Second-placed AC Milan registered their third straight Serie A victory with a 3-1 triumph at Verona on Sunday.

The visitors, looking for their fifth consecutive win in all competitions, started like a team on form, going close through Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor before Theo Hernandez put their noses in front before the interval.

Pulisic doubled their lead just after the break and, although Verona then made a fist of it and made things interesting by pulling a goal back midway through the second half through Tijjani Noslin, Samuel Chukwueze’s 79th-minute strike for the visitors put the game to bed.

Milan made their attacking intentions clear from the outset and could have had the opener in the fourth minute when Hernandez swung a cross in towards Fikayo Tomori, but the England international diverted wide of the target.

The away side were edging ever closer and Okafor let rip from outside the box with a volley that was magnificently tipped over the bar by Lorenzo Montipo.

It was one-way traffic through the opening quarter and Milan again went close to breaking the deadlock when Ruben Loftus-Cheek let the ball roll to his ex-Chelsea team mate Pulisic, who rattled the crossbar.

It took Verona 30 minutes to fire their first warning shot of the encounter, Noslin working his way into the box and flashing a low effort just past the far post.

Milan grabbed the opener just before half-time when Hernandez latched onto Rafael Leao’s through ball and, after seeing his low cross blocked straight back into his path, lifted a neat finish into the Verona net.

The visitors doubled their advantage five minutes after the break and Hernandez was at the heart of it again when his shot was palmed into the path of Pulisic, who tapped into an empty net from close range.

Verona needed to make a mark in the game but their second big chance went begging when Noslin headed a Fabien Centonze cross over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

The hosts did pull a goal back in the 64th minute, Noslin finally getting his deserved goal when he knocked the ball past Loftus-Cheek before firing into the roof of the net from the edge of the box.

Verona then went in search of an equaliser and had a couple of chances from long range in quick succession through Ondrej Duda and then Tomas Suslov.

But Milan restored their two-goal cushion when they struck a third through Chukwueze just five minutes after his 74th-minute introduction from the bench.

Ismael Bennacer’s corner was headed out to Chukwueze on the edge of the box and the Nigeria international volleyed past Montipo and into the bottom corner to seal the win, leaving Verona two points above the drop zone.

Moise Kean hit the post in added-time as Juventus continued their run of disappointing results with a goalless draw at home to Genoa.

Substitute Kean came close to winning it for the Massimilano Allegri’s side when he struck the woodwork in the closing moments but it was another lacklustre showing for a team with just one victory from their last eight Serie A matches.

Dusan Vlahovic, just back from suspension, made things even worse in the dying seconds when he was sent off – booked initially for a foul then again for dissent.

The Serbian could have finished things himself when he spurned a good chance in the 75th minute, but mid-table Genoa hung on for a welcome point.

The visitors were first to threaten from an early corner, Mattia Bani winning the header but unable to beat the dive of Wojciech Szczesny.

Szczesny had little to do as the game wore on but was required to mop up soon for a second time in quick succession when Vitinha got a half-volley away. Tempers soon flared between Danilo and Mateo Retegui, with the pair split up by the referee before play could resume.

Juve took their time to establish a rhythm in attack, but eventually stitched together a nice move involving Weston McKennie and Fabio Miretti. Federico Gatti took the chance to shoot but was denied by Josep Martinez.

The hosts continued to press forward without precision, Gatti trying unsuccessfully to make something out of Filip Kostic’s pass, Gleison Bremer heading wide from a corner and Federico Chiesa tumbling inside the penalty area to no avail.

Genoa’s counters were no sharper, with a couple of long shots failing to worry Szczesny.

Looking for a lift, Allegri made a triple substitution on the hour as Adrien Rabiot, Kenan Yildiz and Samuel Iling-Junior entered the fray. Things began to improve for the home side, who created a couple of half-chances for Vlahovic before Iling-Junior produced a flash of inspiration.

Letting rip from outside the area the England under-21 international came closer than anyone to breaking the deadlock, with Martinez getting a decisive touch.

Genoa’s resistance should have been broken with 15 minutes left to play, Andrea Cambiaso’s cross picking out Vlahovic in a scoring position only for the striker to fluff his lines.

That was as good as it got, despite the best efforts of the bright Iling-Junior, who had one last attempt on goal, and Kean as Genoa’s hard work earned them a share of the spoils following back-to-back defeats.

