Inter beats Genoa 5-0 for 7th straight Serie A victory

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              Inter Milan's Roberto Gagliardini celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Genoa at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan and Napoli are blasting opponents while Juventus seems content to grind out results in Serie A.

Juventus barely stepped out of first gear to beat Cagliari 3-1 on Saturday ahead of its Champions League meeting with Manchester United on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Inter and Napoli both scored five goals in their wins against Genoa and Napoli but they remain six points behind Juventus, which faces Milan next Sunday in a tricky week for the defending Italian champion.

“We struggled to score the second goal and we drifted out of the game a bit,” Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “We need to improve in defending in our half of the pitch: We think we can always score two or three goals but it’s not always like that.”

FAST START

Juventus took just 44 seconds to score. Rodrigo Bentancur threaded the ball to Paulo Dybala, who twisted his way past two defenders before firing into the bottom right corner.

Joao Pedro leveled in the 36th, bringing down a cross from the right and swiveling to drill into the bottom near corner.

However, Juventus was back in front less than two minutes later when Croatia midfielder Filip Bradaric put Douglas Costa’s cross into his own net.

It was an eventful first half as each side also had penalty appeals waived away, while Cristiano Ronaldo sent an effort crashing off the left post.

Juan Cuadrado sealed the match three minutes from time with his first goal of the season. Dybala picked out Ronaldo, who ran nearly half the length of the pitch before rolling across for Cuadrado to blast it into the back of the net.

CHALLENGERS

Roberto Gagliardini scored twice and Matteo Politano, Joao Mario, and Radja Nainggolan added the other goals as Inter beat Genoa 5-0 for a seventh successive Serie A win.

The result boosted Inter’s confidence for Tuesday’s Champions League game at home with Barcelona. The Catalan club beat Inter 2-0 two weeks ago.

Genoa, the only team to have taken points off Juventus this season, remained 11th but only four points off fourth spot.

Inter captain Mauro Icardi was rested for the match, while Genoa forward Krzysztof Piatek was surprisingly also on the bench despite having scored a leading nine goals.

Inter took control in the first half with two goals in as many minutes from Gagliardini and Politano — both of them following mistakes by the Genoa defense.

Genoa offered little, even when Piatek was sent on for former Inter forward Goran Pandev, five minutes into the second half.

Joao Mario capped a great individual performance with a second-half goal and also set up the other two, including for Nainggolan, who scored minutes after coming off the bench for his first appearance since injuring his ankle in the derby against AC Milan last month.

LATE LEVELER

Alessandro Florenzi scored late on to rescue a 1-1 draw for Roma at Fiorentina.

Roma seemed to be heading for defeat when, five minutes from fulltime, Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont parried Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross straight at Florenzi, who leveled with a scuffed volley.

Both teams are two points behind fourth-placed Milan.

Roma visits CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday.