Inter Milan reclaimed top spot in Serie A after a 1-0 win over 10-man Udinese on Saturday while Napoli warmed up for European holders Liverpool on Tuesday with a Dries Mertens double sealing a 2-0 win over crisis club Sampdoria, to move up to fourth in the table.
Stefano Sensi’s diving header was enough to seal a maximum nine points for Antonio Conte’s Inter ahead of their European opener against Slavia Prague in the San Siro next Tuesday.
Udinese played an hour a man down after Rodrigo de Paul saw red for slapping Antonio Candreva. Sensi broke through just before the break getting his head to a cross from fellow newcomer Diego Godin.
Former Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez came on for the final ten minutes, and was denied his first goal by Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso.
‘SARRI SHOULD BE CALM, HE’S ON THE POWERFUL SIDE NOW’
Earlier, Juventus had been held to a 0-0 draw by Fiorentina in an ill-fated game that saw three of the Old Lady’s players go off injured. Their manager Maurizio Sarri had commented that it wasn’t easy to play in the heat of mid-afternoon in Florence, which he feels might’ve contributed to the fact Douglas Costa, Miralem Pjanic and Danilo all limped off.
When Inter manager Antonio Conte was holding his press conference, reporters rather cheekily told the Inter boss about the ‘complaint’ from Sarri.
“I don’t want to say anything, otherwise we’ll have to start comparing balance sheets and financial resources,” smiled Conte. “Someone ought to calm down, as he’s on the powerful side now.”
The reference was to when Sarri battled Juventus for the Scudetto two years ago as coach of Napoli, but hit the headlines for protesting that Juve were always scheduled to play after his own team, which he believed was an unfair advantage.
Sarri also repeatedly stated that Napoli could not compete with Juventus in terms of financial capabilities. Now that he has worked at Chelsea and returned to Serie A on the Bianconeri bench, those ‘excuses’ are no longer applicable.