Inter Milan and Napoli will both look to put Champions League disappointment behind them when they meet in Serie A on Sunday.

Napoli exited the competition in the last 16 on Tuesday, beaten 4-2 on aggregate by Barcelona, and a day later Inter lost out to Atletico Madrid on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

The result was a bitter pill to swallow for the runaway Serie A leaders, who were on a run of 13 consecutive victories in all competitions and had hoped to go one better than last season, when they were beaten in the Champions League final by Manchester City.

Inter went two up in the tie but Atletico fought back to level through Memphis Depay’s goal late in normal time and, after missed chances for Simone Inzaghi’s side in extra-time, they missed three of their five penalties, with Lautaro Martinez sending the final effort high over the bar.

Inter seem certain to lift silverware this season domestically, going into the weekend 16 points clear of nearest rivals AC Milan.

And Inzaghi said on the club website: “The lads have to be proud of what they’ve done. It’s normal to be disappointed, because it’s a shame when it comes down to penalties.

“Now we’ve got 10 Serie A matches we need to play well to try to reach that crucial goal of ours. We’ve got to try and recover physically and mentally to give it our best shot against the reigning champions. We’ll try and do our best.”

Napoli’s title defence has been distinctly underwhelming and they are sweating on the fitness of striker Victor Osimhen, who missed training for two days this week with a muscle problem.

They have not given up hope of forcing their way into the European places, with victory over Juventus earlier this month a much-needed boost, although they were then held at home by Torino.

Napoli are on their third manager of the season in Francesco Calzona, who was appointed until the end of the campaign last month and also holds the position of Slovakia coach.

He insisted he is not concerned about his future, saying on Sky Sports Italia: “Let’s think about the championship, there are many games and we have to cradle the dream of catching up with the teams that are ahead of us.

“It’s difficult, but mathematics doesn’t condemn us. As for me, my future is the last thing on my mind. The boys are working hard and giving me a lot, I think we’ve made a small step forward.”

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli is preparing for his side to push themselves when they face Verona in their final match before the international break.

Pioli’s men have a quick turnaround from Thursday night, when they made it two from two over Slavia Prague with a 3-1 win in their Europa League last-16 second leg encounter to book a quarter-final match-up with Roma next month.

First, the second-placed Serie A side will hope to gain more ground on leaders Inter and put more distance between themselves and Juventus, who sit just one point below the Rossoneri.

Pioli told Sky Sports Italy: “We’re fine, it’s a positive moment, our three offensive players have quality. We have to do well on Sunday in another difficult match against Verona, before recovering energy during the break.”

He also praised the efforts of Rafael Leao, who netted the third of AC Milan’s goals on Thursday with a stunning strike into the top corner.

Leao was in turn just as complimentary about his boss, telling Sky Sports Italy: “I’m feeling good, I’m getting along well with (Olivier) Giroud and (Christian) Pulisic, the team is also good.

“It’s my job to help the team even when I don’t score or assist. I’m very happy with myself, but it’s the team that’s doing well.

“As I always say, (Pioli) is one more person who helps me. In the last three years he has better understood how to help me 100 per cent to make a difference, so this good moment is also thanks to him.

“With Giroud and Pulisic we understand each other well. I don’t need to watch them because I already know where they are going in the area; then behind me I have Theo (Hernandez), with him I have an extra weapon.

“Everyone helps me to be a better player, then Pioli puts me in a position to feel calm by telling me ‘Come in and have fun’.”

Verona have lost their last six Serie A matches against AC Milan, and have not recorded a home victory over Sunday’s opponents since December 2017.

Marco Baroni’s men sit in 15th at a crowded bottom of the Serie A table, with just five points separating 13th-placed Lecce from 19th-placed Sassuolo in the second relegation place.

Baroni knows it will be a tough ask to try to gain ground against AC Milan, playing down their chances as he addressed the Italian media in a press conference.

He said: “When you play against these teams, it’s always difficult. Perhaps it’s their best moment too, I have respect for the coach but we have to look at ourselves. We have to play our best game and it might not be enough anyway.

“We have great respect for Milan, they have champions who can decide matches with one play but you don’t defend individually, you defend as a team, you play together and as a team in these matches.”

Massimiliano Allegri wants Juventus to get their rapidly derailing Serie A season back on track against Genoa on Sunday before the international break gives their title rivals chance to breathe.

