaica and Aston Villa winger Leon Bailey has withdrawn from the Reggae Boyz 26-man squad named for the upcoming Copa America tournament. His inclusion and subsequent withdrawal comes amid controversy and conflicting statements from Bailey and his representatives.

    Bailey, who was suspended for breaking curfew during the November international break, has not featured in Jamaica's recent matches, including the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against the Dominican Republic and Dominica earlier this month. Following the release of the squad by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Wednesday, Bailey took to Instagram on Wednesday night to label the selection as "misleading information."

    The winger’s father, Craig Butler, reiterated Bailey’s stance on social media, stating that his son's decision to step back from international duty remains unchanged. "We kindly ask that you respect his wishes at this time," Butler wrote. "Posts made on social media that are surfacing at this time is a misrepresentation of his position. We wish the Reggae Boyz well in the Copa America competition and he, along with his management team, will continue to support the Jamaica National Team at all levels … change must come…Respect and One Love for all."

    The JFF has not commented on whether they received a commitment from Bailey to participate in the tournament.

    Bailey, 26, recently expressed his deep love for his country and his frustrations with the national team environment. In a recent interview with The Cut, he said, "Honestly I don’t know when I will be back in the national team colours. I love my country to the core. I am always here in Jamaica. I can’t tell when I will be back in the national team colours. Once I feel like I have seen a little bit of change … I don’t know how to explain it but why I’m taking a break is because it is too much for my head sometimes."

    He continued, "A lot of people don’t understand or look deeply into why I am representing. I really love my country. I love my country so much that I am willing to get injured, willing to risk not going back to a starting Aston Villa team. I make so many sacrifices to make the national team. People don’t understand that and that’s what hurts me. It’s too much for my head sometimes."

    The Reggae Boyz squad for the Copa America is as follows:

    Goalkeepers: Shaquan Davis, Andre Blake, Coniah Boyce-Clarke, Jahmali Waite

    Defenders: Dexter Lembikisa, Di'Shorn Bernard, Greg Leigh, Damion Lowe, Michael Hector, Richard King, Wesley Harding, Ethan Pinnock, Jon Bell, Amari'i Bell

    Midfielders: Kasey Palmer, Kevon Lambert, Bobby Reid, Alex Marshall, Joel Latibeaudiere, Karoy Anderson

    Forwards: Shamar Nicholson, Renaldo Cephas, Michail Antonio, Demarai Gray, Kaheim Dixon, Leon Bailey*

     

    With Bailey's participation in doubt, the Reggae Boyz will have to navigate the Copa America without one of their key players, unless further developments arise. The situation remains fluid, and fans are eagerly awaiting clarity on Bailey’s final decision regarding his national team duties.

  • New York City v Columbus Crew: Cushing pleased with preparations for MLS return New York City v Columbus Crew: Cushing pleased with preparations for MLS return

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    NYCFC headed into the international break having achieved their longest winning run in a single domestic campaign since 2019 (five games), leaving them third in the Eastern Conference and six points behind Inter Miami with two games in hand. 

    Cushing explained the break in play halted his side's momentum, but was pleased to see a renewed focus among the players upon their return to training. 

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    “We know Columbus is going to be difficult, but I’m really pleased with the way the players have prepared this week.”

    Columbus come into the fixture on a winning streak of their own, beating Orlando City 2-0 away from home to secure a third straight away success last time out in MLS.

    The Crew have had two weeks to recover from their CONCACAF Champions Cup defeat against Pachuca, in which many of their players spent the two days leading up to the match suffering from food poisoning. 

    "It’s true that something happened over there," head coach Wilfried Nancy said. "We were all good, and suddenly when we woke up, we were all sick.

    "So, it was difficult for me, during the game also, to assess and to do changes and to help my team to get better because they weren't in a normal state."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    New York City – Alonso Martinez

    Martínez came off the bench to score a hat-trick in nine minutes and 57 seconds in the second half of NYCFC’s win over San Jose Earthquakes last time out.

    In doing so, Martínez became the seventh player in MLS history to score three goals from the bench.

    Columbus Crew – Diego Rossi 

    Rossi has scored four goals in his last three MLS games, the fourth time he has managed to do so in his career. 

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    MATCH PREDICTION – COLUMBUS CREW WIN

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    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    New York City – 34%

    Draw – 25.8%

    Columbus Crew – 40.3%

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    Terzic departs after leading his side to the Champions League final, which they lost 2-0 to Real Madrid at Wembley earlier this month. 

    The 41-year-old, who was in his second spell in charge of Dortmund, asked Die Schwarzgelben to terminate his contract, which was due to expire next year.

    "Even though it really hurts, I want to inform you that I will leave BVB today. It was a huge honour to lead this club to a DFB Cup final and recently a Champions League final," Terzic said in a club statement.

    "After our final at Wembley, I asked the club bosses for a talk, because I've been at BVB for over 10 years now, with five as a coach and two-and-a-half as head coach, and I have the feeling that our new beginning should also come with someone new on the touchline.

    "After intense discussions, my feeling hasn't changed. I wish Borussia Dortmund all the best. It's not goodbye, but till next time."

    The German had previously been interim boss for seven months in the 2020/21 season, guiding Dortmund to their fifth DFB-Pokal title. 

    Terzić oversaw 96 competitive fixtures during his two seasons at the helm, having stepped into the role on a permanent basis before the 2022-23 campaign, winning 55 matches and averaging 1.93 points per game. 

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