Inter and Lazio posing serious threat to Juve’s 8-year reign
ROME (AP) — All of a sudden, it’s a three-way race for the Serie A title.
With Inter Milan and Lazio both posting victories on Sunday, a day after Juventus’ surprise loss at Hellas Verona, the Bianconeri’s eight-year hold on the Italian league is facing a serious challenge.
Inter and Juventus are level on points, with Lazio one behind.
Inter should have the most confidence after coming from two goals down to beat AC Milan 4-2 in the Milan derby.
Lazio’s 1-0 win at Parma extended the Roman club’s unbeaten streak to a club-record 18 matches. The club is 11 points ahead of fourth-place Atalanta — with the top four qualifying for the Champions League.
“At this point when we’re only one point behind we’ve got to aim for more than just the Champions League,” Lazio winger Luis Alberto said. “We’re right there and we’re going to fight for it until the end. Juventus remains the favorite but we’re going to try to create some trouble.”
There are some worrisome numbers for Juventus, which has only the fourth-best attack and the third-best defense in terms of goals for and against.
But Juventus will be favored to jump back in front next weekend when it hosts relegation-threatened Brescia while Inter visits Lazio.
Verona’s current eight-game unbeaten run began in December by eliminating a three-goal deficit in a 3-3 draw with Torino.
Verona coach Ivan Jurić is known for pushing his team so hard in preseason training that players often get sick with exhaustion. The hard work paid off in a 2-1 comeback win against Juventus, which was sealed by a decisive penalty from substitute Giampaolo Pazzini.
Pazzini, a 35-year-old former Italy striker, has remained with Verona through two seasons in Serie B — including last season when Verona was promoted after winning a Serie B playoff by erasing a 3-0 first-leg deficit against Cittadella in the final.
BARROW AND BOGA
African players Musa Barrow and Jérémie Boga had two of the best performances of the weekend.
Barrow, a 21-year-old Gambia forward, scored twice for Bologna in a 3-2 win at Roma in his first start since joining on loan from Atalanta — raising his tally to three goals in four matches with his new club.
Boga, a 23-year-old French-born midfielder who represents Ivory Coast, earned a penalty and then scored a 90th-minute winner in Sassuolo’s 2-1 comeback victory at Spal.
Already known for his dribbling expertise, Boga’s intuitive run to redirect a long cross from Domenico Berardi with a header for the winner showed that he’s a complete player.
Having come up through Chelsea’s youth system, Boga transferred to Sassuolo in 2018 but the London club included a clause in the deal that allows it to buy him back — an increasingly likely prospect considering his recent performances.