Juve have won only one of their last seven league matches, losing three, and last weekend’s 2-2 home draw with Atalanta allowed AC Milan to take over as top side Inter’s closest challengers for the Scudetto.

Next opponents Genoa have been less than impressive away from home this term and Bianconeri head coach Allegri hopes this offers his team an opportunity to put a match to bed and make a statement before his players disappear on international duty.

He told a press conference: “We’ve had a good week, we all understand the period we’re going through.

“We’ve decided to stay together as a team for one more evening, knowing that we need to get back on track. We have goals to reach and we know tomorrow’s importance.

“In the last few games we haven’t given up many chances, but have conceded a lot of goals.

“At times that can happen. We need to improve defensively as a team, not just as individuals. There are some mistakes that we need to resolve and we’re working on it.”

On his selection issues, the Tuscan boss added: “We’re without (Arkadiusz) Milik and we’ll have to re-evaluate him after the international break, but (Mattia) Perin and (Mattia) De Sciglio are back. We have all of our forwards available, like (Moise) Kean.

“(Adrien) Rabiot doesn’t have 90 minutes in the tank just yet but just having him available is a positive.”

Genoa head to the Allianz Stadium on the back of two straight defeats, the first to Inter, while a 3-2 home defeat by Monza is still stinging a week later.

Head coach Alberto Gilardino, the former AC Milan and Parma striker, told reporters: “Allegri is a really great manager and Juve have a very strong squad full of world-class players.

“They’ve won a lot and are on an arc of improvement with lots of young stars coming through alongside plenty of experienced, quality players. They started the season among the favourites to win the title this year.

“They’re a difficult team to go up against as they have players who can change the game at any moment. But, as we saw in the first game, what counts is what we can do out on the pitch.

“We need to maintain great balance and pay even more attention to the fine details so we can maximise what the team, and the individual players, are trying to do.”

Maurizio Sarri has resigned as Lazio head coach, with Giovanni Martusciello appointed interim boss.

Former Chelsea boss Sarri took charge of the Rome club in 2021 and guided them to the runners-up spot in Serie A last season – their highest placing since they won the title in 2000.

But after four straight defeats in all competitions and five losses in their last six games, the 65-year-old has stepped down.

“SS Lazio announces that Maurizio Sarri has resigned as head coach of the first team,” a Lazio statement read.

“The club would like to thank the coach for his achievements and for the work he has done, wishing him the best of luck in his personal and professional life.

“At the same time, the club announces that it has decided to entrust the technical guidance to Giovanni Martusciello.”

Speculation over Sarri’s future had been mounting during Lazio’s poor recent run, which has left them in ninth place the the table, and in a statement last week the club said “all the rumours that would link other coaches to S.S. Lazio are devoid of any foundation”.

Sarri won the Europa League with Chelsea during his one season in charge of the English club in 2018-19 and also led them to third in the Premier League and the League Cup final.

He steered Juventus to the Serie A title in 2019-20 and twice oversaw second-placed finishes for Napoli during his three years in charge of them.

Juventus missed the chance to climb to second in Serie A after Teun Koopmeiners scored twice to earn Atalanta a 2-2 draw at the Allianz Stadium.

Koopmeiners’ ferocious strike following a set-piece put his side 1-0 up at the break.

Juventus turned the game around and thought they would go on to earn all three points thanks to goals from Andrea Cambiaso and Arkadiusz Milik, but Koopmeiners levelled.

Juventus had the first chance of the game when Fabio Miretti was brought down by Ederson outside the area but Federico Chiesa’s free-kick was over the crossbar just five minutes in.

The home side had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring 10 minutes later when Chiesa’s corner found Miretti in the six-yard box, but he saw his header saved by Marco Carnesecchi.

Juve were knocking on the door and had another shot on target midway through the first period when Samuel Iling-Junior’s pass found Chiesa inside the box yet he could only direct his effort at Carnesecchi.

Against the run of play, Atalanta broke the deadlock 10 minutes before the break from a free-kick when Bremer brought down Gianluca Scamacca outside the area.

From the resulting free-kick, Mario Pasalic played a short pass out to Koopmeiners who smashed into the top corner and beyond Wojciech Szczesny.

Former West Ham striker Scamacca could have doubled Atalanta’s lead when he collected the ball outside the box and aimed into the bottom corner but Szczesny palmed away from goal.

Juventus were level in the 65th minute through a wonderfully worked goal.

Juve were beginning to make their passes work and some neat play down the left allowed Weston McKennie to carry the ball and he slipped through to Cambiaso who poked under the legs of Carnesecchi.

The hosts now had the bit between their teeth following the goal and had another chance but Cambiaso’s audacious effort continued to rise above the bar.

Juve struck again in the 70th minute and McKennie was at the centre of it all when he chested a cross into the path of Milik, who blasted home in style.

But Atalanta equalised five minutes later through Koopmeiners, who latched onto Berat Djimsiti’s through ball and slotted under Szczesny’s legs.

Juventus could have snatched a winner in stoppage time when Chiesa’s cross found Moise Kean unmarked inside the area, only for the striker to head off target.

Christian Pulisic struck in the first half to help AC Milan move up to second in Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Empoli at the San Siro.

Pulisic grabbed the only goal of the game five minutes before the break with a first-time effort which was initially given offside. The assistant referee thought Noah Okafor had mistimed his run, but a VAR check ruled him to be onside.

Empoli sensed blood in the second period and had chances to equalise through Nicolo Cambiaghi and Mattia Destro, but Milan hung on to claim back-to-back wins.

The hosts were first to come closest to an opener when former Chelsea man Pulisic found space in the box but fired straight at Elia Caprile with five minutes on the clock.

Milan made most of the running in the first period with Okafor cutting in from the right and letting fly, only for Caprile to gratefully dive right on to the ball.

The hosts opened the scoring five minutes before the break when Okafor broke the line and fed a pass through to Pulisic, with his deflected effort wrong-footing Caprile before eventually being given by VAR.

Cambiaghi weaved his way into the area and his deflected effort needed to be tipped behind by Mike Maignan for Empoli’s first effort on target after 56 minutes.

Milan continued to come forward in search of a second though, Samuel Chukwueze was next to come close when he tried to curl into the bottom corner, but was blocked behind for a corner.

The best chance of the second half fell for the home side when Ruben Loftus-Cheek came forward and, after a couple of step-overs, his powerful shot was well saved by Caprile to stop Milan from putting the game to bed.

Another effort fell for Milan but they failed to take it, Okafor was the producer once again with a cross at the back post, but Davide Calabria could not guide his header on target.

Empoli remained a threat on the counter and were keen to punish Milan’s profligacy, Bartosz Bereszynski twisted and turned in the area, but his low ball into the box was cleared by Yunus Musah.

Milan were treading on thin ice and the visitors came within inches of an equaliser when Cambiaghi headed onto the post with seven minutes remaining.

With the game creeping towards the final minute, Empoli almost snatched a point when a corner found Destro free inside the area, but his header was straight at Maignan as Milan held on for victory.

England captain Harry Kane made Bundesliga history as he became the first man to score four hat-tricks in a debut season as Bayern Munich routed lowly Mainz 8-1.

Kane struck after 13 minutes, in first-half stoppage time and 20 minutes from the whistle to take his tally for the season to 30 league goals, in the process equalling Uwe Seeler’s record in a first campaign in Germany’s top flight.

Leon Goretzka helped himself to a double and goals from Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala and substitute Serge Gnabry, with Nadiem Amiri replying for the visitors, completed a win which eased Bayern back to within seven points of leaders Bayer Leverkusen, who host Wolfsburg on Sunday.

There were goals too at Borussia Park as Monchengladbach and Cologne played out a 3-3 thriller.

Faride Alidou put the visitors in front after just seven minutes and then restored their advantage after Franck Honorat had levelled.

Robin Hack made it 2-2 and then fired the home side ahead with his goals coming in as many minutes, but Damion Downs ensured the spoils were shared.

Ten-man Borussia Dortmund maintained their place in the top four with a battling 2-1 win at Werder Bremen.

The visitors looked to be cruising when first-half goals from Donyell Malen and Jadon Sancho put them 2-0 up, but Marcel Sabitzer’s stoppage-time dismissal for a challenge on Mitchell Weiser left his side up against it, although Justin Njinmah’s strike 20 minutes from time was as good as it got for the hosts.

Thomas Isherwood’s own goal and a second from Christoph Baumgartner handed RB Leipzig a 2-0 win over rock-bottom Darmstadt, while Jeffrey Gouweleeuw’s first-half strike was enough to hand Augsburg a 1-0 win over Heidenheim.

Inter Milan moved 18 points clear at the top of Serie A with a hard-fought victory at Bologna.

Yann Bisseck’s first-half header clinched a 13th successive win in all competitions and stretched Inter’s advantage over second-placed Juventus, who host Atalanta on Sunday.

Substitute Eldor Shomurodov scored twice to help ease Cagliari to a precious 4-2 victory over bottom-of-the-table Salernitana.

First-half efforts from Gianluca Lapadula and Gianluca Gaetano and Shomurodov’s first put the home side 3-0 ahead and although Grigoris Kastanos and Giulio Maggiore dragged the visitors back into it, Shomurodov made sure with 14 minutes remaining.

Kristian Thorstvedt fired Sassuolo to a first league win in nine attempts as his goal secured a 1-0 victory over fellow strugglers Frosinone, for whom substitute Kaio Jorge missed a late penalty.

Substitute Daniel Maldini came to Monza’s rescue with a late winner to see off Genoa in a mid-table battle at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium.

 

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The visitors led 2-0 through Matteo Pessina and Dany Mota, but goals from Albert Gudmundsson and Vitinha made it 2-2 before Maldini won it with 11 minutes left.

 

In LaLiga, fine finishes from Portu and Savio sent Girona back above Barcelona into second place courtesy of a battling win over Osasuna.

Portu’s sweet first-half strike and a deft toe-poke from Savio sealed a 2-0 victory at the Municipal de Montilivi Stadium in which Michel’s men created enough chances to have won far more comfortably.

Real Sociedad needed a late goal from Andre Silva to maintain their bid for a top-six finish with a 3-2 win at Granada.

The hosts led 1-0 and 2-1 courtesy of Myrto Uzini’s double either side of Umar Sadiq’s equaliser, but were pegged back with 10 minutes remaining when Robin Le Normand levelled to set the stage for Silva to win it five minutes later.

Juanmi scored either side of half-time as Cadiz dented Atletico Madrid’s top-four hopes with a 2-0 win at the Ramon de Carranza Stadium, while Hugo Duro’s 40th-minute goal proved sufficient to secure a 1-0 home victory for Valencia over Getafe.

Ruben Aguilar’s first-half header dashed Brest’s hopes of closing the gap on Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain as they went down 1-0 at Lens, while second-half goals from Nicolas Tagliafico and Mama Balde secured a 2-0 win for Lyon at Lorient.

Empoli coach Davide Nicola feels only a “volcanic” effort from his side will be enough to help them get a result at AC Milan.

The Rossoneri will be out to keep the pressure on Juventus in the chase for second behind runaway Serie A leaders Inter Milan and head into Sunday’s game on the back of a 4-2 win over Slavia Prague in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

Empoli, meanwhile, sit 15th, just two points above the relegation zone.

Nicola knows his men will be up against it at the San Siro but challenged them to go into the game with a positive mindset.

“When we talk about a team like Milan, strong and with a capable coach, it is not easy to identify flaws, but this is our job and we do it because every opponent has them,” Nicola told a press conference.

“We will need a volcanic Empoli, from the point of view of energy and obsessive organisation in both phases, but also of enthusiasm in showing our identity and the desire to continue on our path.

“We have prepared. The important thing is to do everything with maximum concentration and also with enthusiasm because we have to express ourselves.”

Nicola expects a response to last weekend’s home defeat by Cagliari,

“From a quality point of view, we have already set aside the previous performance,” said Nicola, whose side have won both of their previous two away games.

“We know we need to improve in some phases of the match.

“The desire to compete with a high-quality team, who are used to playing every three days, is an absolute growth opportunity for us.”

AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli will have to do without Rafael Leao through suspension after the Portuguese winger picked up a fifth yellow card in the Serie A victory over Lazio.

Swiss forward Noah Okafor is expected to start, having scored a late winner when coming off the bench at the Stadio Olimpico.

Nicola knows whatever side Pioli picks is set to provide a stern test.

“I don’t think Milan are Leao-dependent, he is an extraordinary player, but they have a competitive squad,” the Empoli coach said.

“Regardless of who is there, we must have the taste and mentality to express ourselves.

“Our attention to work never changes, regardless of the opponent we encounter.”

Inter Milan extended their lead at the top of Serie A with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Bologna.

With closest challengers Juventus not in action until Sunday, Simone Inzaghi’s side took full advantage to move 18 points clear.

Yann Bisseck’s first-half header proved enough for a 14th straight victory in all competitions to end Bologna’s own winning run.

The Nerazzurri started brightly, with Alexis Sanchez forcing Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski into an early save at the near post before Matteo Darmian sent a left-footed shot wide.

Nicolo Barella then fired straight at Skorupski after collecting a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and Carlos Augusto’s angled drive was well saved.

Bologna threatened when Scotland midfielder Lewis Ferguson called Yann Sommer into action with a long-range effort and then Alexis Saelemaekers curled his shot just wide.

Inter finally made the breakthrough in the 37th minute when centre-back Alessandro Bastoni clipped a pass over from the left through the area toward the back post, where Bisseck headed the ball down and into the net.

It was almost 2-0 just before half-time when Darmian sent the ball across the face of goal towards Barella, but Bologna defender Victor Kristiansen managed to make a sliding block.

Bologna regrouped at the break and went close to levelling soon after the restart when Jens Odgaard sent Stefan Posch away down the right and his angled drive back across goal flew just wide of the far post.

Inter boss Simone Inzaghi looked to freshen up his side again following the hour mark, with Kristjan Asllani and Davide Frattesi sent on.

Former Bologna striker Marko Arnautovic came off the bench after 66 minutes, which was greeted by some jeers from the home support at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara.

Bologna, who had won their last six matches to climb to fourth in the table, continued to press Inter back as Ferguson cut inside and drilled a shot wide.

With 12 minutes left, Joshua Zirkzee forced a brilliant reaction save from Sommer before substitute Riccardo Orsolini headed wide from a corner as Inter saw out the closing stages.

Arnautovic went down in stoppage time, appearing to pull a hamstring, and had to be helped off the pitch with an injury which could leave him doubtful for next week’s Champions League last-16 second-leg clash at Atletico Madrid.

Massimiliano Allegri called on Juventus to turn around their recent poor form when they host Atalanta on Sunday as he expressed his disappointment at a run that has seen them fall 15 points behind Inter Milan.

Juve topped Serie A as recently as late January, but their title challenge looks all-but over after they collected just five points from their last six games.

They were beaten by defending champions Napoli last time out, with Inter now looking increasingly likely to claim their first title since 2021.

“I am not worried,” said Allegri. “If anything, I am disappointed because we did not get many points in February.

“Even at Napoli we showed some positive signs but in the end we came home with nothing. We need to turn this trend around.

“We have 11 league games left, plus two – hopefully three – Italian Cup games, we are fully in contention to reach our targets and now all our energy must be focused on those.

“It will not be a decisive game tomorrow, but still important. Now the points start to weigh that bit more and because Atalanta are also in the running for a top-four finish.

“We need to read the phases of the game in the right way and improve when we defend, because we have conceded too many goals lately.”

Weston McKennie and Moise Kean are available after injury, though, Adrien Rabiot and Carlos Alcaraz are set to miss out.

Sunday’s visitors are themselves chasing down a Champions League place and are looking to get their season back on track after their recent five-game winning run in the league was followed up by three without a victory.

Manager Gian Piero Gasperini talked up Ademola Lookman after he put in an impressive display during Wednesday’s Europa League draw with Sporting Lisbon.

“Every now and then I push him to become a more complete player, he has the physical ability to do so,” he said.

“Sometimes he hides a little but he can be more of a reference point, especially this year.”

Barcelona leapfrogged Catalan rivals Girona into second place in LaLiga after Lamine Yamal’s second-half goal handed them a 1-0 win against Real Mallorca.

The 16-year-old winger netted his sixth goal of the season in the 73rd minute, cutting inside on to his left foot and lashing a shot into the corner to break the visiting sides’ resolve.

Mallorca striker Vedat Muriqi had headed against the crossbar with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen beaten, as Barca’s six-game unbeaten run in the league came under threat.

Victory drags them to within five points of leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand.

Defending Serie A champions Napoli’s mini revival stalled as Torino hit back to earn a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia made the breakthrough for the home side just past the hour mark as they sought a third win on the bounce to energise an unlikely late bid to qualify for the Champions League.

But Antonio Sanabria scored minutes later to leave Napoli lagging seven points behind the top four.

In the Bundesliga, Stuttgart moved a step closer to Champions League qualification with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Union Berlin.

Serhou Guirassy and Chris Fuhrich scored to cement their team’s position in third and move them to within a point of Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, Nice saw their own hopes of reaching Europe’s top competition suffer a setback as they were beaten 2-1 at home by Montpellier in Ligue 1.

Jean-Clair Todibo’s own-goal put the visitors – who climbed out of the relegation zone up to 12th – ahead after 10 minutes, before Jeremie Boga promptly levelled.

But Teji Savanier netted the winner from the penalty spot late in the first half to leave Nice a point outside of the top four.

Bologna will look to land another blow on Serie A champions elect Inter Milan at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara on Saturday.

Inter head into the weekend 15 points clear of second-placed Juventus and are bidding for a 13th straight victory in all competitions, but Bologna have been something of a bogey side.

This will be a third meeting of the season between the teams, with Bologna fighting back to draw 2-2 at San Siro in the league in October and then handing Inter their most recent defeat, in the Coppa Italia in December.

Bologna, who also won the home league match last season, go into this clash in great form having won their last six matches to climb to fourth in the table, earning former Inter midfielder Motta the Serie A manager of the month award.

He told a press conference: “Inter are the favourites in Serie A, they reached the Champions League final last season, so we have great respect for our opponents. I admire (manager Simone) Inzaghi a great deal.

“All teams have weaknesses. There is no team that is unbeatable, although clearly at this level there are fewer weak spots.

“We are where we belong considering all that we’ve done so far, not just in the matches, but in training too. The lads know we have to keep the same attitude right to the end. Our fans cheer us on and we are ready for a great performance against what is at the moment the best team in the league.

“Against Inter we need to do everything we’ve done so far, but also something extra.”

Bologna’s terrific season, which has so far seen them out perform the likes of defending champions Napoli, Roma and Lazio, has seen Motta linked with big clubs across Europe.

He played down the speculation, saying: “I am 1,000 per cent focused on the Inter match. The president is very happy enjoying the present and so am I, without thinking too much about the future.”

The match will see Marko Arnautovic return to Bologna for the first time since his transfer to Inter last summer.

“I think everyone benefited from that transfer,” said Motta. “He wanted to go to Inter, a choice that I absolutely respect, and now is playing in the Champions League and challenging for the Scudetto. We in turn are happy with how our season is going.”

Inzaghi is also celebrating having been announced as the winner of the Bearzot award for the best manager in Italian football.

Inzaghi said of the award, which is named after Italy’s 1982 World Cup-winning coach Enzo Bearzot, in La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I am deeply grateful for this prestigious award named after such a great coach and man of football.

“This recognition would not have been possible without the extraordinary support of all those who have worked with me over the years. I dedicate this award to them and to my family.”

Inter Milan stretched their lead at the top of Serie A to 15 points after they earned a 2-1 win over Genoa at San Siro.

After a slow opening spell, the home side soon clicked into gear and established a two-goal lead by the 38th minute through Kristjan Asllani’s strike and Alexis Sanchez’s penalty.

Inter looked like they would go on to cruise to victory but they were soon forced to increase their concentration levels when Johan Vasquez pulled a goal back for the away team nine minutes after half-time.

Vitinha then thought he levelled things up for Genoa but the offside flag saved Inter, who held on to stretch their winning run in Serie A to nine games.

Inter were frustrated through the opening quarter with the hosts coming closest when Nicolo Barella pounced on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s long ball but guided over the crossbar.

Genoa came close to breaking the deadlock after Stefano Sabelli’s cross was powerfully headed towards goal by Mateo Retegui but Yann Sommer saved. The rebound fell into the path of Albert Gudmundsson who diverted wide.

Inter had the breakthrough on the half-hour mark when Sanchez’s through ball found Asllani, who smashed emphatically into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.

The hosts had a chance to double their lead when Lautaro Martinez picked out Barella, who was adjudged to have been fouled inside the area by Morten Frendrup and a spot-kick was awarded.

Sanchez stepped up for the penalty and powered into the right side of the net, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Inter were smelling blood and could have had three when Mkhitaryan raced through on goal and let fly only to see his goalbound shot blocked by Johan Vasquez.

Genoa had a route back into the game nine minutes after the break after Stefan de Vrij’s defensive header looped straight into the path of Vasquez who arrowed a volley into the bottom right corner.

The visitors thought they had an equaliser when Vitinha cut inside and picked out the bottom corner but the assistant referee’s offside flag cut celebrations short with 20 minutes to go.

Genoa came close once again but Tottenham loanee Djed Spence’s cross was glanced wide by Retegui and Inter held their nerve to edge closer to the Serie A title.

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